Buying a REO or foreclosure in Piedmont

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently holds. This differs from real estate 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll get the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly will consist of existing liens and even current tenants that may require removal.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive transaction. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank will attend to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally plan for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to tell you about any defects of which they are aware.

Is an REO in Piedmont a bargain?

It's frequently assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly interested 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 foreclosures. But 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 banks have a REO department that you'll work with when 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. Prior to 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 regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for getting offers. Since banks typically 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 unseen damage and terminate the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, you'll make your offer more attractive if you can include documentation of your ability to pay, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. After you'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 make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending 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.