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Joel Kahn's Blog

By Joel Kahn | Agent in Westerville, OH

HOW TO: Buy a Foreclosure

If you’re thinking about buying a foreclosure, you have to remember that the process, risks, and benefits are somewhat different from buying a non-foreclosure. An article from CNN explains  some things you need to think about before buying, which includes the pros and cons of buying a foreclosure.

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First, what type of foreclosure do you want? You can decide between a Pre-foreclosure, a Sheriff’s Auction, or a Repossession (REO).

A foreclosure occurs when the owner of a home is unable to meet the mortgage payments, and owes more on the home than what the home is actually worth.

A pre-foreclosure is in the foreclosure process, but it hasn’t been sent to auction. Buying a foreclosure at this stage may be slower and more expensive than buying a foreclosure at a later stage.

At a sheriff's auction foreclosures are at their lowest prices, but are also usually require a lot of updates and repairs, which can get expensive. If you are not in the market for a fixer-upper, it may be best to pass on these homes.

A repossession occurs if the home goes through a sheriff's auction unsuccessfully and the bank gains possession of the property. Banks will typically make repairs to correct healthy and safety violations in the home (if necessary). Also, this is the stage at which a homebuyer has the best opportunity to get a home inspection before buying.

When buying a foreclosure,

  • Research the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for the prices of comparable foreclosure homes in your area-this will give you a good idea of what you should be paying for the home

  • Be sure that you aren’t caught up in the excitement of bidding, and overpay for the home

  • Get a home inspection before buying (if at all possible)

  • Take into account the cost of repairs for the home before you buy

  • Don’t buy a foreclosure in a neighborhood/area that is full of other foreclosures if you are planning on moving in less than 5 years; you will probably end up losing money on the house when you try to sell

  • Get a pre-approved mortgage/ get pre-approved for a home loan

Talk to a real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures to find foreclosures near you, and how to buy one.

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