Buying a REO or foreclosure in Orlando

What is an REO?

REO is an abbreviation for Real Estate Owned. These are homes that have been through foreclosure and are presently possessed 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. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property one-hundred percent as is. That possibly may consist of existing liens and even current residents that need to be thrown out.

A REO, by contrast, is a more tidy and attractive option. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The bank now owns it. The bank will take care of the elimination of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally plan for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Note that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. For instance, in Calfornia, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to disclose any defects of which they are informed.

Is an REO in Orlando a bargain?

It is sometimes though that any REO must be a good buy and an chance for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be very careful about buying a REO if your intent is make money. While it's true that the bank is usually anxious to sell it fast, they are also strongly interested to get as much as they can for it. When considering 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. It is possible to find REOs with money-making potential, 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.

Prepared to make an offer?

Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with when buying a REO property from them. Commonly 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 find out as much as you can about what they know concerning the condition of the property and what their process is for taking offers. Since banks most commonly sell REO properties "as is", you'll want to be sure and include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for hidden damage and retract the offer if you find it.

As with making any offer on real estate, you'll make your offer more attractive if you can include documentation of your ability to pay, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. Once you've submitted your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. Then it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Understand, 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 typical for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.