Surprise defects may derail REO purchase

Most banks won't make repairs, though there are exceptions

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DEAR BARRY: We are buying a foreclosed home from a bank and are concerned about three issues: There is a plumbing leak in the upstairs bathroom, with water dripping from the garage ceiling; the previous owner agreed to leave the window treatments but took them, as well as the kitchen range, when she moved; and there are numerous holes in the drywall in several rooms. What can we do about these problems? Do we have recourse against the previous owner? --Cyndi DEAR CYNDI: When you buy a bank-owned property, it is usually an as-is sale. Banks are interested in cutting their losses by getting these foreclosed properties off of their books. But there are exceptions, depending on the kinds of defects involved. In some cases, buyers or their agents are able to negotiate for repairs, but these instances are rare. In the case of an active plumbing leak, you've got a fair chance, but don't delay on this because prolonged leakage can cause further problems, such as mold. Holes in the...