It is wise to be cautious when considering a foreclosure. Many experts, in fact, advise inexperienced buyers to hire an expert to take them through the process. It is important to have the house thoroughly inspected and to be sure that any liens, undisclosed mortgages or court judgements are cleared or at least disclosed.
The process has many disadvantages. There is no financing; you need cash and lots of it. The title needs to be checked before the purchase or the buyer could buy a seriously deficient title.The property’s condition is not well known and an interior inspection of the property may not be possible before the sale, says Wiedemer.
In addition, only estate (probate) and foreclosure sales are exempt from some states’ disclosure laws. In both cases, the law protects the seller (usually an heir or financial institution) who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it. Please check with your tax professional.
Nonjudicial foreclosure is the process of selling real property under a power of sale in a mortgage or deed of trust that is in default. In such a foreclosure, however, the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment, which makes some title insurance companies reluctant to issue a policy.
In a trustee sale, the lender who holds the first loan on the property starts the bidding at the amount of the loan being foreclosed. Successful bidders receive a trustee’s deed.
You can only purchase HUD-owned properties through a licensed real estate broker. HUD will pay the broker’s commission up to 6 percent of the sales price.
Down payments vary depending on whether the property is eligible for FHA insurance. If not, payments range from the conventional market’s 5 to 20 percent.
One caution. HUD homes are sold “as is,” meaning limited repairs have been made but no structural or mechanical warranties are implied.
With HUD foreclosures, down payments vary depending on whether the property is eligible for FHA insurance. If not, payments range from 5 to 20 percent. But when the property is FHA-insured, the down payment can go much lower.
Each offer must be accompanied by an “earnest money” deposit equal to 5 percent of the bid price, not to exceed $2,000 but not less than $500.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also offers foreclosure properties which can be purchased directly from the VA often well below market value and with a down payment amount as low as 2 percent for owner-occupants. Investors may be required to pay up to 10 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. This is because the VA guarantees home loans and often ends up owning the property if the veteran defaults.
If you are interested in purchasing a VA foreclosure, call 1-800-827-1000 to request a current listing. About 100 new properties are listed every two weeks.
You should be aware that foreclosure properties are sold “as is,” meaning limited repairs have been made but no structural or mechanical warranties are implied.
When a homeowner is late on three payments, the bank will record a notice of default against the property. When the owner fails to pay up, a trustee sale is held, and the property is sold to the highest bidder. The financial institution that has initiated foreclosure proceedings usually will set the bid price at the loan amount.
Despite these seemingly straightforward rules, buying foreclosures is not as easy as it may sound. Sophisticated investors use the technique so novices may find themselves among stiff competition.
* “The Smart Money Guide to Bargain Homes, How to Find and Buy Foreclosures,” James I. Wiedemer, Dearborn Financial Publishing, Chicago; 1994.
* “Real Estate Principles,” Charles O. Stapleton III, Thomas Moran and Martha R. Williams, Dearborn Financial Publishing, Chicago; 1994.
* “Real Estate Investing From A to Z,” William H. Pivar, Probus Publishing, Chicago, 1993.
You can only buy HUD-owned properties through a licensed real estate broker, whose commission will be paid by HUD.
Down payments vary depending on whether the property is eligible for FHA insurance. If not, payments range 5 to 20 percent. When the property is FHA-insured, the down payment can go much lower. Each accepted offer must be accompanied by an “earnest money” deposit equal to 5 percent of the bid price not to exceed $2,000, but not less than $500.
You should be aware that HUD homes are sold “as is,” meaning limited repairs have been made but no structural or mechanical warranties are implied.
In addition, there may be problems with the title, though that is something you can check out before the purchase.