The real estate deals are out there, just waiting for you to find that bargain of a lifetime. Interest rates are as low as they have ever been in history and you can afford to buy a lot of home or land with minimal outlay. So how do you find these deals? You find an experienced real estate professional that has the listings from their local board, where you can start your search, find a property, come to acceptable terms, and now the fun begins. Due to the number of foreclosures being processed, the number of bank notes being sold to investors and investment firms, many questions can arise that you might not be aware of. Questions you should be asking yourself; is the property you plan on buying, actually what is being presented? What do I need to know about zoning, setbacks and encroachment for neighboring properties? I was recently asked to bid on a foreclosed property by a service company and once I located the property and walked the ground, I noticed a number of problems that an in-experienced realtor may not understand, (even an experienced realtor may not understand). The first thing I noticed was the meter had been removed from the home and the lead lines to the weather head had been removed by the utility company. The driveway for the property was not part of the ingress/egress for the property as I noticed fresh survey stakes and flags marking the perimeter corners of the property. A fence had been installed along the property line and the only accessibility to the property was concrete blocks set at a post for someone to cross the fence by stepping over the wire. Because the house had been vacant for so long and maintenance had not been kept up with, for a couple years, leaves and limbs had piled up on an aged roof and water was in its initial stages of leaking into the interior of the home. The wooden deck surrounding the home had debris piled up had caused water to stand, causing the boards to soften and become a hazard to anyone walking on the deck. Thieves had broken into the home and removed the HVAC coils and fan motors as well as the condenser coils and fans from the exterior units. Because of the country location within an agricultural area, my concern of whether the property met current zoning restrictions on the amount of land needed for the area in order to meet the current comprehensive plan of the community. It was apparent the property had been purchased as three separate lots and combined for one parcel but a plat had not been recorded under one parcel and when the property was foreclosed, the only parcel foreclosed was the parcel the house was built on. The questions that concerned me was; if someone bought this property, could they actually live on the property without getting an acceptation to zoning? Would the buyer realize that they would have to draw a map to show where the new driveway location would be and the cost of permitting for a driveway, before they could enter the property, (not including the cost of clearing a path for the driveway),? Due to the cost of repairing the home, would the entire house have to be brought to current building code? Where was the septic system located and would a new system have to be installed because of encroachment or actually being on an adjacent property? So the question is; did you buy what you thought you bought? Was the property you bought really the good deal you planned it was going to be? Before you sign offers, spend hundreds of dollars on inspections and surveys, only to find out, what you thought you were going to buy isn’t what you or your agent thought you were buying. If you are paying cash for a property, make sure the agent you’re working with understand what some of the pitfalls may crop up in buying foreclosed property. Yes folks, even today, with all the information available it’s still, “caveat emptor”.