Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes which have been foreclosed upon and are presently owned by the bank or mortgage company. This differs from real estate 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. You must also be able to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll receive the property entirely as is. That possibly may include standing liens and even current tenants that may require eviction.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive deal. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The lender will handle the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally organize for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to make known any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Piedmont?

It is commonly presume that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always 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 soon, 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Time to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with in 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. 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 getting offers. Since banks usually 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 hidden damage and withdraw the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, your offer may be 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 make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be working with a process that usually involves a group of 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.