Answer these questions to determine if purchasing a bank owned home/foreclosure is right for you…
Please read carefully through the following items when trying to determine whether or not you are interested in looking at REO (Real Estate Owned) and Foreclosure properties.
- Would you be okay with a delayed closing? Purchasers of foreclosures may have to wait for a significant amount of time before closing can occur. Are you on a tight deadline to get out of your lease? Are you attempting to take advantage of the Home Buyer Tax Credit (in which homes must close by June 1, 2010?) If so, this may not be the best choice for you.
- If closing were delayed, would you be okay with re-applying for your loan and possibly losing your current loan lock? All during the time that we are awaiting closing, mortgage rates will be fluctuating, and if the loan lock deadline passes, you will have to re-apply for the loan and incur any related charges.
- If closing is delayed, will you be able to adjust the timeframe for your date of possession? It is very unlikely that we will be allowed to occupy the property prior to closing, so you would need to have a backup residence in mind, in case of any delays. If this is your primary home, some sort of temporary living arrangement would need to be made, and it may include moving twice- from your current home to the temporary residence, and the temporary residence to your new home.
- Even if the property is priced extremely competitively, do you have other funds that may be necessary for updating, cleaning up, and repairing the property? Sometimes REO and foreclosed homes will require a significant cash investment just to bring them up to standard living conditions.
- Are you comfortable purchasing a home “as is”? Most REO and foreclosed homes will come in “as is” condition. A handful of them will not allow any sort of home inspection prior to purchase at all, however most allow a home inspection for information only. Would you be comfortable making any necessary repairs yourself (or with a contractor, of course) and after closing?
- Would you be willing to sign addenda that heavily sways negotiations in favor of the Lender/Bank who owns the property and overrides most of the standard protections granted to the buyer? Most of these forms override rights that we outline in the standard Virginia Association of Realtors Residential Contract to Purchase. Oftentimes, the lender will allow no revisions to be made to these documents. Some of the changes that are often arranged in the addenda; tougher restrictions on the Purchaser, shorter timelines for the Purchaser to secure a loan, conduct a home inspection, etc, a larger deposit, deposits to be held in the escrow of the lenders choice, and very few provisions that will allow for the Purchaser to get out of the contract and many ways for the lender/seller to walk.
- Would you be okay with getting up to the week of closing, only to find that the lender received another offer and has chosen to take that offer and void their contract with you? Many of the packages of documents that the lenders have you sign will include a provision allowing for this.
- Would you be comfortable with your earnest money deposit to be escrowed with a escrow company or attorney of their choice? This money will not be accessible during the time that the property is under contract.
- Are you prepared to do a title search and purchase title insurance? You will want to verify that the lender does hold title of the property (not all homes transfer from the previous sellers right away). You will also want to make sure that any liens that may have been held against the previous owners (who may have had difficulty paying many bills, aside from their mortgage) have been released and you will have the ability to purchase the home free and clear of liens and encumbrances.
If these items would not cause a major inconvenience for you, then you may be a perfect candidate to purchase a REO or foreclosure property- there are some incredible deals to be had!
Any more thoughts/additions to this list from others who have had bank owned/foreclosure homes?
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you’d like to be set up on a search that will send you foreclosure and bank-owned homes that might meet your search criteria!