I hope you are all enjoying this early spring! I know business has picked up for many of us now that it feels like summer again.
As you all know, foreclosures and short sales are particularly difficult transactions to complete. Now, add the potential for improperly winterized properties and you have a recipe for disaster.
The biggest problem I have seen is improperly winterized furnaces. Modern high efficiency condensing furnaces contain water in the condensation chamber around the heat exchanger. The way it works is the water vapor from combustion is recirculated around the heat exchanger to extract the heat from the vapor before it is released to the exterior of the home.
In cases where the property has been "shut down" with little or no heat, the water that is left in these condensation chambers may freeze and expand, causing a crack in the heat exchanger. It is almost impossible to view the heat exchanger in a modern condensing furnace but there is one dead giveaway. Listen for a "sizzle" sound after the furnace has run through its heating cycle and shut down, as if you put a drop of water on a hot frying pan. In most instances, the furnace will need to be replaced if the heat exchanger is cracked.
Winter seems like a distant past but there are many properties that are still winterized that have the potential for these kinds of issues. Even if the furnace is only a year or two old it is very important to give these items a closer look if you are dealing with a foreclosure.