The costs of the ownership of an unsold home are already at historic highs. Research firms that track home trends say that over 11 million U.S. homes have underwater mortgages. Owners have no equity in these homes to tap to pay for upkeep, so damage to a home has to be paid out of pocket unless the event that caused the damage is covered by insurance. Homes on the market for several years obviously have an increased risk of eventually incurring some repair problem.
Owners of unsold homes face two financial problems. The first is that many of the repairs are essential to simply have a livable home. These cannot be put off. The second is that a home with substantial problems that are not repaired becomes more difficult to sell. Buyers have enough alternatives as it is in this over-supplied housing market.
In order to identify the most expensive costs homeowners have to incur, 24/7 Wall St. consulted a number of contractors, contracting associations, the National Homeowners Association and several other organizations to come up with repairs and replacements that generally cost the most. Because these costs can vary widely depending on the region of the country, the extent of the damage and the size of the home, we provided approximate estimates on the range of these costs. --Michael B. Sauter, Charles B. Stockdale, Douglas A. McIntyre