Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?
What's an REO?
REO stands for Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company now holds. This is different than a property 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll get the property entirely as is. That possibly could comprise existing liens and even current residents that may require eviction.
A REO, on the other hand, is a much neater and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The bank will attend to 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. Do be aware 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 they are informed of.
Are REO's a bargain in Rice Lake?
It's sometimes believed that any REO must be a good buy and an chance for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make money. 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.
Ready 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 getting offers. Since banks typically 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 terminate the offer if you find it.
As with making any offer on real estate, your offer may be more attractive if you can include documentation of your ability to pay, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. After you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. Then 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 generally 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.