Foreclosure in Portland>Question Details

Eric Wu, Home Buyer in Russian Hill, San Fr...

What is the best way to purchase a foreclosure in Portland?

Asked by Eric Wu, Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA Mon Feb 6, 2012

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Linda Heinrichs’ answer
Hi Eric, Do you live in San Francisco or are you relocating to the Pdx area? Is the home an investment property that you will rent/flip or is it a home you want to live in? Are you a cash buyer or financing? Are you using the term foreclosure to represent Foreclosed property which is owned by the bank or investor or a Short Sale, which is still owned by the seller, but distressed?

These and many other questions are what determine the best avenue for you to purchase a distressed property and the bottom line is to align yourself with a Buyers Agent that knows the market, you can trust and will work hard for you because at the end of the day getting a great house at a great value is the way to go. This is even more critical if you are an investor out of the area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
I am not in Portland or I would love to help you. There are a lot of great agents here or you could contact reoprep if your targeting foreclosures. They will assign you a local foreclosure agent in your area at that point. Its a pretty good buyer program.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 13, 2012
Hi Eric

Marvin is right. If you want answers to your question you need to elaborate more. After being a Mortgage Broker in Portland Oregon for over 20 years, I can tell you that if you want precise answers you need to ask precise questions. We wait your questions and are here to help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 13, 2012
Eric, I noticed that you have also asked the same question about other cities on the east coast. Are you considering those locations as a place to live or just buying in general? Im concentrating on a particular area of real estate brokerage at this time and not taking clients so Im not giving answers just to try for your business. I will be happy to answer your questions, as Ive been in this profession for 32 years. All of us need for you to elaborate to be able to give good advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Thumbs up for Linda---I dont think anyone thought to ask the reason for a possible purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
The best way is with a good agent by your side! You do have plenty of great answers here but of course I must chime in. Having all of your ducks in a row in terms of your own financing, down payment etc. is a great place to start. Then finding a buyer's agent to represent you is next. When a great foreclosure deal pops up in Portland, it will sell quickly so being ready to jump when that happens is very important.

Check out my website at, I have lots of blog posts on foreclosures including tips to make sure you get the home you want. Also, let me know if you want me to send you a list of current foreclosures on the market in the Portland area and I would be happy to do that.

~Betsy Ballantyne
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Eric, the market for bank owned properties is hot right now under $175,000. Homes that are selling for 40-50% off sold prices in 2006-7. Investors are seeing this as a great rental and stepping up since the vacancy rates are about 3% or less. The banks in many cases bought the house back on the court house steps for $50,000 more than what they list it for and you can be assured that there will be no hidden liens on the property. I can supply you with bank owned listed daily of new listings once you decide how much you want to spend and where and what is your objective? Good Luck to you.
Tom Inglesby
Broker, RE/MAX Equity Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Hi, Eric:

You have a lot of answers to go through. In my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to pay attention to is finding the BEST DEAL! No matter If it is a foreclosed home, a short sale, a regular sale. You need to find an agent who is the best at negotiation. This is the key ingredient in getting the best deal in this market.
Always follow the money!!!!
When you are ready, would love to help you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Hi Eric,
All the agent's answers have great information on purchasing a foreclosure. I am the foreclosure listing agent for Freddie Mac homes in the Portland area. I can tell you there are basically three processes for foreclosed homes, at the "courthouse steps", "online bidding", and "publically listed" through an agent on the multiple listing service. Few sell at the courthouse because the mortgage holder places a minimum bid for what is owed them on the property. This price is usually higher than the current market value given the condition of the home so the bank ends up with the property. After this process the bank lists the property with an agent or online auction company. Either way, it ends up listed with an authorized listing agent and they (or an experienced buyer's agent of your choice) are your best source for help for selecting the right home.

Have fun with your search and let me know if I can help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Stephen, from where do those numbers come? I mean the top 10% thing. Isnt that your own figure based on your study and comparison of your yearly income vs available income data (which could be incomplete or inaccurate) on other real estate agents? Ive been curious about that and the number of designations listed on your site.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Very complicated to just throw an answer out. It depends on where the house is in the foreclosure process.

