Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have completed the foreclosure process and are presently held 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 added during the foreclosure process. You must also be able to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property entirely as is. That may consist of standing liens and even current residents that may require eviction.

A REO, by contrast, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The lender will see to 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. Take notice 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 make known any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Santa Fe?

It's sometimes presume that any REO must be a steal and an possibility for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it soon, 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. 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 not likely to turn a profit.

Ready to make an offer?

Most lenders 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 find out as much as you can about what they know about the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks most commonly 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 presented your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. From there it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or submit another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that usually involves several people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's not unusual for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.