The Hidden Costs of Buying Foreclosed Homes

Do you realize that there are hidden costs when you buy foreclosed or HUD homes?

I am not talking about out-of-pocket items, such as loan application fees or even the cost of your home inspection. These are fees most buyers are aware of. You already know that you will have to spend some money before the closing that can not be covered by closing costs (most of which are paid by HUD in the form of a closing cost contribution).

The costs I am talking about have to do with utility activation and other services performed by HUD’s field service managers.

Since 3 new field service managers took over in fall of 2010, rules for turning on utilities have changed and so have their fees.

When you look at a property on the HUDHomeStore.com, you can easily find out which field service manager is responsible for a property. Go to the Agent Info tab of a specific property. The field service manager is listed on the right hand side, with all their contact information and email.

Here are the websites of the 3 field service managers responsible for Columbus HUD Homes:

Dependent on the firm in charge of your property, the rules and fees for turning on utilities are different. Fees can range from $100 to more than $200. Some field service managers charge a fee just to authorize you to turn on the utilities, while others provide the plumber  to turn the water on and off, and charge a hefty fee for it.

As a buyer you should not have to deal directly with these firms. This is the job of a good Columbus real estate agent. Your agent receives all required forms and information with the ratified contract. That’s the time to immediately plan if and when you need to get the utilities turned on.

Whenever you schedule a utility activation, make sure you have your “ducks in a row.”

  • Your appraiser and inspector should both come during the time when the utilities are turned on, otherwise you need another authorization and pay an extra fee.
  • Line up the utility companies, so they will have enough time to schedule the activation of gas, water or electric, while you have permission.
  • Have your own contractors ready (if required) to inspect the plumbing, do the pressure test and turn the furnace on.

Utility activation is a hassle with HUD homes and most other foreclosed properties. An experienced real estate agent who has a team of inspectors and contractors will make your life much easier and save you repeat activation fees.

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