Be Willing To Walk Away
In a regular home sale, buyers and sellers are typically both motivated to close a deal, and that benefits negotiations on both sides. Mortgage lenders are as detached as a seller can be in terms of closing any one particular deal, so buyers lose that advantage during negotiations. After investing so much time and often a lot of emotion into trying to close a deal on a foreclosure, its easy to find yourself settling for terms youre not happy with just to get into the house.
Your real estate agent can help you stick to your guns and make smart decisionsand can help advise you when its time to walk away if necessary.
If youre patient and make smart moves, you could become the proud owner of a formerly foreclosed home that was priced just right.
A foreclosed home is just one special type of home purchase. Heres how to make anotherand very differentpurchase, a new construction home.
Buying A Foreclosed Home In 6 Steps
Looking to buy a new home but worried you wont be able to afford the monthly mortgage payment that comes with it? Or maybe you want to buy in a popular neighborhood, but you think its homes are too expensive for your budget? Purchasing a foreclosed home might be the solution.
A foreclosed home is one thats usually owned by a bank or lender. Lenders can foreclose on a home when homeowners stop making their regular monthly mortgage payments, meaning that they take over ownership of that residence.
Banks and mortgage lenders will then try to sell these homes, often at lower prices or with a smaller down payment. And thats the main benefit of buying a foreclosed home: You might nab a residence that wouldve otherwise been out of your price range.
Although there are certainly risks that come with buying a foreclosure, the process itself isnt much more complicated than the typical home buying experience, and buying the right foreclosed property can get you a home at a bargain price.
Heres a closer look into how to buy a foreclosure and the information you need to make the process as simple as possible.
Get The Most Up To Date Title Information
A title search is always recommended for any real estate transaction. A title company will check the property for liens as well as verify that the deed to the home is correct. A title search is especially important when buying an REO property due to the unique transfer of ownership at foreclosure. There may be liens on the title that may not be uncovered until the closing process begins. Again, a real estate professional who is experienced in foreclosed homes can be a valuable resource in guiding you through this process.
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Get A Mortgage Preapproval
A mortgage preapproval is necessary in a hot market and lets owners know that youre capable of purchasing the property. A preapproval also provides you with a stronger negotiating position when it comes time to find the best rate and finalize your loan.
If youre interested in a foreclosed home because finances are tight, there are tons of programs that could help you.
- Government-backed loans typically have lower qualification requirements:
Buying A Foreclosed Home: Pros And Cons
Buying a foreclosed home is a personal decision. It depends on a variety of factors, including your risk tolerance, the propertys potential reward, financing and your ability to move quickly. In many cases youre also benefiting from someone elses misfortune, which can be a deal-breaker for some people. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Find Foreclosed Homes For Sale
You can find foreclosed properties advertised in many places, from national websites to your local bank branch. They may not always be available in the neighborhoods youre eyeing, so be prepared to monitor the market for a minute. A real estate agent could help you.
You can find local foreclosures advertised in print publications and on Multiple Listing Service sites. You may have to use a search filter for foreclosures here are a few popular sites:
How To Pay At A Foreclosure Auction
Third parties have to pay with certified funds, like a money order or certified check, sometimes for a percentage of the property price at the time of the sale. Requirements vary on how much you have to put down and when you have to pay the full amount. Sometimes, the winning bidder has to put down a certain amount, like $10,000, immediately after the sale, and the balance is due within a limited time.
Alternatively, you might have to pay at least the amount of the opening bid with some additional time to get the rest of the balance. Or you might have to pay the total amount of the winning bid at the sale.
If you don’t make the full payment of the bid amount when due, the next highest bidder who timely tenders the total amount of that bidder’s bid is deemed the successful bidder.
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How To Prepare For A Foreclosure Auction
If you plan on going to a sale in person, contact the party holding the foreclosure auction to find out how much money you need to bring to the auction. Be sure to have your funds ready before bidding.
It’s also a good idea to attend a couple of foreclosure auctions in advance of the one for the property you’re interested in bidding on. You can learn the procedures, observe the bidders, and find out the process requirements.
Find A Knowledgeable Foreclosure Agent
If you’re thinking about buying a foreclosed home, choose your real estate agent carefully.
