Question to all rehabbers

I posted this question before but didn’t quite get the answer I was looking for so here goes. What ways do you guys use to find out if a property you’re interested in has code violations, damage, etc. before you actually look at the property? If someone is interested in buying a reo, what avenue do you take to find out the condition of the property? Is it primarily a drive by or a phone call to a buddy that knows the area, etc.? What is your best “time saver”??

p.s. Free breakfast for the best answer! Thanks!! :slight_smile:

Most of the time the only way to know much of anything about a property is by signing a contract with an inspection clause. For code violations, the only person crazy enough to learn all of them are code inspectors. For damages you will want a home inspector. I know it sounds kind of backwords to sign a contract before knowing everything about a property but thats why you use lots of loopholes.

Hi, I learn by asking alot of questions from the people I work with that help me with rehabbing-the plumber, electrician etc. Then I know more of what to look for. The more experience you get with rehabbing yourself and with what others are doing when you hire them to do work for you or with you the easier it gets when you are inspecting those things before you buy. Graciez

No offense, but “What ways do you guys use to find out if a property you’re interested in has code violations, damage, etc. before you actually look at the property?” is a ridiculous question. BEFORE looking at a property, all you will have is a seller’s disclosure and any indications that you can get from the city/county/parish if they were cited for code violations. Anything else is a SWAG at best.

IMO: If you’re not fully versed in all of the trades, you need to pay for an inspection!


What a “ridiculous” statement. It wasn’t my intention to ask a “ridiculous” question, I am trying to find out some information. Anyway, thanks for all of the responses.

I think it’s ridiculous for a moderator to call someones question ridiculous. After all doesn’t that destroy the purpose of this forum to tell people how stupid there question is.

First: I didn’t say anyone was “stupid” or that their question was stupid…I said the questio was ridiculous…and it is.

This poster is ‘betting’ breakfast on a best answer that can’t be given…unless the seller has made a disclosure or has been cited for a code violation (thus making it “public record”), you CANNOT know what problems or violations a property has BEFORE looking at it. To think otherwise is ridiculous…I stand by my assessment and terminology.

Second: Just because I am a Moderator doesn’t negate me from (1) Having opinions and, (2) Expressing them…

I didn’t violate any Forum Rules and, if you stop and read his original post, you’ll see that my answer is correct and the question is ridiculous. Why on Earth would you make a multi-thousand dollar decision based on a supposition about code violations BEFORE looking at a property?? Two words: Due Dilligence. Do NOT cut this corner or I guarantee you’ll pay a price at some point!


No matter how ridiculous a question is there are more respectful ways to respond without belittling a person trying to learn something. Your right though, you didn’t say anyone was stupid or there question was but as long as ridiculous is synonymous for stupid you might as well said it.

He asked the question before and didn’t get an answer – there’s a reason for that!

This is a ridiculous question without an answer.

OK Danny - maybe you’re right, maybe there is a way: Does anybody have the toll free number to the Psychic hotline or to Miss Cleo’s jail cell?


Some feathers seemed to have gotten ruffled with my question. If I were trying to purchase a car, there are ways that I can find out who’s on the title, accident history, value and etc. without even having looked at the car. The purpose of my question was to find out some information, not cut corners or proceed with a lack of due diligence or homework on my part because that would be–ridiculous. If a seller’s disclosure is what’s used, then that’s a bit of information that I didn’t know before I asked the question.

And the part about breakfast, a little sense of humor never hurt anybody.

The most common way is to:

(1) Look for yourself – if it smells bad it probably is…the worse things will stick out even to the unknowing/untrained eye.

(2) Put the property under contract with an inspection clause.

(3) Get the property inspected by a good licensed inspector

(4) Have any real problem areas relooked by a specialist in that area (i.e., foundation expert, electrician, roofer, etc.)

But you can’t do any of this stuff without looking at it…so the real answer to the question, as posed, is still:

(1) Seller disclosure (BTW - do NOT trust this!)

(2) Check with the city/county/parish building inspector about any citiations

(3) Call Miss Cleo…


You have to go into the property, there’s no way around it. If this property is an REO, then it’s bank owned already. If it’s bank owned then it’s going to be sold as-is. There wont be a disclosure that will mean anything, that’s if they even give you one. Also, if its an REO, it will be listed with a realtor already. Just call them to see the inside. When you go, take a camera and take pictures of every room, this helps alot later, take the property inspector with you if you need one. If your new at this, which it sounds like you are, get a appraisal after the inspection and give the appraiser the report from the inspector. If it’s a good deal, the few hundred for the inspection and appraisal will be worth it. As for the code violations, just go see the building inspector, I find them very helpful, even with finding properties that are vacant, and with code violations. I like those the best!!!Also you try to buy properties before they become REO’s. Find yourself a good contractor.


Your killing me! Miss Cleo? This will solve me having to get out my car all the time to go in and out of properties on a daily basis. Thanks for the “hot” tip!


Well, she’s in jail, so you’ll have to find out when her phone time is but…how else can you find out what the code violations are BEFORE you look at a property except by looking at the disclosures, asking the code enforcement authority, or asking a psychic?

From what I’ve read in this thread, it is currently these are the most viable and realistic option…what are we having for breakfast?


Thanks to all who responded to the question, even you Keith. I’ve recently visited city hall and spent a lot of time asking a lot of questions. By the end of the day I had plenty of answers and these posts are a good starting point. There wouldn’t be anything but a pocket full of lint for the one who isn’t dilligent. If my question seemed “ridiculous,” well I would rather ask than not ask at all and walk away with a bunch of assumptions. Anyway, breakfast is scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast and bagels, coffee and o.j. Enjoy!

p.s. If I want some lottery numbers, I’ll call Ms. Cleo!

thanks for breakfast. honestly though, if you think you can call a buddy in the area about the home, I think it’s safe to say you might consider teaming up with a more seasoned investor on your first couple of deals. look to the left, there’s plenty of good resource info on the subject. check it out.

HOLY CRAPIf this clause is not in any contract written in America that says FREE AND CLEAR OF ALL LEANS AND ENCUMBERANCES. …DONT BUY IT.