Found Vacant HOT Property, but......?

Hi, I frequently log on this excellent site to gather as much information as I can from experienced dooers. In searching my local neighborhoods for FSBO signs, I see a vacant home in a neighborhood that most houses average $150K - $170K. According to the RE info from the treasurers web site, it sold in 1999 for $133K, and it gives the owners name.
The window has a samll sticker saying “Warning, this house has been winterized” “Do not blah blah blah”
My question is who does this to the house? And does that means it’s already been taken back by the bank, or H.U.D.? Can the owner still be contacted about purchase?

If the information provides a name and address, why not try getting the phone number and calling the owner up and see if you can take it off his/her hands?

I believe I wasn’t clear with my question. My question is “who winterizes an empty home?” Is it H.U.D.?

If there is a posted sign, it probably belongs to HUD, the VA, or to a financial institution (like a bank). These folks all use management companies to take care of the properties while they are being held/sold. The management company winterizes them.


Yes, it is a management company for the owner (HUD, VA, Bank, etc). Many times the sticker on the front door will be removed. Another way to tell is that the toilet seat may be removed or there is usually tape or a stcker over the toilet bowl and the sink.

Good luck.

Check with your local county recorder’s office to see who is the owner of record. It is not unusual for someone to fall behind in their mortgage payments and move out of a house. Lenders will send someone out to check the status of a home when a borrower first defaults. If it is vacant, it is rekeyed and winterized. They do this to protect their investment. The actual foreclosure sale may not take place for several months. In Ohio it has been as much as two years. After that, there is sometimes a pre-determined period of time where the borrower may still redeem their property.

Anyway, if the recorder’s office tells you that the property is still in the borrower’s name and has not gone through a foreclosure sale, you can approach the borrower about a possible purchase.

Do you know for a fact that a lender can enter a vacant home and winterize? I would be very surprised, based on my dealings with banks, that they can do this. The number complaint by most REOs is that they are not able to enter a home and protect their investment in time, without a court order. And in most cases it is very very difficult for any type of lender to enter a premises. A landlord on the other hand can enter and protect his investment.

I manage REO properties for Fannie Mae and many different lenders. In Ohio, once the people move out, the property is considered abandoned. We rekey and winterize only. After the foreclosure sale and redemption period are over we clean out and clean up the home for sale.

Debra, your reply brings up another question. Is the redemption period the same for all properties in Ohio? Meaning is it specific to each different state? If so, what is the redemption period for forclosed homeowners in the state of Ohio?

I’m not sure about the rest of the state, but in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland & suburbs) it’s 30 days.

I used to work in Foreclosures, once an inspector has established a property is empty they can IMMEDIATELY have the property rekeyed and secured, and the killer is the owner is billed for all expenses.

The redemption period differs state to state…make sure you check.