Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes that have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company currently owns. This is not the same as real estate 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property completely as is. That might consist of current liens and even current tenants that need to be thrown out.

A REO, on the contrary, is a more tidy and attractive proposition. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The lender will see to 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 typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to make known any defects they are informed of.

Are REO's a bargain in Tampa?

It's sometimes though that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly encouraged 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Time to make an offer?

Most lenders have a REO department that you'll work with when 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 discover as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for getting 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 unknown damage and cancel 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 submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. At this point it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be dealing with a process that usually involves multiple 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.