“An agent who knows how the process of buying a foreclosed property works will be very helpful,” says Santosh Bhatt, a broker at Greater Louisville Homes in Kentucky. “Understanding the process allows the agent to manage buyer expectations. An agent with a lack of foreclosure experience can make the transaction a bit challenging.”
Look for agents in areas with high foreclosure rates or ask your lender if they partner with any REO agents. It can also be helpful to search for agents with Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource or Certified Distressed Property Expert certifications.
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Overview Of Buying A Foreclosure
You could buy a home in pre-foreclosure, at a foreclosure auction, or from the mortgage lender.
Buying a foreclosure can seem like a no-brainer. Who could pass up a rock-bottom price for a new home? If youre looking to rent or flip a property, the lower the price you pay, the more profit you make. Whats not to like?
Well, buying a foreclosure property can work out well for the buyer if not the previous owner, for whom its usually heartbreaking. But even if you can take advantage of the opportunity, buying a foreclosure requires some extra effort, research and patience.
How Do You Buy A Foreclosed Home
The two common ways of buying a foreclosed home are through a real estate agent or through a public auction.
There are many factors to consider when buying a foreclosed home compared to a traditional home purchase. REO properties are an affordable housing option, but there are also more things to watch for with this type of home purchase. Use this guide to better understand the steps involved in buying a foreclosed home and to increase your likelihood of success in finding one that is right for you.
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Get Preapproved For A Mortgage
Getting preapproved for a mortgage is a smart move no matter what type of home you buy. In the preapproval process, a lender will run your credit and verify your income and debt at no charge. This lender will then determine how much of a mortgage it can approve you for.
Once you get a preapproval letter from a lender, youll know exactly how much you can spend on a home. If a bank approves you for a mortgage of $200,000, you wont waste time looking at homes that cost $300,000.
Having a preapproval letter also makes you an attractive buyer. Sellers prefer working with buyers who they already know can qualify for a mortgage. They dont worry that you wont be able to get a loan, thus dashing their home sale. If multiple buyers put in bids on a home, sellers are more likely to work with buyers whove already been preapproved for a mortgage .
Banks and lenders can be particularly sensitive to credit issues in foreclosure situations, so a good credit score will be especially important during the preapproval process.
The smart move is to shop around for mortgage lenders. Dont simply work with the first mortgage lender you find. Instead, search for the lender thatll give you the lowest interest rate and loan fees.
Your lender will want to make sure nothing has changed for you financially since you first earned your preapproval.
The Foreclosure Process Explained
In the U.S., the legal process of foreclosing on a piece of property is determined by state law, and so the specifics of the foreclosure procedure vary from state to state. These procedures may be categorized as judicial, non-judicial, or some mix of both, and are guided by varying deadlines and timeframes.
Generally, foreclosure involves five separate stages, although they may be called by different names:
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How Do I Get A Good Deal On A Foreclosed Home
When youre investing in real estatethe keyword there being investingyou make money by finding a good deal first, then selling at a higher price later. This means you want to buy something below market value.
One of the most important rules about buying foreclosed homes is that you must get a good deal. As an investor, you can generally consider a home to be a good deal if you can get it for 80% or less of market value minus the cost of repairs.
Even if youre taking the house as is, your offer should still account for the cost of repairs youll have to make after you buy it. You just need a home inspection and a good bid on repairs so you can apply the formula for getting a deal on the house:
80% of the appraised value minus the cost of repairs
For example, lets say you find a foreclosure listed at $125,000. You and your real estate agent agree this is a fair market value for the house in pristine condition. But its not in pristine condition and your contractor estimates repairs at $15,000.
Now do the math: 80% of $125,000 is $100,000, minus repairs of $15,000 equals $85,000. Thats the offer you make. Remember, the deal is made at the buy. That means you dont buy unless youre getting a deal. Youve got some room to negotiate, but dont go into debt to get the deal done.
Okay, so what if youre not an investor? Is it still a good idea to look at a foreclosed home as a first-time home buyer? Maybe.
Renovate Repair And Move Into The Home
Once you finalize the logistics to buy a foreclosure, its time for the work to begin. Many foreclosed properties require extensive repairs to get up to code as the previous homeowners typically leave a few presents for the institution that foreclosed on them. Plus, many foreclosed homes sit empty for a long period of time because of either their condition or because of how slow the bank is at moving forward with a new buyer.
