Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company presently owns. This is unlike 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll accept the property totally as is. That may include existing liens and even current denizens that may require eviction.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will deal with 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. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are informed.

Is an REO in Vacaville a bargain?

It is frequently believed that any REO must be a bargain and an opportunity for easy money. This simply isn't 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 typically anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly interested to get as much as they can for it. When considering 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 not be money makers.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with in 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 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 may want 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, 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 made 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 make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be dealing with a process that generally involves several 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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