Winterize Vacant and Foreclosed Homes – What Realtors and Buyers Need To Know

If your home or a clients home is vacant during the winter months in the Northeast, it’s essential to have it properly winterized to prevent against frozen and broken pipes. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your plumbing system if not properly prepared for. Vacant homes not winterized are susceptible to frozen and broken pipes. It is not uncommon for whole houses to freeze, causing the entire plumbing system to have to be replaced – an expensive and unnecessary endeavor to have to deal with during real estate transactions.

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Winterizing the property is the responsibility of the homeowner or the bank if the property has been foreclosed upon. It is a way to safeguard your home, and your investment. In some cases the owners may winterize the plumbing system, and leave the heating system running wholesale pipes. In other cases, the homeowners may opt to winterize both the plumbing and heating systems.

If you are looking to purchase a home that has been winterized, it is often the buyers responsibility to pay to have the home de-winterized. If a home was not properly winterized there may be broken or cracked pipes. Homeowners should verify the integrity of the plumbing system before finalizing any sale agreements. Not only should you inspect all piping, and fixtures, but also the heating system. This is traditionally done during a “walk through” prior to a closing.

In the case of foreclosed homes, buyers are often required to pay for the de-winterization of the property to inspect the integrity of the plumbing system; and then also the re-winterization.

Safeguarding your home during a real estate transaction is an important endeavor. If your home is vacant for prolonged periods of time during the sales process, remember to winterize it in order to prevent any undue harm to the property.

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