Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses that have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company now holds. This is different than real estate 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll get the property completely as is. That possibly will include current liens and even current tenants that need to be evicted.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive transaction. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The bank will see to 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 normal disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are knowledgeable.

Is an REO in Ocala a bargain?

It is occasionally presume that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it promptly, 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies 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. 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 about the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and withdraw 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. After you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to make 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 usually involves a group of 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.

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