Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties that have been through foreclosure which the bank or mortage company presently possesses. This is different than 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 added during the foreclosure process. You must also be able to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That could comprise existing liens and even current denizens that may require removal.

A REO, by contrast, is a much cleaner and attractive proposition. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank will handle the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to reveal any defects of which they are informed.

Is an REO in Denton a bargain?

It is commonly assumed that any REO must be a good buy and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly interested 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

All set to make an offer?

Most lenders 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 learn as much as you can about what they know concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", you'll want to be sure and include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unknown 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 submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be dealing with a process that generally involves multiple 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.