Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have gone through foreclosure and are now possessed by the bank or mortgage company. This is not the same as 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be able to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That may include standing liens and even current tenants that need to be removed.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive transaction. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will take care of 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 REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are aware of.

Is an REO in Longport a bargain?

It's occasionally assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance 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 usually anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly motivated 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 flipping foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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. 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 regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for accepting offers. Since banks usually 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 terminate 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. After you've made your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. From there it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Understand, you'll be working with a process that usually involves several 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.

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