The Alexandria VA real estate market has its fair share of foreclosure and bank owned (REO) homes for sale. As the banks get ready to unleash a new wave of foreclosures into the real estate market, I thought it would be good to offer you some insight on the expenses you may incur as a buyer when looking at foreclosure and REO homes for sale in Alexandria VA.

Some of the phrases that you will commonly see in the remarks of a foreclosure listing can include 'AS-IS', or 'Home has been winterized', or 'Buyer responsible for utilities for any and all inspections'.
While many Alexandria VA home buyers only consider the sales price as a deep discount on a foreclosure or REO home for sale, there can be out of pocket expenses even before the sale is final. For example, the average home inspection will range $300-$500 depending on the size of the home. Other inspections such as radon can cost up to $150, a termite inspection $50, and a roof inspection $150-$200. But if there are no utilities, and the home has been winterized, you may also have to incur the cost of hiring a plumber to de-winterize the home and turn on ALL of the utilities in your name. All this before you've even fully commited to the home purchase!

Banks will pay to have a home winterized to limit their liability and the likelihood that pipes will burst in the home during the cold weather months. Where there's water, there's eventually mold, so banks reduce the risk of property damage by winterizing the home. And shutting off the utilities deters squatters.

All bank foreclosures in Alexandria VA are advertised as being sold in as-is condition, but the buyer is usually given a specific time period for inspections. Once the inspections are complete, you will have to shut off the utilities and pay to have the home re-winterized. Even if you decide to move forward with the purchase after the inspections, the bank still bears the liability until closing so they will want the home to stay in a 'vegetative state' until the deal is done.

Distressed properties for sale in Alexandria VA can indeed be a great opportunity to find a below market deal.  But buyers should understand that preparing a home for an inspection is an additional expense.  It's part of the cost of getting a good deal.