Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have completed the foreclosure process and are presently owned by the bank or mortgage company. 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 added during the foreclosure process. You must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll receive the property entirely as is. That possibly could include prevailing liens and even current tenants that may require removal.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive transaction. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will take care of 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 not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Austin?

It is sometimes though that any REO must be a steal and an possibility for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it quickly, 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 banks 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 discover 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 almost always 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 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. From there it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Understand, you'll be working 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.