We often are told by potential homebuyers, “We want to find a really great deal”. Well that makes sense, you’re shopping for the most expensive item you’ll buy during your lifetime, why not get a great deal too.
So in today’s market, that usually starts them looking at the homes everyone thinks are steals, foreclosed homes. Lets look a little deeper on what these deals are all about.
First, we break these into 2 categories, foreclosed homes and pre-foreclosed homes.
Pre-foreclosed homes are commonly referred to as short sales, possible short sales, or even pre-foreclosed homes. In general what this means is the owner is unable to pay the note holder of the mortgage (typically a bank) and the property is worth less than the amount owed. Various rules apply to what the homes status is depending on the note holders requirements are for short sale but often the owner must be behind on at least 3 payments and be able to document why they cannot pay the mortgage. This is known as a ‘hardship package’. If the requirements are met then the home is marketed as a short sale. For buyers these can be good deals, but the purchase process requires a lot of patience. There is a lot of back and forth negotiations with the purchase of a short sale and for a REALTOR it can be a challenge to get everything to work out, and each bank handles these completely differently. But it is doable and the federal government is working on ways to smooth this out. Short sales could be a long topic on their own so for now lets just say if you are not in a hurry, these can be a deal.
Foreclosed homes fall into a few different categories depending on who was the note holder of the home. The most common are listed as HUD’s, Homepath’s , & REO’s.
HUD homes were financed via a federal entity such as FHA, VA, USDA, etc. When the property is foreclosed the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development takes over the home and it is then listed for sale with a processing service that works with a set of rules on how to sell the home. But the basics are it’s sold with a bidding process, kind of like the Ebay of home sales. These properties can be really nice or a total mess. But once you find one the purchase process can be pretty straightforward.
Foreclosed homes that had mortgages with Fannie Mae are now usually marketed as Homepath homes. These can be similar to HUD homes (Fannie & Freddie are quasi federal entities). Lately the Homepath homes are often marketed towards first time homebuyers with deals such as $100 down and escrows allowed to do repairs to the home. These homes can be very affordable and easier to purchase than HUD properties.
Finally there are the Real Estate Owned (REO) properties. (Nothing to do with the great rock band REO Speedwagon). These are listed like normal homes except the owner you negotiate with is the bank that was the mortgage holder. These can range from really nice homes to those referred too as “distressed”. Because you are negotiating directly with the owner, the purchase process is similar to a normal home sale. The question of how good a deal this can be depends on the status of the banks inventory and how bad they need to unload the home. But generally these will be sold for less than the general area market value so these can be a good deal for a buyer to consider.
This is a general high level overview of what deals a buyer can find. Each of these are more complex subjects so you want to make sure and have a professional REALTOR help you with these purchases as the respective sellers will pay their fees. But to summarize each, short sales require patience, bidding on HUD’s can be like playing the lottery, Homepath homes can have great financing options, and REO’s are more like normal deals that often are discounted, depending on the banks situation.
Ready to get a deal? Give The Derrick Team a call today and we’ll help you find the best fit for you.