What is the best strategy that could be used to buy a foreclosure home when you are 3,000 miles away?

Asked by Thais Doaz, Kissimmee, FL Tue Jul 19, 2011

I live in NYC and I want to buy a home in Port Charlotte, FL. Every time we see a property that we like, it gets sold in between us planning the trip to go down there. The purchase is 100% cash and I thought to bid from NYC but then if the home has a serious expensive problem? I need lots of help and suggestions please!

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Nancy Sarajew, , Sarasota County, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
I can help you . I use to live in Port Charlotte and I sell and list homes there still. Sarasota is not far from there. My husband Greg is also Realtor as well and we have helped many buy foreclosures from a distance. There is a way to write the contract to give you time for an inspection. Please feel free to call me so we can discuss this. Also we can preview the home and send you photo's and give you our expert opinion or maybe you have family around that can do this too. The reason why you may be losing your bids is you do have to act fast. First we will need proof of funds if you are a cash buyer or approval letter from a bank if you need a mortgage. This is needed when submitting a contract for all foreclosures . A bank will not look at your offer without that,. You have to give your best offer ! No fooling around with these because as you know they go fast. You need good communication with your Realtor so they can work hard for you...you need to stick with them if you like them! I have good communication skills and I will communicate with the listing Realtor if I have you as a buyer to see if the property you want has other offers coming in. This is important to base your bid. I hope this helps and feel free to get in touch with us.
1 vote
Shawn Ryan R…, Agent, Belleville, NJ
Thu Dec 8, 2011
you need a local realtor that you trust and can act on your behalf in order to get things done quickly.

note - should never buy a home that you havent inspected in person.
1 vote
Maripat & Bob…, , Sarasota, FL
Tue Jul 26, 2011
The way we solved the same problem is: I send my buyers (who visited before and saw properties with me and told me exactly what they want) the photography, virtual tour and property information for a property I feel confident meets their criteria, plus the comparable recent sales data so they can judge what to offer; I write up the offer with a contingency clause stating that the contract is contingent upon their personal inspection within x days of the Effective Date of the contract (in English: they have a certain number of days after all parties have signed and it is a binding contract, to fly down and see the property and if it does not meet with their approval, the contract is null and void and their deposit is returned to them).

This way, the buyers can get the property under contract, then come down and see it and either approve or disapprove of the property.

The key to satisfying sellers is to keep the time period for the buyers' personal inspection trip SHORT, since the property is under contract and off the market during that time.

Another tip is, if you have relatives or friends in the area whose opinions you trust, have your Realtor take them to see the property before writing up the offer, so that they can give you their advice as to whether you will like it or not.

Best of luck.
Maripat Flood, J.D.
Realtor, Attorney
Michael Saunders & Company
Serving the entire Gulf Coast from Manatee to Port Charlotte
Cell: 941-320-0441
1 vote
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Also if you are interested in buying a newer home you must be careful about chinese toxic drywall. The cost to fix that problem is $100k!
1 vote
Edyta Gryc, Agent, Naperville, IL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
1. If you have a friend or a family member in FL,-they may preview for you the property and give their recommendation.
2. If #1 does not apply to you, you should plan a visist in area of your interest. I would suggest to choose an agent that you can trust and rely on (as Danielle mentioned). Once he/she knows what type of property you like etc, they may preview the properties for you and give their recommendation as well-send additional photos etc.
It is difficult to buy when you are so far away, but it is not impossible. Good luck!
1 vote
Robert Rowe, Agent, ENGLEWOOD, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
I agree with Danielle. Good communication with a local agent who will stay on top of things. I have sold several foreclosures in Port Charlotte. If i can help, please call.
1 vote
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Hi, It's best to a have a local buyers agent helping you out.

Web Reference:  http://raveis.com/chrispagli
1 vote
Danielle Sha…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Find a buyer's agent you feel comfortable with - they should be able to provide you with extra photos, research and contacts for inspections/repairs. A large majority of my clients live out of state and many have purchased sight unseen this way.

If I can be of service don't hesitate to ask....we would love to earn your business.


O 239.541.5363
C 248.207.4445
Web Reference:  http://www.mysharphomes.com
1 vote
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Thu Dec 15, 2011
Hi Thais,

As you may have already experienced, Bank owned foreclosed homes generally get multiple offers above the asking price.

