Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are homes that have been foreclosed upon which the bank or mortage company now holds. This is not the same as 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 accumulated 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 one-hundred percent as is. That may consist of current liens and even current occupants that may require eviction.

A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The lender will see to 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. Note 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 aware.

Is an REO in Tulsa a bargain?

It's sometimes assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an chance for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it promptly, 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Time to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with when buying a REO property from them. Normally 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 taking offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen 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 submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, you'll be dealing with a process that generally 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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