Why are isolated houses cheaper

Talkin go money

Before the 2008-2009 mortgage crisis, buying a foreclosed home was much more difficult. Real estate bargain hunters used to have to pursue auctions held at courthouses or research through tons of searches. But the wave of foreclosures unleashed by the subprime crisis has not only increased the number of properties available, but has also increased the search for and acquisition of it. In fact, the process is often similar to finding a different type of home. Completed homes are available in almost every real estate market across the country and offer opportunities for homeowners and investors alike.

How to find completed properties

Foreclosed properties can be found in magazines and multiple listing service (MLS) websites, online property searches, bank offices, and local newspapers. There are many websites that now specialize in finding real estate and properties that are in foreclosure, such as usa foreclosure. com and Fannie Maes HomePath. com. Some financial institutions like Bank of America also have sites to help you find a foreclosed home. In local multiple listing services, properties that are foreclosed cannot be highlighted per se. this can only be stated in the property description.

Lenders are increasingly selling their seized assets through real estate agents. So don't hesitate to ask a real estate agent about opportunities. Some real estate agents even specialize in foreclosures.

More specifically, the location of a foreclosed home depends on where exactly it is in the foreclosure process: real estate can still be held by the original homeowner (in the earlier stages, in the case of pre-litigation for sale and short sale properties) or an entity such as a bank or the government (in the later). Here are five types of foreclosure and approaches to buying.

1. Pre-foreclosures
A property is in pre-foreclosure after the mortgage lender advises borrowers that they are in default, but before the property is put up for sale. If a homeowner can sell the property during this time, he or she can avoid foreclosure proceedings and its negative effects on their credit history and future prospects (see Getting a Mortgage After Bankruptcy and Foreclosure). Some homeowners are therefore willing to negotiate. Pre-foreclosures are usually performed in court buildings by district and city courts. There are also many online resources including www. Isolation. com, list properties that are in the pre-foreclosure phase.

2. Short sales
Short sales occur when the lender is willing to accept less than a mortgage. Debtors do not necessarily have to be in default on mortgage payments for a lender to agree to a short sale; However, they usually need to demonstrate some type of financial hardship, such as losing a job that is likely to result in default, and often the residence is underwater meaning it is worth less than the outstanding mortgage balance. To qualify as a short sale, the lender must agree to "sell the property short" by accepting less than the amount owed and listing the home for sale. These properties are typically advertised as short sales "pending bank approvals".

Buying a short sale is in most cases the same as buying a traditional purchase, but the language in the contracts is different. Lender's Approval. It can take a bank several months to respond to a short sale offer, so the process can take significantly longer than a traditional purchase. Many real estate websites, including individual companies or listing services, offer the ability to search for short sales.

3. Sheriff Sale Auctions
A sheriff auction occurs after the lender notifies the borrower of the late payment and gives the borrower a grace period to complete mortgage payments. An auction is designed for the lender to be quickly repaid for the loan that is in default. These auctions often take place in a city's legal steps administered by local law enforcement agencies. The property will be auctioned to the highest bidder at a publicly announced place, date and time. These notices can be found in local newspapers and many online locations by doing a search for "sheriff auctions".

4. Bank real estate
Properties that are not auctioned will be returned to the bank. that is, they become real estate ownership (REO). They are often administered by a bank's REO department, which maintains a listing of the bank's own real estate. Online sources such as www. realtytrac. com have extensive listings that can be searched by city, state, or zip code.

5. Government property
Some homes are purchased with loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If these properties go into foreclosure, they will be repossessed by the government and sold by realtors who work for the government. A state-registered broker must be contacted to purchase state-owned property. Buyers can find such properties on www. hud. Click on "THEMED AREAS" and select "Houses for Sale".

Why locked houses are cheaper

The biggest selling point of foreclosed properties is, of course, their lower price - often significantly lower than other similar properties in the same area (known as benchmark, or comps, at the broker). Most foreclosures sell at least 5% below market value, with even bigger discounts in certain regions. Buyers can also take advantage of additional savings with perks like reduced down payments, lower interest rates, or the elimination of valuation fees and certain closing costs.

What makes it such a business? If the residence is in pre-foreclosure or short sale, its owners are financially tied - they need money. And time is not on their side: they have to unload the property and get what they can while they can so they don't lose it altogether. In short, these sellers aren't exactly bargaining from a position of strength. While it may be cruel to take advantage of the misfortune of others, buyers can benefit from it.

You can benefit even more if the property has actually been seized. The sheriff's office is not interested in hanging itself on a house; Banks don't want to be in the landlord business. Financial institutions usually want to get rid of foreclosed properties right away (at a reasonable price, of course - they have to reply to investors and accountants that they have made every attempt to get back as much of the original loan amount as possible). This also benefits buyers.

After all, foreclosed homes are usually sold "as is" - when there is damage, repairs aren't part of the equation - and, as used-car and vintage furniture connoisseurs know, "as-is" translates into a discount. Of course, "as-is" can be a double-edged sword, as we will discuss below.

