What Does It Mean When Your Mortgage Company Hires a Field Inspector?

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If your home has been damaged, is in foreclosure or becomes a bank-owned property, your mortgage company must protect its collateral by hiring an agent to inspect the home, prepare it for sale or maintain it after you move out. Often times, a simple inspection is done as a drive-by to ensure that the property is being maintained and has not fallen into disrepair.

Property Damage

You are likely to see a field inspector outside your property if your home has sustained major damage for which you are making a large insurance claim, such as a tree falling through the roof or the chimney toppling down. The field inspector will document the property to ensure the work was done to code for insurance purposes.

Communication

New Fannie Mae rules instituted in June 2011 require mortgage companies to dispatch a field inspector to your home no later than 45 days after you miss a mortgage payment and again every 30 days until your payments are up-to-date, according to Polyana da Costa of Bankrate.com. If you are facing foreclosure and avoiding phone calls, the mortgage company may send a field inspector to your home to do a simple door knock to get back in touch with you and verify that the property is still occupied. The inspector will report back to the lender, who may work with you to restructure your mortgage or bring your payments up-to-date. A field inspector helps the mortgage company mitigate the losses associated with foreclosure by working to get an open dialog between borrower and lender.

Condition

If your home has already foreclosed, the lender needs to know the condition of a defaulted property before it is put on the market. All the lender has to go on is the paperwork in front of him. For all he knows, the property is perfectly fine, but in reality, the windows are boarded over and a group of squatters has taken up residence. A field inspector is the eyes and ears for the lender. A simple inspection can be done from curbside, or a more in-depth interior inspection can be performed. Both are documented with photographs which are sent to the lender.

Property Preservation

A field inspector will re-key all the doors on a foreclosed home to prohibit entry by trespassers. He will secure gates and garages or install custom lock boxes for the mortgage holder. If there is risk of vandalism, the field inspector will typically board properties as requested by the lender or police. The home may need snow removal or winterization, such as storm windows or weatherstripping. If there is a yard, the grounds may need to be watered, weeded and mowed.

Preparation For Sale

A foreclosed home may be filled with interior or exterior trash and clutter. The field inspector will remove and haul away this debris and clean as needed and perform any work that is need to bring the property up to salable standards; for instance, repairs, paint or cosmetic touch-up.

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