The very best way period is to use all cash and negotiate with an owner who is within the curable period in the process. If you mean a property thats already been through the FC process and is owned by a lender, thats also depends on how and when you contact the lender. Not all REO (Real Estate Owned) properties are listed with real estate companies---at least not right off the bat. Contacting smaller lenders and credit unions or going through the court house records to track private foreclosures can get you a leg up on the buying competition. County tax foreclosures are another avenue.

Trying to bid on the courthouse steps can be very trying. Professional bidders play games. Emotions can run prices up. And---you may be buying a total junker without knowing what you are getting, or have other liens on the property that no one knew about or that YOU didnt know about. I used to go to auctions in San Jose, representing a group of investors. It was a jungle atmosphere and fraught with potential traps and problems. In your state (Im an ex Santa Cruzan) buying foreclosures is so tricky and dangerous that its almost not worth the effort.

Then you have JUDICIAL foreclosure actions where there is no auction. The judge awards the property to the lender and then its listed or auctioned.
If we stick to vanilla lender owned foreclosures and you dont have cash, as others have said you need to be qualified and have all your ducks in a row for financing. Usually the homes been inspected for the most part nd you know what you are buying.

Watch out for all the internet sites trying to sell lists of properties in default, etc. They all get it from the public records or even may be forwarding info that they got from another company just like theirs. Scams abound. Everyone has their hands out in one way or another.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
First a question for you. Why do you want to purchase a foreclosure? Most foreclosures sell for fairly close to market value. I am in escrow right now on a foreclosure with a full price offer of $150,000. I got a CMA of $163,000, but have not yet seen an actual appraisal. If my number is right, the home was bought for an 8% discount from market.

I'm not sneezing at $13,000 or an 8% discount, but if, like many people, you think you're going to buy at 50% you're going to be sadly disappointed. Most REO's sell at about 5% below "market", but the hard part of that number is that you almost never know the condition so it's harder to know the "market price". (My escrow is in pretty good shape except that the AC compressor is missing. So see if you add $4-5,000 to replace that, you're back to my 5% difference).

See my blog post at for a little more information on the foreclosure process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
He may if it's a HUD $1 home.
Flag Wed May 2, 2012
Of course, get an agent experienced with foreclosures. I am certified Foreclosure agent, CFA and am Top 10% in sales in the U.S. I also send out bi-weekly foreclosures lists on my website (see below link).

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Hi Eric,

If you are going to be financing the purchase, the first step is to talk to a mortgage professional. Next, make sure you protect yourself by connecting with a realtor you can trust. A realtor can help you find suitable properties and look after your best interests during the process. The process for purchasing a bank owned home is similar to a privately owed home. However, things like the condition of the home, lack of disclosure and the initial & inspection negotiations may require more guidance. Short sales are also an option but have additional complications that you'll want to be aware of before you consider this type of purchase.

Always happy to discuss in more detail.

Best of luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
If it has been foreclosed already it may be in the hands of an agent and then any agent you want to work with can help you with it. If it is a property GOING to foreclosure, such as on the steps of the courthouse, you will want to make sure you get a title company to send you a report so that you know what else is against the property before going to bid on that piece. If that is the case, you will need to show up for the bid to see if you win the property. From that point forward any and all problems with the property become yours. There is no one to fall back on for any probems, repairs and/or items still owed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Dear Eric,
If a home doesn't sell at the county court house after foreclosure, then the home will be listed with a Realtor. If You don't have the cash to purchase a home, then you must get preapproved with a mortgage broker, before looking at bank owned (FORECLOSED) property, because they sell very quickly. Sign-up with a SFR, or REO pro agent, like myself, to look out for your best interests, and put in a good offer. The bank owned properties are priced very competitively (65%-80% of their actual market value). -Jewel Stockli, SFR, REO pro, Prudential NW Properties 503-936-2432
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
sorry Eric,
somehow my answer was
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
Hello Eric

Make sure your preapproved first with a loan officer. Then connect with a real estate agent. We can help you with your search for a foreclosure and help you through the buying process. We can search specifically for foreclosures too so it helps eliminate the leg work for you! I hope that helps!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
purchasing a foreclosed or
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 6, 2012
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