Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have been foreclosed upon and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. 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 added during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll get the property totally as is. That possibly could consist of prevailing liens and even current residents that may require expulsion.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive deal. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The lender will see to the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally plan 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 instance, in Calfornia, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to tell you about any defects of which they are informed.

Is an REO in Beverly Hills a bargain?

It is commonly though that any REO must be a steal and an possibility for easy money. This simply isn't true. You have to be very careful 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 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, 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.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with when buying a REO property from them. Typically 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 getting offers. Since banks usually 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 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. After you've made your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be your decision 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 not uncommon for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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