Looking for a foreclosure or REO property in ?

What's an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are properties that have completed the foreclosure process which the bank or mortage company presently holds. This differs from real estate up for foreclosure auction. When buying 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. The buyer must also be able to pay with cash in hand. To top everything off, you'll get the property entirely as is. That might comprise current liens and even current tenants that need to be expelled.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much neater and attractive option. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The lender will attend to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally plan for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are knowledgeable.

Is an REO in Austin a bargain?

It's commonly presume that any REO must be a bargain and an possibility for easy money. This just isn't true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly motivated 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, 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.

Time to make an offer?

Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while 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 accepting offers. Since banks typically 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. Once you've presented your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. From there it will be your choice whether to accept their counter, or offer a counter to the counter offer. Be aware, you'll be contending with a process that probably involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.


Issac W. Harper Real Estate Broker/RealtorĀ©

P.O. Box 143683
Austin, TX 78714-3683