Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company presently possesses. This is unlike 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That possibly could consist of standing liens and even current denizens that need to be expelled.

A REO, on the other hand, is a much neater and attractive proposition. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The lender 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 informed of.

Are REO's a bargain in Victorville?

It is commonly assumed that any REO must be a good buy and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily 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 quickly, they are also strongly encouraged 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying 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 while 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. Before 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 concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for getting offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and cancel 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 submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. Then it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Realize, you'll be dealing with a process that usually 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.