Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have gone through foreclosure which the bank or mortage company presently possesses. This is unlike 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That possibly may include standing liens and even current occupants that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive proposition. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will see to the removal 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 normal disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to disclose any defects of which they are aware.

Are REO's a bargain in Oil City?

It's sometimes believed that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money. This usually isn't 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 fast, 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. But 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 in buying a REO property from them. Typically 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 discover 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 typically sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unknown damage and withdraw 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 made 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. Be aware, 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 typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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