Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are houses that have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company presently holds. This is different than 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll accept the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly may include existing liens and even current residents that may require removal.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy 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 organize 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 example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are aware.

Is an REO in Pleasant Garden a bargain?

It is sometimes believed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This usually isn't true. You have to be cautious 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 quickly, they are also strongly encouraged 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 lose money.

Ready to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Normally 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 about the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and cancel 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. Then it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Realize, you'll be contending with a process that generally involves a group of 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.

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