Buying a REO or foreclosure in Colorado Springs
What's an REO?
REO's or Real Estate Owned are homes that have been foreclosed upon and are currently owned 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. You must also be ready to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property completely as is. That possibly will comprise existing liens and even current tenants that may require expulsion.
A REO, conversely, is a much cleaner and attractive deal. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The lender will attend to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally organize 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 are exempt from giving a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that usually requires sellers to disclose any defects of which they are informed.
Are REO's a bargain in Colorado Springs?
It's frequently assumed that any REO must be a good deal and an opportunity for easy money. This simply isn't true. You have to be prudent about buying a REO if your intent is make a profit. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it soon, they are also strongly encouraged 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 flipping foreclosures. Still there are also many REO's that are not good buys and may lose money.
Ready to make an offer?
Most banks have a REO department that you'll work with while buying a REO property from them. Typically the REO department will use a listing agent to get their REO properties listed on the local MLS. Before 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 accepting offers. Since banks typically sell REO properties "as is", it's often prudent to include an inspection contingency in your offer that gives you time to check for unseen damage and terminate 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 made your offer, you can expect the bank to respond with a counter offer. Then it will be your decision whether to accept their counter, or make another counter offer. Realize, you'll be contending with a process that most likely involves a group of people at the bank, and they don't work evenings or weekends. It's quite common for the process of offers and counter offers to take days or even weeks.