Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO stands for Real Estate Owned. These are houses which have been foreclosed upon and are currently possessed by the bank or mortgage company. 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be able to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll receive the property completely as is. That possibly will include prevailing liens and even current tenants that may require removal.

A REO, on the other hand, is a much neater and attractive proposition. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will handle the removal 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 normal disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to reveal any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Is an REO in Beverly Hills a bargain?

It is commonly presume that any REO must be a steal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it promptly, 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. 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 not likely to turn a profit.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with in 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 find out as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving 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 hidden damage and terminate 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, you'll be contending with a process that usually involves multiple people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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