Buying a REO or foreclosure in Bronx

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses that have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company currently possesses. This differs from a property 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. You must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property totally as is. That possibly may comprise current liens and even current denizens that need to be removed.

A REO, conversely, is a more tidy and attractive transaction. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The bank will see to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally organize for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to reveal any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Bronx?

It is frequently believed that any REO must be a steal and an chance for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly motivated to get as much as they can for it. When contemplating 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 buying foreclosures. But there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Time to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Typically 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 learn as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for accepting offers. Since banks most commonly sell REO properties "as is", you'll want to be sure and include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and retract 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. After you've made your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Realize, you'll be dealing with a process that probably involves multiple people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.

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