Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What is an REO?

REO is short for Real Estate Owned. These are homes that have been through foreclosure and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. This is not the same as 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. The buyer must also be willing to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll get the property entirely as is. That possibly will include current liens and even current occupants that may require eviction.

A REO, by contrast, is a more tidy and attractive transaction. The REO property didn't find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The bank will handle the elimination 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 normal disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that typically requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are informed of.

Are REO's a bargain in Branson?

It's commonly though that any REO must be a steal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always 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 promptly, they are also strongly interested 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. 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. Before 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 about the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks usually sell REO properties "as is", it may be in your best interest to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and withdraw 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 counter offer. Then it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be working 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.

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