If you are thinking of buying a foreclosed home, you are to be commended. Foreclosure homes sale offer bargains that privately owned homes seldom do.
And, it is a myth that foreclosed homes are more complicated, and difficult to buy than a regular home purchase. It is also a myth that only certain people can buy foreclosures.
Almost anyone can buy any type of foreclosure if you follow the rules, and of course, if you can qualify financially, either by obtaining a home loan, or if you have enough cash.
In fact, in many instances, buying a foreclosure is less complicated, and less time consuming than buying any other type of home.
You may from time to time come across a foreclosure that is difficult to buy, but more times than not, you will find the process of buying a foreclosure uncomplicated, and straight forward.
I will explain to you why you should buy a foreclosure, the different types of foreclosures, where to find foreclosures, and the best foreclosures to buy.
Why You Should Buy a Foreclosure
One of the biggest advantages to buying a foreclosure compared with buying a privately owned home is lack of emotion. If you have ever purchased a home from mom and pop homeseller, you know that there is usually emotion involved.
These sellers have invested years of their lives, and often their children’s lives in their home, and have developed a strong emotional connection with their home.
As a result, these folks often have an unrealistic idea of what their home is worth, and what it should sell for. They can be inflexible in negotiations, and unwilling to make concessions for would be buyers.
If you think back to the homes that you have lived in both as a child, and as an adult, you will likely have many memories that will tug at your heart strings, and bring about an emotional reaction, either good, bad, or both.
Another advantage of buying a foreclosure over a privately owned home is less competition. This is not always the case, but more times than not you will encounter less competition, and a smoother road to having your offer accepted with a foreclosure. This is assuming of course that your offer is at least somewhat reasonable.
Another reason you should buy a foreclosure is you have a much better chance of finding a bargain than with a privately owned home. You have to do your due diligence of course, but many foreclosures are purchased every day at well under market value.
And don’t feel bad about buying a foreclosure. Some people have told me that they feel a little sad that they are buying a home that someone lost due to foreclosure. I do empathize with the foreclosed homeowner, but look at all of the good you are doing.
By buying a foreclosure you are helping many people involved in the process. You are helping a neighborhood, the tax base and the local schools, real estate agents, utility companies, banks or lenders, title companies, inspectors, and the list goes on.
And at the same time you are likely starting out with some equity that can help you financially now, and down the road.
Types of Foreclosures
There are 2 basic types of foreclosures. Government foreclosures, and bank foreclosures, or bank owned foreclosures, also know as REO’s or real estate owned.
Government foreclosure types are: HUD, or Housing and Urban Development, FNMA, or Federal National Mortgage Association, also know as Fannie Mae. FHLMC, or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, VA or Veterans Administration, or Department of Veterans Affairs, USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, FDIC, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Department of the Treasury/IRS, Internal Revenue Service, and GNMA, or Government National Mortgage Association, also know as Ginnie Mae.
Bank foreclosures are also know as bank owned foreclosures, and REO’s or Real estate owned foreclosures.
Other types of foreclosures include Pre Foreclosures, which are technically not foreclosures because the foreclosure process has either not been started or will start soon with these properties.
Courthouse step foreclosures, which are technically bank foreclosures that are offered on the courthouse steps initially to cash buyers.
Short sales are often thought of as foreclosures, but they utilize a unique set of circumstances and processes distinctly different than those of foreclosures.
The buying processes for these foreclosures are all different, and can be somewhat daunting and risky for the uninformed, and inexperienced. I highly recommend a good buyer’s agent that is educated and experienced with foreclosures.
Remember, the real estate agent commissions are paid by the seller, so hiring a good buyer’s agent is free to you. Why not take advantage of it?
Where to Find Foreclosures
The best place to find foreclosures is on the MLS, or multiple listing service.
In order to have access to this information, you need to find a real estate agent, or a real estate broker.
Although all agents and brokers have access to this information, it is ideal to find an agent or broker who specializes in these properties.
You can still get the foreclosure lists from any agent or broker, but in order to effect the purchase, if your agent or broker doesn’t understand the ins and outs of the various foreclosure processes, your deal may not happen.
In addition to the MLS, Government foreclosures have specific websites where their foreclosures can be found such as:
HUD – hudhomestore.com
Fannie Mae – homepath.com
Freddie Mac – homesteps.com
VA – va.gov or homesales.gov
USDA – usda.gov or resales.usda.gov
FDIC – fdicrealestatelistings.com
Treasury/IRS – treasury.gov/auctions/irs
Ginnie Mae – ginniemae.gov
Bank foreclosures, in addition to on the MLS, can often be found on the particular bank’s website, or the bank will sometimes provide contact information as to the real estate agent or agents that handle foreclosure listings for them.
Courthouse steps foreclosures are normally listed in the newspaper and/or on certain websites such as the county website, or the bank website.
Foreclosures can also be found on various other real estate websites including Realtor, Trulia, Zillow, listsource, and others. These sites however, are seldom up to date, and their focus is primarily on privately owned homes, and less on foreclosures.
Foreclosure.com is another source of foreclosure listings.
It is very possible to find a great bargain with any type of foreclosure.
However, my favorite foreclosures are HUD foreclosures. HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development, also known as the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Contrary to what some believe, buying HUD foreclosures is normally a relatively easy process. HUD lists the foreclosures that come about when mortgage holders of FHA loans default.
These foreclosures are available throughout the United States. HUD lists their available foreclosed homes on their website, hudhomestore.com
Anyone can buy a HUD foreclosure. You only have to qualify for a loan as you would for any other property, or show that you have sufficient cash to cover the costs. HUD does an appraisal, and an inspection on all of their foreclosures before they list them for sale.
This is a huge benefit, as the inspection gives you at least a general idea of the condition of the home’s main systems such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, roof, etc.
This also makes you aware of any other significant issues with the property. Knowing this information can help you decide if you want to pursue the HUD home or not before taking the time and trouble to see it in person.
It is also possible to buy HUD foreclosures for little, if any closing costs. HUD also runs specials from time to time where it is possible to buy for a foreclosure for only $100 down. During this $100 down special, it is possible to buy a HUD home for very little out of pocket money.
HUD also has the best selection of available foreclosures. In addition, HUD discounts it’s properties if a minimum bid hasn’t been reached within a certain amount of time. This time period is normally between 30-60 days.
I have personally seen many HUD foreclosures homes sold for well under market value.
Foreclosures offer deals that privately owned homes seldom do. Anyone can buy a foreclosed home as long as you can qualify financially by becoming preapproved for a loan, or showing that you have enough ready cash to cover the costs.
Foreclosures are often easier to purchase than a privately owned home. With a foreclosure you are not dealing with an emotional owner, and since there are set rules and time frames involved it is normally less complicated, and closes as fast or faster than with a privately owned home.
No reason to feel badly about buying a foreclosure. Although it is unfortunate that the previous home owner lost their home due to foreclosure, your buying the foreclosure not only benefits you, but many other people involved in the process. It also benefits the neighborhood schools, and the economy.
The many types of foreclosures include government foreclosures, bank owned foreclosures or REO’s, courthouse steps foreclosures, and pre foreclosures. Short sales although sometimes considered foreclosures. are dictated by a different set of circumstances and rules.
Foreclosure homes sale can be found on the MLS, or multiple listing service, and online on various real estate websites.
The best available foreclosures in my humble opinion are HUD foreclosures. HUD’s offer the best selection, the best information on each property, the best programs and specials, the best discounts, and the easiest processes for purchase.
So do some online research, get preapproved for a home loan, find a good buyer’s real estate agent that specializes in foreclosures, and see what foreclosure bargains are available in your area.