how can I buy a foreclosed home?

Asked by Richard, Santa Monica, CA Thu Jan 10, 2013

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Julie Barnett’s answer
Julie Barnett, Agent, Lebanon, IN
Fri Jan 11, 2013
Richard, there are lots of websites out there that you can search for 'distressed' properties. Some are good and some not-so-good. You should never have to pay for the listings, because the sites that list the HUD, VA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are free, and the listings of all the foreclosure sites will almost always show up on the multiple-listing service, too.

If you go to, you can actually see homes from several other government agencies that may have real estate for whatever reason. Just click on "Buy a Home," then go down the list until you get to "Homes for Sale" and it will take you to a list of different agency websites to search for properties. Bank-owned, short sale homes will show up on the multple-listing service, too. You need to drill-down your search and put a filter for 'disclosures' or something to that effect. You could also contact a realtor and ask them to send you searches for disclosure-only properties. Your realtor can set up a search that will notify you whenever there is a new listing, change in status of a listing, or new photos added to a property. It's a good idea to use these searches because you can react to the listing immediately - which is sometimes necessary depending on the demand in your market for the foreclosure homes. Usually there is a pretty big demand for those types of homes, so you need to act quickly and know what you are looking for. Your realtor can help you with that, also, as long as you get a realtor who will work with you as a team member. There are a lot of good realtors out there.
1 vote
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Nov 15, 2013
Dear Richard,
Yes there are some foreclosures and short sales out there. You do need cash to compete with the other buyers out there.
0 votes
lendersnetwo…, Agent, Plano, TX
Tue Nov 12, 2013
You need an experienced agent familiar with the Venice/Santa Monica area, I work with some of the best agents in the country. Email me or go to the link on our site for an agent referral
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Jan 11, 2013
First, there are two types of foreclosures: those that are listed on the MLS as REO properties, and those being auctioned on the courthouse steps.

Buying an REO is relatively the same as a normal purchase, although you will get less disclosures and likely have to do some work.

At auction you will need all cash, be bidding against veterans, not be able to do inspections, and potentially have title issues. These are not for the faint of heart or wallet.
0 votes
OK, thank you. Good to know about the Auction.
Flag Sat Jan 12, 2013
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Jan 11, 2013
Richard my take have Cash, strong market knowledge and be prepared to offer 12 day minimal investigation period offers and be prepared to miss out on at least 3-5 offers!
If you would like representation by an agent who has sold many REO's in the past few years, please reach out to me!

Endre Barath,Jr.
Prudential California Realty
Beverly Hills, CA

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0 votes
Joseph Finne…, Agent, Bethlehem, PA
Fri Jan 11, 2013
Hi Richard,

Foreclosed homes are listed by real estate firms the same as regular resale homes and you can view them for sale on all of the typical websites that you look at for non-foreclosed homes for sale. You purchase a foreclosure the same as buying a regular home with respect to getting a mortgage..etc.

The main difference is that typically they are sold as-is. So, if you purchase a foreclosure, you can still get the inspections done (property, termite...etc) but it is usually a take or leave it situation.

One drawback with foreclosures is that many of them need repairs in order to make the home habitable. If a repair is required to get the mortgage, you may have to purchase the home using an FHA 203k renovation loan.

A major drawback with foreclosures is that typically all of the utilities are turned off. It may be up to you, the buyer, to get them turned on for the property inspections. This is a hassle and may cost you money but a good agent can help you with all of this.

I hope this is of some help.


Joe Finnerty
Prudential Patt White Real Estate
Lehigh Valley, PA
0 votes
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