Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO means Real Estate Owned. These are houses that have gone through foreclosure which the bank or mortage company presently owns. This is different than real estate 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll get the property entirely as is. That could include standing liens and even current residents that may require eviction.

A REO, conversely, is a more tidy and attractive transaction. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The lender will deal with the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to make known any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Beverly Hills?

It's occasionally assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an opportunity 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 interested 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.

All set to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies 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 regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks most commonly sell REO properties "as is", you may want to 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, you'll make your offer more attractive if you can include documentation of your ability to pay, 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. Then 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 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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