Buying a REO or foreclosure in Nashville
What's an REO?
REO's or Real Estate Owned are properties that have completed the foreclosure process and are presently held by the bank or mortgage company. This differs from real estate 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 accrued during the foreclosure process. The buyer must also be prepared to pay with cash in hand. Finally, you'll receive the property totally as is. That possibly could consist of standing liens and even current tenants that need to be thrown out.
A REO, by contrast, is a much neater and attractive transaction. The REO property was unable to find a buyer during foreclosure auction. The lender now owns it. The lender will see to the removal of tax liens, evict occupants if needed and generally arrange for the issuance of a title insurance policy to the buyer at closing. Do be aware that REOs may be exempt from standard disclosure requirements. In California, for example, banks are not required to give a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a document that ordinarily requires sellers to tell you about any defects they are aware of.
Is an REO in Nashville a bargain?
It is sometimes assumed that any REO must be a bargain 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 money. While it's true that the bank is typically anxious to sell it quickly, they are also strongly encouraged to get as much as they can for it. When considering 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 foreclosures. However there are also many REO's that are not good buys and not likely to turn a profit.
Ready to make an offer?
Most mortgage companies have a REO department that you'll work with in buying a REO property from them. Commonly 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 taking offers. Since banks most commonly 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 unseen damage and withdraw the offer if you find it.
As with making any offer on real estate, providing documentation of your ability to pay may make your offer more attractive, such as a pre-approval letter from a lender. After you've presented 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 submit another counter offer. Understand, you'll be contending with a process that probably 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.