Buying a REO or foreclosure in Delray Beach

What's an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company presently owns. This is not the same as real estate up for foreclosure auction. When buying a property during a foreclosure sale, you must pay at least the loan balance plus any interest and other fees accrued during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That possibly could comprise existing liens and even current denizens that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the other hand, is a much cleaner and attractive deal. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will take care of the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally organize for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are informed of.

Are REO's a bargain in Delray Beach?

It is frequently though that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly interested to get as much as they can for it. When pondering the value of a REO, you need to look closely at comparable sales in the neighborhood and be sure to take into account the time and cost of any repairs or remodeling needed to prepare the house for resale. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.

Time to make an offer?

Most lenders have a REO department that you'll work with in buying a REO property from them. Typically the REO department will use a listing agent to get their REO properties listed on the local MLS. Before making your offer, you'll want to contact either the listing agent or REO department at the bank and find out as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", it may be in your best interest to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and terminate the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, providing documentation of your ability to pay may make your offer more attractive, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. Once you've submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. At this point it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Realize, you'll be working with a process that generally involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.