So, if you don't mind paying "full retail" prices (at the current 1/2 price of the top of the market) you may want to limit your options to regular, non-foreclosure, non pre-foreclosure short sales. There are very few of these properties that the seller still has equity to sell but at these discounted prices you should do well as a return on your investment if planning to rent it out for current income. Also we're finally seeing some hope that the foreclosure listings may diminish so you may not have more than 6 months to buy at these low priced.

Take a look, it's possible many of the Fannie & Freddie foreclosures will be rented out or a "rent to buy" may be offered:


All the best,
Alma Kee
0 votes
John Walin, Agent, Libertyville, IL
Thu Dec 15, 2011
Utilize the services of an exclusive buyers agency agreement. Not discussed so far is that FL is a presumed transactional brokerage state meaning that the agent you work with is not your advocate but fascilitating a transaction. Worst yet, no disclosure requirment in FL for an agent to say who they work for. THEY work for the transaction! That means no fiducuary care, client interests ahead of their own, as practiced under full agency representation. As an out of stater, only work with a buyers agent with a signed buyer agency agreement! Strangely enough, most agents work in offices where the agents are forbidden to sign a buyer agency agreement since there is a chancce you might buy an office listing listed with another agent in that same office.

Wife and I went down from Chicago last year to buy South Miami condo and I offered to sign a brokerage agreement with that agent i was referred to, and she said not necessary. I didnt realize until I came back that down there both agent sides of the transaction work as transactional agents that cannot provide advantage to one party over the other. When I buy real estate, I want an advantage! I don't want an even playing field! A transactional agent can arrange appointments and give you comps to makeup a price but cannot assist with pricing strategy counter offer strategy, how low should we go conversation. HUGE liability dodge Gov Bush passed into law that agents dont even have to discuss, disclose or have clients sign anything describing what they can and cannot do under the transactional brokerage model. The liability dodge is to not raise the level of representation to full fiducuary care so you cannot sue them for malpractice if you were to accuse them of not showing you a house you would have bought instead of the one you did, or the house is worth less than you were told to counter offer. Each side of the transaction is best represented by one agent, as a real estate deal is inherenetly adversarial. Its like using the same lawyer in a hostile divorce! That friendly FL agent by law cannot rise to the level of full agency representation without putting her brokerage/office at risk.
0 votes
Charlene Wes…, Agent, Valrico, FL
Wed Dec 14, 2011
Good Morning Thais.

I'm so glad to see that you have an abundance of advice and answers. When I work with my investors, the most important thing we start with is identifying the primary location(s) and potential properties that meet the criteria. This list should be established once you have determined when you will be here in person to visit. Then you can personally review the properties, eliminate the ones that you are not interested in and rank the ones you are. This will allow you to work with your Realtor, even after you return to NY on submitting offers at your price point and walking away from the ones that don't "fit" and moving through your list as needed til you find the match.

Yes it is possible to buy with contingencies for personal inspection within a time frame, but that is certainly not the optimal solution.

Step one is to find an experienced agent who specializes in the Port Charlotte area and investment properties...that is truly the KEY to your success in this process.

I wish you the best of luck.

Charlene Weston
The Weston Group
0 votes
Margaret Has…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Fri Jul 22, 2011
Could you possibly take 3 or 4 weeks vacation to spend looking at foreclosures? Then if you find one or two that you like, you can put in your offers before you leave and your Realtor can arrange for inspections, etc. after you return home. Closing can be done by mail. I think it's always best to see the property for yourself to know if it is a property you want. Depending on someone else to know what you want could cause problems.
0 votes
Caroline Choi, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Jul 22, 2011
I think you need someone representing your interests in Port Charlotte while you're in NYC. If you're losing out on properties in transit, you need someone in Port Charlotte who can act as your proxy to analyze, take pictures, research the property. Then if you feel secure, you can move forward with an offer. Whoever that person is, whether buyer's agent, employee, etc. -- make sure they're absolutely working in your best interest! Good luck.
0 votes
Robbie Sifrit, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Fri Jul 22, 2011
Good Afternoon Thais: Just checking with you to see if you got the information you needed in answer to your question. I em'd you the other day with some information. Hope it helped. Let me know how I can assist you.

