Most people today are interested in getting the best deal they can on a home. Foreclosures come to mind immediately as a bargain. We talk about below some of the jargon, definitions and situations you need to be familiar with if you are thinking of purchasing a foreclosure. At the bottom of the page we show some of the newest foreclosures on the market. Call us to find the best deals quickly because we have a lot of experience with the different neighborhoods and markets in Greenville. We will save you a lot of time by letting you know if that property that looks really good on paper is in fact a deal or is located next to a speedway - for example, Of course you might love it being next to a speedway. Either way we can save you time and money. Call 864-331-8586
It's not a secret anymore; most people know that foreclosures are becoming more prevalent in today's real estate market. While it is unfortunate for the owner who is in default, there are many opportunities for home buyers and investors to make a smart purchase. From an economic perspective, it allows the bank to get bad assets off its books. From a neighborhood perspective, it initially hurts values in the area, but allows responsible homeowners to occupy the house and bring it back up to standard.
For the purposes of this discussion, the term bank refers to the entity that holds the note and the associated mortgage. It also refers to the institution that takes title to the property after a foreclosure. Owner refers to the party that originally borrowed funds to purchase the house and signed the note.
When a purchaser borrows funds to buy a house, there are two documents issued - the note and the mortgage. The note describes the amount borrowed and the terms by which it will be repaid, including the amount of interest charged, the time frame, and payments per month. The mortgage describes something of value that provides security to the bank should the purchaser default on the note. Typically, the house being purchased is the collateral for the note, and the mortgage creates a lien upon it, ahead of any other creditors. The mortgage describes the conditions that create default of the note and how the bank can take legal title and possession; it can be summarized by if you pay, you stay.
If the homeowner gets behind in payments, the bank begins a series of actions designed to encourage the owner to catch up on their payments, and will include some penalties. Its in the best interest of the bank for the payments to continue on schedule and will often work with the owner to get back on track. However, the penalties accrue quickly and the new schedule of payments is often impossible for the owner. If, after a period of time, the bank is not satisfied with the performance of the owner, notice is sent informing the owner that the foreclosure process has begun and there is an initial court hearing for the owner. At this stage, the owner has between three and six months before the bank seizes the property, but if the owner attends the hearing and tells the judge the house is now for sale with a real estate agent, the foreclosure deadline is often extended for 3 months but sometimes it takes the bank a year to take action. There is possibility of a short sale during this period of time click the "short sale" link for more details on them.
When the foreclosure date is set, notice is sent to owner that they will have to vacate the house on the specified date. The public is also notified that the property will be auctioned on this date, which is traditionally the first Monday of each month. Interested parties can find the public notice in the local newspapers. The property might sell at the auction, but more likely it wont because the bank themselves will bid a value which reflects the mortgage amount but is over market value. If the property is not actually sold, the title transfers to the bank, becoming inventory that is known as real estate owned (REO). An REO property is then marketed and sold through traditional real estate channels, and assigned to a real estate broker that generally specializes in REO properties.
The largest owner of REO properties is Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac, a government sponsored entity that buys mortgages from the primary lenders and either holds them in their portfolio or repackages and resells them as a guaranteed product. Due to the mortgage crisis of 2007-08, the U.S. government took legal control over the privately held Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. HUD (Housing & Urban Development) also holds many REO properties that were originally financed with a government issued FHA loan. Foreclosed HUD homes can be found listed online at the HUD website. Both Fannie Mae and HUD homes both utilize real estate brokers who specialize in foreclosed properties.
Purchasing a foreclosed property involves more risk than a standard real estate transaction. The property is sold AS IS with no warranties conveyed. Since the original homeowners that defaulted on the note were in a poor financial situation, it is typical to find that maintenance on the home was deferred. Additionally, appliances such as stoves and dishwashers may have been removed, and many electrical and plumbing fixtures may be missing. Carpet in poor condition, damaged paint, and general cleanliness are other common issues that usually need to be addressed. Potential purchasers should have additional cash available to make any repairs necessary.
SEO properties also come with additional stipulations that put most of the control into the bank's hands. There is usually third-party addendums that override any provision in a standard real estate contract and the closing will be provided by an attorney of the seller's choice. Because of the additional risk involved, its important for a potential purchaser to consider using a professional real estate agent who understands the foreclosure process. In addition to providing access to the properties, an agent will be able to provide a value to the property in its current state as well as after repairs are made. Property value is particularly critical when the subject is in an area with several recent foreclosures. The agent will also be able to explain the extra paperwork and have an idea of repair costs, although getting firm estimates is recommended. Often there are multiple offers on REO properties which may require the expertise of an experienced agent to handle the negotiations.
An offer usually involves a written document, but some HUD properties can be purchased initially in an online bidding process. If the online process is successful, a written document will need to be provided. A real estate agent is necessary for both the online bidding and a written offer. After submitting an offer, the seller controls the tempo of the process, and it is not unusual for a response to take a week or more. However, once the offer has been accepted, the transaction typically proceeds in a normal fashion and closes in about 30 days.
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