Buying a REO or foreclosure in Colorado Springs

What's an REO?

REO's or Real Estate Owned are houses which have been foreclosed upon and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. This is not the same as a property up for foreclosure auction. When buying a property during a foreclosure sale, you must pay at least the loan balance plus any interest and other fees amassed during the foreclosure process. You must also be able to pay with cash in hand. And on top of all that, you'll receive the property completely as is. That possibly will comprise current liens and even current residents that may require expulsion.

A REO, on the contrary, is a much cleaner and attractive option. The REO property did not find a buyer during foreclosure auction. Now the bank owns it. The bank will see to 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. Take notice 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 typically requires sellers to make known any defects they are knowledgeable of.

Are REO's a bargain in Colorado Springs?

It's frequently presume that any REO must be a good buy and an possibility for easy money. This isn't always true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is profit from the sell. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it promptly, they are also strongly interested to get as much as they can for it. When pondering 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 buying foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.

Time to make an offer?

Most lenders have a REO department that you'll work with in 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 typically sell REO properties "as is", it may be in your best interest to 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, your offer may be 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 submit another counter offer. Realize, you'll be working with a process that usually 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.

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Brian L. A. Wess

Infinite Horizons Realty

2910 N. Powers Blvd, #174
Colorado Springs, CO 80922