Servicing Key West to Big Pine
Home Search Area Homes Featured Listings Rentals Site Map My Blog

Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses that have gone through foreclosure and are now possessed by the bank or mortgage company. This is different than a property 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. And on top of all that, you'll accept the property totally as is. That possibly could consist of existing liens and even current residents that may require removal.

A REO, by contrast, 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 handle 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. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to disclose any defects they are informed of.

Is an REO in Sugarloaf Key a bargain?

It's frequently though that any REO must be a bargain and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily 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 typically anxious to sell it promptly, 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 flipping foreclosures. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with in 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 discover as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks almost always sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and terminate 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. At this point it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that probably involves several 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.