Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO stands for Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have been foreclosed upon and are currently held by the bank or mortgage company. This differs from 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 willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly will comprise prevailing liens and even current denizens that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the other hand, is a much cleaner and attractive proposition. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will attend to the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to reveal any defects of which they are knowledgeable.

Are REO's a bargain in Covina?

It's sometimes assumed that any REO must be a steal 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 typically anxious to sell it fast, 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. 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 lenders have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Usually 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 find out as much as you can about what they know concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving 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 unseen damage and terminate 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. After you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. From there it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.