Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently holds. This is unlike 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That may comprise prevailing liens and even current residents that need to be expelled.

A REO, on the contrary, is a more tidy and attractive option. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank 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. Note that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to make known any defects they are informed of.

Are REO's a bargain in Evansville?

It is frequently though that any REO must be a bargain and an possibility for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly interested 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.

All set to make an offer?

Most banks 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 concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks usually 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 unknown damage and cancel 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 counter offer. Then it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be working with a process that generally involves a group of 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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