Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO stands for Real Estate Owned. These are houses which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently owns. 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 added during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll get the property completely as is. That might comprise existing liens and even current tenants that may require removal.

A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The bank will handle 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. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks do not have to give 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 Loveland?

It's sometimes assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This simply isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it. When pondering 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. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

All set 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. 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 concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for taking 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 retract 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. Then it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple 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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