Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What's an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are homes that have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company presently possesses. This is different than a property 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll accept the property totally as is. That may consist of standing liens and even current residents that may require removal.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive transaction. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will see to the elimination 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 standard disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are informed.

Is an REO in Murphy a bargain?

It is occasionally presume that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it fast, 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. 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.

Ready to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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 find out as much as you can about what they know about the condition of the property and what their process is for accepting offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", it may be in your best interest to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and withdraw 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 respond with a counter offer. From there it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that usually involves several people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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