Thanks - 941-661-4294
0 votes
John Giaccone, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Thu Jul 21, 2011
I deal with a lot of buyers who are out of state and buy foreclosures.
Here is my advice ….first of all make sure you have visited the state / area that you are interested in. It is in your best interest that you are familiar with the area and know where the house is exactly located so you don’t have any surprises when you actually see the home in person.
Secondly make sure you a great buyer’s agent …the agent should let you know what repairs are needed on the home and should take photos so you know the condition of the home.
The rest of the transaction can be done via the computer the home inspection, closing etc.
Hope this helps
John Giaccone
0 votes
Dp2, , Virginia
Wed Jul 20, 2011
I'm an investor who does deals in multiple markets, and I specialize in doing the kind of deal that you've described. You need to tweak the way that you're doing things, because what you're doing currently keeps leaving you on the short end. You need to build a team to help you find, analyze, inspect, and possibly repair the property that you plan to buy. Every issue that could arise has a solution. Your job is to make sure that you have someone on your team who can help you to address all of the issues.

Please feel free to drop me a line.
0 votes
Robbie Sifrit, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Wed Jul 20, 2011
Your situation is certainly not unique. We have great homes at great prices. We have lots of buyers competing for the same homes. It is a very comptetitive market especially concerning foreclosures. If the home is priced right, it is not on the market long. Many of the realtors who answered your question accurately advised you to find a buyer's agent you can work with. I suggest you start with the individuals who answered your inquiry. These are the realtors who are using the latest technology tools in their business and can respond quickly to your requests.

As I mentioned your situation is not unique. I deal almost exclusively with out-of-town buyers. When I first make contact with them, I find out what type of home they are wanting, their price range, time frame, financing, etc. Then I set them up in my VIP Buyer Program so they start receiving listings that match their criteria. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about our market here and determine what type of home you can get for your money. During this time, I am available to answer questions and provide information on specific listings. This process will save you time since you will not be wasting time searching through hundreds of listings on various websites. You will be previewing only those lisings that match your criteria. Also, many of the websites are not as up to date as our Multiple Listing System. I have had inquiries on properties that have sold months ago that are still showing active on various websites. So for up to date information, you need to establish a line of communication with a local Realtor who has access to the Multiple Listing System..

Nnext this I advise my buyer to plan a trip here for at least 2 or 3 days, so we can meet, drive around the area, look at some homes, etc. This gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the area, determine what neighborhoods or communities you prefer, and it gives me the opportunity to learn more about your wants and needs, and likes and dislikes.

When you go bach north, I will be your eyes and ears. I sold several homes over the past year to customers sight unseen becasue I knew exactly what they were looking for. I can provide you with a list of references so you can speak with some of my customers so they can tell you about their experience. If you are already familiar with our area, then you are one step ahead.

There are numerous other items that you need to know, but this email is long enough. I would be happy to discuss this further with you and assist you any way I can. My job is to be your information resource and provide you with all the objective and accurate information I can so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Hope to hear from you soon.
0 votes
Evelyn Good, , Florida
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Please read this post in my blog about buying in Central Florida Sight Unseen, here is the link.

Call me anytime if you have further questions.
Evelyn Good
0 votes
Kevin Clouti…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
Good afternoon,

By far, the most important step you should take is to select a buyer agent you feel completely comfortable with because that person is your eyes and ears.

Call me or e-mail me if you agree.


Chat soon

Web Reference:  http://Www.kevincloutier.com
0 votes
Randy and Vi…, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Tue Jul 19, 2011
First is to know what it is that you want in the property? How much work are you willing to do? How much are you willing to spend to fix if the house is a fixer upper (as many of the foreclosures are)? Become familiar with the area if you are not already, Port Charlotte and the surrounding Punta Gorda, Englewood and North Port areas have many neighborhoods. Work with a Agent who has experience in the Foreclosure/REO/Bank Owned Properties.

Once you have all these set and you find a property, do not DILLY DALLY. Make sure that your agent already has all of your information,is the property to be an investment or owner occupied?how you want title?proof of funds,etc.
1)Be willing and able to wire the earnest money the same day to the agents brokers account.
2)Be able to get the signed purchase agreement forms back to the agent same day.
3)Be able to visit the property in person within the inspection period - usually 7 days on bank owned, they seldom give you 10 days from the effective date.
4)Be willing pay and to have a home inspection,termite inspection,survey, etc... within the same inspection period, to catch problems that may not be aparent.

After the home has passed your inspections and has your approval the closings can normally go pretty smoothly,cash deals can close in 30 days,and the closing can take place where every you would like if you are out of state (which is the case many times)

I hope I have helped, if you need further help fell free to email me directly. Good Luck!
0 votes
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