Here is some information that might be helpful in buying an REO or Bank Foreclosed home.
Buying a foreclosed property can differ in many ways than other more standard transactions. All offers are contingent on financing and must be accompanied by a pre-approval letter. Some banks require a pre-approval letter from a certain lender, so be sure to read guidelines before submitting an offer. All cash offers require proof of funds with the letterhead of where the funds are being held and the buyers name listed. Actual account numbers can be blackened out, as long as buyers name is easily visible. Write your offer as seller chooses the title company as they have already started preliminary title work on these properties.
All offers must be written offers, on an As-Is contract only Some banks supply addendums in advance, and if that is the case it will be in the MLS as an attachment and should be signed and dated and submitted along with your offer. In most cases, however, the bank addendums are provided only after buyer and seller come to agreement. At that time, the bank will send their bank addendums/counter offer for buyer's signatures. Please note at this point, the bank has still not signed anything, and most likely will not sign until ALL forms have been signed by the buyer. Your offer is considered a pending contract until it is returned from the bank/seller with their final approval. In the interim, all offers that come in must be presented. When signing and initialing a bank addendum, do not alter it in any way or it will be rejected.
The usual time frame for a response to your offer is 3-5 business days, although sometimes a little sooner and occasionally a bit longer. Allow plenty of time for acceptance, and for closing the deal, 30-45 days in most cases.
If you are requesting seller concessions for buyers closing cots, pre-paids, or repairs, make sure those are requested in the written offer, as adding these things at a later date can be very difficult and most times impossible. If you are writing an offer for an FHA or VA purchase, please make sure the property will meet the standards for this type of financing. The majority of the time, repairs are not permitted prior to closing. Ask the lender if they allow the buyer to escrow their own funds for repairs.
Once you have a fully executed contract, time is of the essence. All inspections must be done in a timely manner according to the contract. Should the buyer not be accepting the conditions, written notice must be obtained prior to end of inspection period along with a signed cancellation and release form. Some banks will make earnest money non-refundable after the end of the inspection period. Read your addendums carefully.
Please note that bank owned properties closings are considered mail-aways, because the title companies that are used to close the transactions are usually located out of our general area. Some will send a mobile notary to the buyers agents office to close the transaction and then all documents are overnighted to the title company, but it is not considered officially closed until all original documents and funds are received.
A lot of foreclosures are going into multiple offer situations. Most buyers think that if they have the highest purchase price, they're going to get the property. Often this is not always the case. One of the big things they look at is the timeframe for the inspection. This is a contingency on the contract and the banks want it satisfied ASAP. Instead of the usual inspection period of 15 days, if you can do it in l0 days or less, the better. Another is the timeframe for closing. If paying cash they usually prefer the closing date to be no more than 2 weeks. A conventional loan can be 30 days and FHA 45. Just make sure you are prepared to close in the specified time or you could be charged $100 per day or more for each day beyond the original closing date. Also a larger deposit generally indicates a more serious buyer in their eyes.
Another point is to not go into another month. For instance, if you can close on the third week of the month itâ€™s usually preferred. They usually don't like to close in the last few days of the month because it might have to be extended into the next month. The banks like to close out their books each month and not have to extend. This is especially true if it is the end of the quarter. Lower offers have been accepted because the closing date was the third week in the month.
Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL