Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO is Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company now holds. 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 added 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 entirely as is. That possibly could comprise standing liens and even current occupants that need to be kicked out.

A REO, by contrast, is a much neater and attractive deal. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank will take care of the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally plan for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to disclose any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Auburn?

It is occasionally though that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly interested 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. 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 not likely to turn a profit.

Time to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with in buying a REO property from them. Usually 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 taking offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", you may want to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unknown 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. After you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Understand, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's not uncommon for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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