Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently owns. 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll accept the property totally as is. That possibly will include current liens and even current residents that need to be evicted.

A REO, conversely, is a more tidy and attractive option. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The bank will deal with the elimination 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 instance, in Calfornia, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are informed of.

Is an REO in Tampa a bargain?

It's sometimes believed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This simply isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it promptly, 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Time to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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. 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 regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks most commonly 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 retract the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, providing documentation of your ability to pay may make your offer more attractive, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. Once you've submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. From there it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be working with a process that most likely 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.