Buying a REO or foreclosure in North Kingstown

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties which have completed the foreclosure process and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. This differs from 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 added during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property completely as is. That may comprise standing liens and even current denizens that may require removal.

A REO, conversely, is a much neater and attractive transaction. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the lender 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. You should be aware that REOs may be exempt from typical disclosure requirements. For example, in California, banks do not have to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to make known any defects of which they are aware.

Is an REO in North Kingstown a bargain?

It is frequently believed that any REO must be a steal and an opportunity for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be cautious about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly motivated 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 buying and selling foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may not be money makers.

Time 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 learn 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 almost always 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 withdraw 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 presented your offer, you can expect the bank to make a counter offer. At this point it will be up to you to decide whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be contending with a process that probably involves several 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.