Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are homes that have been foreclosed upon and are currently possessed by the bank or mortgage company. This is not the same as 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. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly will comprise prevailing liens and even current denizens that need to be thrown out.

A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive proposition. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will handle 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. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to reveal any defects they are aware of.

Is an REO in Sarasota a bargain?

It's 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 to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it quickly, 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Time to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies 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 find out as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks usually 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 cancel 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 counter offer. At this point it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be working with a process that probably involves a group of 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.

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