Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses that have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company currently possesses. This is different than 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. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll receive the property completely as is. That could comprise current liens and even current occupants that need to be evicted.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The bank will see 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 standard disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to reveal any defects of which they are knowledgeable.

Is an REO in Victorville a bargain?

It is commonly assumed that any REO must be a bargain and an possibility for easy money. This simply isn't true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly encouraged to get as much as they can for it. When considering 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, 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.

Ready to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with when buying a REO property from them. Usually 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 learn 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 may be in your best interest to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unknown 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. Then it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be working with a process that most likely involves several 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.