Buying a foreclosure or REO property in

What is an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses that have been through foreclosure and are now 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 accumulated during the foreclosure process. You must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property totally as is. That might consist of current liens and even current occupants that may require eviction.

A REO, by contrast, is a much neater and attractive deal. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender owns it. The lender will handle the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally prepare for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that normally requires sellers to disclose any defects of which they are informed.

Are REO's a bargain in Tulsa?

It's commonly presume that any REO must be a bargain 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 to make money off of it. While it's true that the bank is often anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly encouraged 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. There are bargains with potential to make money, and many people do very well flipping foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.

Ready to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with when 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 discover as much as you can about what they know regarding the condition of the property and what their process is for receiving offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", you may want to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and retract 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. Then it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Be aware, you'll be contending with a process that probably involves multiple 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.

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