Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO means Real Estate Owned. These are houses which have been foreclosed upon and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. This is unlike 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 added during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll receive the property completely as is. That possibly could comprise current liens and even current residents that may require removal.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive proposition. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now 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. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are aware.

Is an REO in Tampa a bargain?

It is frequently though that any REO must be a bargain and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily 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 usually anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly motivated 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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. Prior to 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 accepting offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unknown damage and withdraw 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. Once you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, 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 quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.