I decided to cut and paste one of my January answers...same fundamentals, different submarket.
Just because lots of houses are in pre-foreclosure, just because lots of houses are in short sale status with written mortgagee approval (or not), or just because lots of houses already are in REO foreclosure deed status with clear title and ready sellers ... just because we have a high inventory "foreclosure market" ... that doesn't mean that any and all Buyers should even consider buying a foreclosure.
Des - this is food for thought for you and any other potential Georgia buyer. Did you know that the new Georgia Purchase and Sale Agreement says that "at closing, Buyer agrees to pay Seller the purchase price of the property in cash, cashier's check, certified check or wire transfer of IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE funds?" Did you know that in Georgia in 2008, unless you stipulate otherwise, Sellers only work with Buyers who can buy under the terms I just stated?
That means, line up the financing first. Be 100% sure about your financial status before you pursue any purchase. That means, the bank that is financing may not want to fund a distressed property - find that out up front. That means, have funding for the due diligence period - $1000 to $2000 - ready to go at Binding Agreement. That means have a right to terminate. That means, pay for every inspection that matters. That means, know your lender and your loan before you write up any paper.
Furthermore, the Buyer's funding lender would like to see some skin in the game from the Buyer - a downpayment. The Seller would like to see substantial Earnest Money - if the Buyer defaults, the Buyer should suffer.
We've said it here before at Trulia Voices - there are some hidden gems amongst Georgia's distressed properties, and the other answers here are 100% great advice. Caveat emptor.
If you have some cash and want to invest in a distressed property then you are a better buyer for that type of property. If you are seeking 100% financing, then you should probably look for more move in ready, fully disclosed properties and seek a win /win with a motivated Georgia seller. We have a lot of these available, in Kirkwood and in greater Decatur.
Take a serious look at you investing criteria, like school district strength and exact house type, and get your real estate on.
If you are buying a foreclosure, start with getting the money first!