Buying a foreclosure or REO property in
What is an REO?
REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have gone through foreclosure which the bank or mortage company currently owns. This differs from real estate 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 able to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property totally as is. That could include current liens and even current tenants that need to be removed.
A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive proposition. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The lender will handle the removal 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 normal disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to tell you about any defects of which they are knowledgeable.
Are REO's a bargain in Delray Beach?
It is frequently assumed that any REO must be a bargain 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 typically anxious to sell it promptly, 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.
Prepared to make an offer?
Most mortgage companies 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. Prior to 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 concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for accepting offers. Since banks almost always 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 unknown 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. After you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. At this point it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, you'll be working with a process that generally involves several 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.