Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently holds. 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property completely as is. That might consist of current liens and even current occupants that may require eviction.

A REO, on the other hand, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The bank will attend to the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to make known any defects they are aware of.

Is an REO in Murphy a bargain?

It's sometimes assumed that any REO must be a steal and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly encouraged 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. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Time to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Normally 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 unknown damage and retract the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, your offer may be 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. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that most likely involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's not unusual for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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