Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are houses that have been foreclosed upon and are currently owned by the bank or mortgage company. This differs from real estate 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be able to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll get the property entirely as is. That possibly may consist of current liens and even current occupants that need to be evicted.

A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive deal. The REO property was unable to 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 plan for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are aware of.

Is an REO in Murphy a bargain?

It is sometimes assumed that any REO must be a bargain and an possibility for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly motivated 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Ready 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. Prior to 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 regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for accepting offers. Since banks usually sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden 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. Once you've submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. Then it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Realize, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves several 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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