Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are houses which have been foreclosed upon and are now owned by the bank or mortgage company. This is different than a property 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. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property completely as is. That possibly may comprise standing liens and even current occupants that need to be thrown out.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive deal. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender 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. 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 ordinarily requires sellers to disclose any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Is an REO in Tampa a bargain?

It is frequently assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make money. 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 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 flipping foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with in buying a REO property from them. Normally 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 discover 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 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 hidden damage and retract 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 respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple 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.