Careers for Home Inspectors Specializing in Foreclosures
January 4, 2011
Never before in American history have so many foreclosures been sold as they are today in the wake of the housing market collapse of 3-4 years ago. That offers an unprecedented buying opportunity for investors looking for great properties at deep discounts, and they are frequently buying up these distressed homes in bundles. Sometimes a single investment company will buy more than a dozen homes at once in order to get even better prices. There are these kinds of professional investment businesses and solo real estate investors all over the country looking at potential purchases or trying to finalize transactions on homes they already have under contract.
They all want to do whatever they can to ensure that the homes they buy are worth the asking price, however, because even the cheapest house in the neighborhood may turn out to be overly expensive if it happens to have serious structural problems or needs other kinds of repairs or improvements. That has created a rare and wonderful chance for anyone in the home inspection profession to capture his or her share of this booming business.
Those who are proactive about getting the skills and tools they need to do a good foreclosure home inspection and then marketing themselves as foreclosure purchase inspectors can quickly multiply their customer base. Inspectors can earn lots of extra money – even though we are still in a tough and challenging economy – while making great connections with professional real estate investors who need home inspection services in every housing market cycle.
But unlike most housing recessions and foreclosure markets of the past, this one has also inspired an unprecedented number of average or non-professional buyers. These consumers who just want to buy a family home, vacation property, or income-producing residence have also ventured into the foreclosure arena in astounding numbers. Scores of Americans have grown dissatisfied with the returns – or lack of returns – that they are getting from their stock and bond portfolios or retirement accounts, for instance, and are eager to move their savings into real estate while prices are still attractive and before the volatile stock market eats away even more of their nest egg money.
They, too, are in every town, city, and state in the USA and as mortgage rates stay low and the housing market begins to find its legs and gain traction the volume of these foreclosure purchases shows no signs of losing steam. Plus this foreclosure market is so widespread that it has substantially impacted real estate in all kinds of neighborhoods, price ranges, and locations. While most of our past foreclosure markets in the USA were characterized by dilapidated and distressed homes that were not necessarily suitable for families to move into or investors to consider, this time things are much different. Some of the hottest foreclosure markets are seeing fire sale prices on homes that are still valued in the upper echelon, with foreclosures selling for half a million dollars or more every day.
But because almost all of these special property bargains are sold in “as-is” condition with no implied or expressed warranty, home inspectors who can perform foreclosure inspections are in huge demand. Much of the demand is from these buyers, and anyone planning to bid on a foreclosure – whether they are a seasoned pro or a novice buyer – would be foolish not to first have the home carefully inspected by a licensed and certified professional.
Sometimes lenders and real estate brokers who work for banks also look to qualified home inspectors too, though, because they need to know how to price their repossessed properties and how much to set aside for repairs. They want to understand the condition of these real estate assets and then move them quickly out of their inventories so that they can get back to their core business of making loans. Home inspectors who network with the REO departments at major banks (which are the departments that handle foreclosed assets) or who work with Realtors and brokers assigned to market these homes can often find lots of additional, lucrative work.
REO specialists don’t do foreclosure auctions but if a home is foreclosed on and does not get enough interest or a high enough price at auction, it reverts back to the lender’s portfolio of properties. Then it goes to the REO department whose job it is to market the home in the traditional fashion by listing with a real estate company and on the MLS. Many times these sellers want an inspection before it goes on the market to give them a better idea of what kind of shape the home is in, and if the home is already on the market then a home inspector will be needed once it sells.
All of this adds up to a solid opportunity for the home inspection professional who can tap into this historically unparalleled foreclosure market to gain valuable business and boost revenues.
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