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Short Sales, Foreclosures and REO Properties – What You Have to Know to Find and Buy
1. Find the right location –
Even if you’re looking for great deals, real estate is, as always, about location. Don’t be tempted by high prices to live in an area that you and your family are not happy with. One of the first keys to finding a good bank owned home is choosing the area you want to live in. There are now bank-owned homes in every neighborhood. There may not be as many in some areas as in others, but there are bank-owned homes in every city. The next step is to open up to expand the area of your choice.
By expanding the scope of your target area, you can multiply the number of bank-owned homes from which to choose. If being in a school district is your top priority, check the school district’s boundaries and allow home searches throughout the district. Another suggestion is to look for a smaller home than you really want. Check out homes that can be added and remodeled. Many, if not most, bank owned homes are in some sort of state of disrepair. By looking for homes you can buy for less than your budget, you can find more homes to choose from.
One of the most important things a buyer can do to find a good bank-owned home is to find an agent who works for the REO. Agents who list and sell bank-owned homes either have an upcoming listing or are already on the market and know the ins and outs of how much to offer to the bank and how to make a buyer’s offer look better by knowing the bank has the most What terms may be accepted.
2. This is why REO homes and short sales take a long time to close escrow.
The main reason REO homes and short sales take so long is the number of loans that banks and loan servicers are processing. Each asset manager was consistently dealing with a workload of over 200 files. Each document is a complex financial puzzle and no two documents are alike.
Each file has a lot of moving parts that need to be processed. If the house is owned by the bank, is the house still occupied by the previous owner or possibly a tenant? If so, the bank needs to initiate an eviction against the previous owner or provide relocation assistance to help the resident get some financial help to find a new place to live. If a home is occupied by a tenant, the bank must follow federal guidelines and give the tenant enough time to move out or offer relocation assistance again. Once the home is vacated, the bank must relock the home and secure the property.
Then a BPO (Broker Price Opinion) is a small appraisal that has to be performed by three independent brokers to provide the bank with current value “as is” and fix it. After the bank asset manager receives the BPO, he must decide whether to proceed with the proposed repairs. If you want to make repairs, you have to hire a contractor and sign a contract and get the job done. This can take anywhere from 3 or 4 days to several weeks. Only at this point is the property ready to be put on the market.
Once on the market, we often receive multiple offers on a home if the price is right. The asset manager must review each offer, usually going back to all potential buyers and asking the buyer for their “highest and best” offer. This may go back and forth for quite some time until the asset manager approves the bank’s best offer (not always the highest offer). If the home is a short sale, you have to deal with a whole different set of issues. Homes can hit the market sooner, but there are longer delays in purchase negotiations.
The challenge of accepting and closing a short sale depends on many factors. Short sales are definitely the new go-to method for lenders to deal with loss mitigation. But there is currently no compliance method for signing up with banks. While most banks expect the same information from sellers, each bank has its own way of presenting it. If the short sale package is incomplete or sent in the wrong order, this can delay the process of not only that document, but the other 200+ documents that follow it. The other major hurdle in negotiating a short sale arises if the property has more than one loan on it.
When an offer comes in to the bank, the banker first checks to see if there is more than one loan on the property – run a title search to see what liens and judgments there are on the property. If there are multiple liens on the property, each lender and lienholder needs to be addressed. This can take a long time. The listing agent should handle the negotiations with the lender – not the buyer or the bank. This can be very complicated when two or more different banks are involved, and delays are common as paperwork is intertwined between the various organisations.
3. What can you do to expedite the escrow and closing process for REO housing?
Look for pre-approved bank short sales. You are looking for a bank sale that was approved but failed for some reason. The bank has an acceptable price, you just have to bid. Check Internet listings and the MLS – but your best bet is a knowledgeable real estate short sale specialist who has many contacts to find short sales not listed on the MLS.
If you need financing to buy a home, it should be a loan pre-approval, not a “pre-qualification”. The larger your down payment and cash payment will help secure the home. Having all financing in place will speed up the process.
Another great way to speed up the sale and ensure you get your home is to buy it “as is”. Banks are like that.
Once you do get approval for a property, be prepared to do a quick inspection and respond to seller disclosures. Typically, you only have 10 days to complete and iron out any surprises. Choose an appraiser and inspector and get ready to go in no time.
For a quality property in a great location, there will often be multiple offers. You need to be prepared to pay more than the asking price. The more cash you can bring, the better your chances of getting a house. Even if there are no other offers on the home, be prepared for the bank to reject your first offer and make a counteroffer. Larger “short specialist” agencies with a large number of agents and many connections to banks may be able to negotiate directly and expedite the process.
Finding and buying a dilapidated bank-owned home is a challenge. However, if you are prepared, have financing in place, and work with professionals who understand the short sale and bank-owned real estate environment in your area, you stand a much better chance of getting your dream home at an unbelievable price Family.
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