Buying a REO or foreclosure in Murphy

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties that have completed the foreclosure process and are currently held 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll get the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly could consist of existing liens and even current residents that need to be expelled.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive transaction. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The lender will handle the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note 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 normally requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are aware of.

Are REO's a bargain in Murphy?

It's frequently presume that any REO must be a good buy and an possibility for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly encouraged 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. 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 mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with when 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 learn 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", 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 terminate 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. After you've submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be working with a process that probably 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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