Buying a REO or foreclosure in Delray Beach
What's an REO?
REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company now holds. This differs from a property up for foreclosure auction. If you buy a property during a foreclosure sale, you must pay at least the loan balance plus any interest and other fees amassed during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll accept the property completely as is. That may comprise existing liens and even current tenants that may require eviction.
A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank will attend to the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to reveal any defects they are knowledgeable of.
Are REO's a bargain in Delray Beach?
It is commonly assumed that any REO must be a good buy and an chance for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it. When contemplating 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.
Time to make an offer?
Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Commonly 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 learn 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 usually sell REO properties "as is", you'll want to be sure and include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and withdraw 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. After you've made your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. From there it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves several people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's not unusual for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.