Buying a REO or foreclosure in Salisbury
What's an REO?
REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company currently possesses. This is unlike real estate 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 prepared to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property entirely as is. That could include prevailing liens and even current residents that need to be kicked out.
A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive proposition. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The lender will take care of the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Take notice that REOs may be exempt from normal disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to make known any defects they are knowledgeable of.
Are REO's a bargain in Salisbury?
It is commonly presume that any REO must be a good buy and an opportunity for easy money. This usually isn't true. You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. 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 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 flipping foreclosures. Still 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 when 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 about the condition of the property and what their process is for getting offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", you may want to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and withdraw the offer if you find it.
As with making any offer on real estate, providing documentation of your ability to pay may make your offer more attractive, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. Once you've made your offer, you can expect the bank to counter offer. Then it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that most likely involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.