Buying a REO or foreclosure in Saint Cloud
What's an REO?
REO means Real Estate Owned. These are properties which have been through foreclosure and are currently possessed by the bank or mortgage company. This is different than 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 amassed during the foreclosure process. You must also be able to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll accept the property totally as is. That might comprise standing liens and even current occupants that may require eviction.
A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive proposition. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The bank will see to the removal 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 instance, in Calfornia, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to reveal any defects they are informed of.
Is an REO in Saint Cloud a bargain?
It's commonly presume that any REO must be a steal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't necessarily true. You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it fast, 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. The bargains with money making potential exist, and many people do very well buying foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.
All set to make an offer?
Most lenders have a REO department that you'll work with when 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. 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 concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for getting 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 unknown damage and cancel 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 presented your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. Then it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be contending with a process that most likely involves a group of 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.