Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788
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This morning I was interviewed by WBEZ housing reporter Ashley Gross about the low prices of foreclosures in Chicago. Buyers can expect about a 50% discount off regular market prices when buying a foreclosure in the Chicago area, according to data gathered in the fourth quarter of 2011 by RealtyTrac.
But, as I cautioned WBEZ listeners, that’s often because foreclosed homes are in lousy shape and need work. Single-family houses that have been seized by lenders sometimes have leaks, mold, damaged floors and other problems. Many of them are missing kitchen appliances, and occasionally they’ve even been stripped of copper plumbing (which thieves find valuable). No one is living there — often for months — and the neglect takes its toll. Foreclosed condos, too, can spring leaks (I have seen two where the refrigerator leaked in the vacant unit, damaging the condo downstairs as well.) And they often are found in buildings with other distressed condos, which can mean the building itself is financially unstable and thus it will be difficult to get a mortgage there.
Remember how a home winds up in foreclosure to begin with: its owner couldn’t afford it. That usually means the owner couldn’t afford to maintain the home, either. Rare is the foreclosed property that is in sparkly new condition.
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