Buying a foreclosure or REO property in
What is an REO?
REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are homes which have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company presently possesses. This is not the same as 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 get the property completely as is. That could include existing liens and even current occupants that may require removal.
A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive option. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will take care of the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to disclose any defects of which they are knowledgeable.
Are REO's a bargain in Fort Walton Beach?
It is frequently though that any REO must be a steal and an chance for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it. When considering 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.
Prepared 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. 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 taking offers. Since banks most commonly 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 hidden damage and retract 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 presented your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that usually involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.