Pre-Foreclosure (Notice of Default or Lis Pendens):
Pre-foreclosure (NOD or LIS) is the first stage in the foreclosure process that begins when a homeowner receives a default notice for missing one or more mortgage payments. Owners in default can stop the foreclosure process by paying the past-due payments or by paying off the entire loan balance — usually by refinancing or by selling the property. They can also avoid foreclosure by selling before the auction — this may have to be a short sale if the homeowner owes more than the property is worth. Homeowners in pre-foreclosure are usually motivated sellers who want to avoid losing their property at a public foreclosure auction.
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Auction (Notice of Trustee Sale or Notice of Foreclosure Sale):
A public foreclosure auction (NTS, NFS) occurs when a homeowner in default does not stop foreclosure proceedings during the pre-foreclosure period. Properties are typically auctioned off in a public location — such as a local county courthouse — by an attorney or local public official. Auctions can present opportunities to buy properties below market value, but usually don't allow for property inspections and often require that buyers pay in cash — typically in the form of cashiers checks. Up until the auction occurs, however, buyers may still have an opportunity to buy directly from the homeowner in default via short sale or regular sale.
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Bank Owned (REO):
A property becomes a full-fledged foreclosure — sometimes referred to as a Real Estate Owned (REO) property — when it is repossessed by the foreclosing lender. The lender can take possession either through a deed-in-lieu-of foreclosure agreement with the owner during the pre-foreclosure period or through a winning bid at the public foreclosure auction. Foreclosing lenders are often motivated to sell these properties quickly because they are non-performing assets for their bottom line. Of the three stages of foreclosure, REOs are most likely to also be listed for sale with a real estate agent on the MLS, but not all REOs are listed yet — meaning buyers may have to contact the lender or servicer directly to make an offer.
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