The work that needs to be done can range from electrical upgrades and plumbing repairs to full-scale roof replacements and foundation work. Your inspection should uncover most of the work that needs to be done. Once youre finished with fixing up your foreclosed home, its time to move in.
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Getting Help With A Foreclosure Auction
If you have questions about buying a property through a foreclosure at auction or need help with the process, consider working with an experienced real estate agent or talking to a qualified real estate attorney.
If you’re a homeowner facing a foreclosure and have further questions about the process, speak to a local foreclosure lawyer. To learn about different alternatives to a foreclosure, like a modification or short sale, talk to a HUD-approved housing counselor who can help you at no cost.
Find Homes Being Foreclosed
The first step in how to buy a foreclosed home is to find the properties being foreclosed on. You can find such foreclosed homes on websites such as RealtyTrac.com and Auction.com, but the best place to go is right to the source the county records.
In some states, banks are required to publish in a local paper the addresses of houses being foreclosed on for several consecutive weeks. You can find this paper and subscribe to it, but this is a rather antiquated way to go. My recommendation is either going down to the courthouse or accessing the records online. The address of the county courthouse and their website should be easy to find online with a simple Google search.
For example, in Jackson County, Missouri, the foreclosure document is called an Appointment, and you can look up all new Appointment filings on the county website. You can also go down to the courthouse and look them up in their records department. Most counties have these documents online. But, every county is different, so you will have to research exactly how your local one works.
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Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Foreclosure
Purchasing a foreclosure can be complicated, and would-be buyers who haven’t done their homework can make costly mistakes.
Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 424,000 U.S. properties during the first half of 2017, which means there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to invest in the foreclosure market.
Be aware, though, that purchasing a foreclosure can be complicated. Would-be buyers who havent done their homework can make costly mistakes.
Zillow polled some real estate agents to learn about the most common mistakes they see when it comes to buying foreclosure properties. Here are their tips to help you avoid costly blunders.
Find The Right Real Estate Agent
Buying a bank foreclosure home for sale isn’t the kind of venture you can take on solo. Before getting started, find a great agent experienced in foreclosures who understands the process in your area. Even if you have a good working relationship with an agent, success in purchasing a foreclosure means finding an expert.
How To Buy A Foreclosed Home: 6
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If you scan real estate websites, youve likely noticed homes listed as foreclosures or bank-owned properties. Some of the prices might look good, but buying and financing a foreclosed home isnt a cakewalk.
Here are some things to know about buying foreclosed homes.
Make Offers On Homes That Fit Your Needs And Price Point
The way you approach this step depends on the type of foreclosure home you want to purchase. If you plan to buy one that is real estate owned or government owned, you or your agent have to make an offer to the real estate agent working with the bank to sell the home, or to the government agency itself.
If you want to purchase a foreclosure home that is about to go to auction, you or your agent have to make an offer to the person in charge of the auction. In pre-foreclosures, you or your agent have to make an offer to the homeowner.
If you’re using a real estate agent, work with them to establish a contingency plan as part of the offer to make sure you can have the home inspected before your purchase is finalized.
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Be Prepared To Commit To A House As
Foreclosures are mostly sold as-is, which means any repairs are your responsibility. You could request a repair in some cases, but the entity owning the home may not be willing to credit you for it. Because the foreclosure market is competitive right now, you might have to place an offer or bid before viewing or inspecting the home.
If there are material defects with the home, like plumbing or the roof, you as the buyer are responsible for that. You take that on as your own risk, and youre doing it because youre getting such a good price for the home, Charlie says.
What Is A Foreclosure Home
When you sign a mortgage, the bank puts a lien on your property, and this lien entitles them to take possession of your home if you stop making your monthly payments.
When a person falls behind on their mortgage, the bank initiates a process called foreclosure. Foreclosure is a legal process where a court orders the homeowner to leave the property, and the bank takes ownership. The bank can then sell the property to make good on its losses.
A foreclosed home can be an excellent bargain. Banks are often willing to sell below market price just to unload the property quickly. The longer they hang onto it, the longer theyre responsible for repairs, maintenance, and taxes. That said, buying a foreclosed home also presents its own challenges and pitfalls.
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