Buying a REO or foreclosure in Sugarloaf Key

What's an REO?

REO is Real Estate Owned. These are houses that have been foreclosed upon and are presently 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll get the property one-hundred percent as is. That may include existing liens and even current tenants that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will handle the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are informed of.

Is an REO in Sugarloaf Key a bargain?

It's occasionally believed that any REO must be a steal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly encouraged to get as much as they can for it. When pondering 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Ready to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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. Before 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 unknown 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 presented 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 make another counter offer. Understand, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves several people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's not uncommon for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.