A few days I wrote an article about the National Association of Realtors® taking a stance and adding to
their Standards of Practice the verbage "don't give out the lockbox code!". While reading and commenting
it reminded me of something that is taking place with HUD owned homes: The locks are re-keyed with
the same HUD key being able to open any HUD home in my area.
This past December I had another buyer client purchase a HUD home. Thankfully, she was a cash buyer
so closing happened relatively quickly (Start to finish 30 days). One of my (and her) biggest concerns during
the process was the security of the home post offer to the time it was legally hers.
Here are a couple of things that you can do to protect yourselves prior to closing on your HUD owned
home and changing the locks:
Take more photos during your home inspection and once again, make sure they are dated.
Ask a neighbor or two to keep an eye on it. We did this with Ashleys home. I gave a neighbor my card and asked him to call me if he spotted anything amiss. He was cheerful about helping as it is his neighborhood also!
Babysit the home. Ask your agent to stop by the home frequently to check and make sure everything is as it should be. I stopped by the home every 2-3 days to peek inside. We're out and about anyway, to pop in only took a few minutes out of my day.
Have a final walk through. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you can manage it, have it just prior to closing. With Ashleys home we met at the house at 7:15 in the morning to look it over once again just before we drove to the 9:00 closing. Anything can happen the night before closing and you wouldn't know if it you had your walk through a day or two before.
If you do all of the above you will be much more successful in getting HUD (and it's designated agent in your area) to repair or replace anything should anything come up missing or vandalized prior to your closing on the home.