$1 may seem like a deal - until you realize it may be a major liability.
The best real estate investment is a LOCAL investment. One that you know - can visit - can keep an eye on - and a neighborhood that you have good instincts for.
PLEASE - heed.....
The houses are not move-in ready and will require an investment to make the necessary repairs to bring them up to code.
For the experienced investor with the resources to pull it off I'm sure there is money to be made, but it's far from a no-brainer.
It's great that you're looking into real estate investing but you do need to check things out a bit more.
HUD is one source -they sell $1 homes to municipalities or to qualified non-profits under certain conditions. Private citizens are not eligible. I'm not aware of any other $1 homes except on occassion when someone wants to sell you the home only and wants you to move it off their lot.
I would suggest looking at HUD REOs for decent homes at a decent price.
High expectations for $1 homes, short sales and other "bargain" homes are unrealistic. Take the advice of Don and Gerard.
Let me know if I can help. I can finance nonresident non-US nationals.
Eagle Nationwide Mortgage, Thomas.Stevens@ENMCdirect.com
There have been a few instances in which cities have taken condemned or abandoned buildings, then sold them for $1. Usually, though, there are lots of strings attached: The owner has to fix the property up to code, the owner must be an owner-occupant, the owner can't sell the property for 5 years . . . stuff like that. That happened in the Logan Circle of Washington, D.C. maybe 30 years ago (when I was living there), and I know it's happened in other places.
There are ways to buy properties cheaply. You can get shells in Baltimore (and probably other cities) for $15,000-$20,000. You can get cheap single-family homes in some rural areas (example: Spartanburg, South Carolina) for $30,000 or so. You can get nice manufactured homes for $15,000 (2 bed/1 bath) or $40,000 (3 bed/2 bath) in some decent areas, such as Chantilly, Virginia. You can get some homes in questionable condition in some depressed urban areas (Detroit, for instance) for maybe $20,000. You can pursue tax auctions and perhaps pick up some properties inexpensively.
But there are always catches. I mentioned the catches with the $1 homes I knew about. Shells in Baltimore? They'll cost $50,000-$70,000 to rehab. Manufactured homes? There's also ground rent, ranging from $200 or so up to over $800 a month. Depressed urban areas? Rehab costs, maintenance, and finding tenants . . . as well as possibly owning a depreciating asset.
Many are still very good investments so long as you understand what you're getting into.
Hope that helps.