Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company now owns. 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 added during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll get the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly could consist of existing liens and even current residents that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive proposition. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The bank will attend to 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. Do be aware 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 usually requires sellers to disclose any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Castro Valley?

It's frequently though that any REO must be a good deal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly interested 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 and selling 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 while buying a REO property from them. Commonly 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 about the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks most commonly 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 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. Once you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be contending with a process that most likely involves multiple 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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