Buying bank owned properties
There is a lot of interest in buying bank owned properties these days. A lot of information, some good and some bad, is floating around about the subject. Often the information offered is for sale, with the promise that you can make a lot of money with little effort once you know “the secret formula”. The fact is there are no secrets, and to make money does require effort. Ferrell Realty is here to guide and support you in that effort.
What’s an REO?
REO stands for “Real Estate Owned”. These are properties that have gone through foreclosure and are now owned by the bank or mortgage company. This is not the same as 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you’ll receive the property 100% “as is”. That could include existing liens and even current occupants that need to be evicted.
A REO, by contrast, is a much “cleaner” and attractive transaction. The REO property did not 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 prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REO’s may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. In California, for example, 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.
Is it a bargain?
It’s commonly assumed that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money. We know this simply isn’t true. You have to be very careful 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 quickly, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it.
When considering the value of a REO, we 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 buying foreclosures. But there are also many REO’s that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit. This is where we can help you analyze the property's potential prior to making an offer.
Ready to make an offer?
Most banks 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. Before making your offer, you’ll want to have us contact either the listing agent or REO department at the bank and find out as much as we can about what they know about the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties “as is”, we would include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives us time to check for hidden damage and terminate the offer if necessary.
As with making any offer on real estate, your offer will be more attractive if we can include documentation of your ability to pay, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. After we've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. Then it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Realize, we’ll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple 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.
How do you get started?
It's simple! Our Foreclosure Finder Service gives you access to inside information normally available only to real estate agents and industry insiders. In less than 10 minutes I can generate a list of available Bank-Owned and Short Sale homes.