Buying a REO or foreclosure in Murfreesboro

What's an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have completed the foreclosure process and are now possessed by the bank or mortgage company. This is different than 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 prepared to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll receive the property entirely as is. That possibly will consist of prevailing liens and even current residents that may require removal.

A REO, on the other hand, is a more tidy and attractive transaction. 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 plan 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 instance, in Calfornia, 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 Murfreesboro a bargain?

It is occasionally believed that any REO must be a good deal and an possibility for easy money. This usually isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly motivated 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with in 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. 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 getting offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", you may want to 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, 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 submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. From there it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be dealing with a process that most likely 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.

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