Risks of Buying Foreclosed Homes

property Problems

While it carries a compensation discount, the "as is" condition can be pretty grim. Often times, when the home is still occupied by the owners, it is poorly maintained - after all, when people can't make the mortgage payments, they likely fall behind for regular maintenance too, not to mention major repairs. Additionally, some people who face or are forced to foreclosure are bitter, and take their frustrations on their house before the bank repossesses them. This often involves the removal of equipment and fixtures, and sometimes even vandalism.

If the property has already been repossessed, the situation could be even worse. Crime is a big problem with empty homes. Uncracked lawns and dilapidated roofs advertise to thieves that the space is empty. Many of these opportunists will rob the home of copper tubing, copper tubing, equipment, and fixtures. The free home can also become a magnet for drug deals, prostitution, and violent crime. Poor communities are particularly hard hit because they have fewer resources to improve compared to those living in more affluent areas. Even without the crime, homes that have slept for months or even years are likely to be exposed to the elements and therefore at significant risk of damage: mold, compromised water pipes, wood rot, termites - things that require significant effort. to fix, these bargain prices make them less of a bargain. Some financial institutions will perform basic maintenance on their REO properties, such as: B. wintering. Even so, they decline any responsibility for the current condition of the property and will not make any repairs prior to the sale. Of course, a home inspection report can reveal many potential problems, and a general contractor can provide repair estimates. Unfortunately, buyers at auctions often don't get a chance to inspect their properties before buying, which means you can find a number of nasty surprises in your home after signing up on the dotted line (see The Pitfalls of Buying for more information a foreclosure house.)

Hidden costs

In addition to unforeseen repairs and renovations, arrears such as taxes and liens are on them, either by the IRS or state or other creditors) can add additional costs to an otherwise desirable home. Whatever is owed, the government must first be paid and settled before the buying process can proceed. This applies above all to properties that are being auctioned; A bank always pays off the liens before reselling them to another party.

Bidders who are auctioned off must pay for their properties in cash when buying them: no financing is allowed. So make sure that buying your bargain house won't leave you cash-strapped.

Slow process

The foregoing complications often mean a lot of paperwork. Typically, foreclosures will have a number of additional documents to fill out in preparation for closing, which is not always that timely. If it is a short sale situation, the owner's lender has to approve the deal and, as mentioned earlier, this can take a while. Serious damage found in the home can result in a lower home valuation, which can affect the buyer's ability to secure a loan. Some lenders will not borrow below a certain dollar amount because the potential for profit on a lower loan is not worth the risk.

While you might think a bank would be happy to discharge a residential property, response times between the bank and other stakeholders can be sluggish even with REO properties. The length of time it takes to receive an answer to your bid can vary widely. If the bank holding your property is inundated with foreclosures, it can take the bank a lot longer to process your request. It is known that banks with significant backlogs can take up to 90 days to respond to an offer. If you are intending to finance the purchase, consider spending the time on a mortgage.


As with any market, demand will rise whenever it is possible to purchase something at a discount. Increased interest and competition - not just from potential inmates, but from investors and flip professionals - are inevitable when it comes to profitable foreclosures. Very often a foreclosed house can be attractively priced among the other houses in the area, but when word comes out numerous offers can come in quickly and a bidding war ensues. What was once an inexpensive home in a great neighborhood can quickly become an expensive property.

Potential foreclosed property buyers may be wise to bid on multiple properties at once, as it is possible for competing buyers to secure a property with a higher bid or a cash offer. But don't be discouraged if someone else trumps your listing for a particular property. Check back regularly to see if it reappears in the bank's inventory. Foreclosure offers tend to fail quite often.

Buying a foreclosed house

When buying from a bank, you need to improve your negotiating skills and start the process with a lowball offer on the property you want. Banks that have amassed significant holdings of foreclosed real estate will be more inclined to negotiate the price; The longer the bank has held the property, the more likely it will seriously consider lower offers, especially for properties that have been held for longer periods of time. Therefore, you should probably make your first bid at a price that is at least 20% below the current market price, or perhaps more if the property you are bidding on is in an area with a high incidence of foreclosures.

If you can pay cash for the property and necessary renovations, you are in an enviable position. This is why some buyers decide to team up with outside investors who can help them on the front end and share profits when the home goes back on the sales bloc. In fact, cash deals represent a sizeable portion of REO sales.

Financing options for completed properties

You can use a mortgage to buy REO property, although private lenders are more likely to be unscrupulous about financing foreclosures. However, two funding options are available: 203 (k) loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the HomeSteps program from Freddie Mac, a government sponsored company that buys back mortgages.

203 (k) credits

The FHA designed its 203 (k) mortgages to alleviate concerns from banks who would otherwise shy away from high-risk REOs. Purchases. By charging a mortgage insurance premium to borrowers, they are able to guarantee loans from private lenders participating in the program.

For the borrower, one of the great advantages is the ability to finance the home purchase and any repairs in a single mortgage. The simpler version, a slim 203 (k) credit, is for limited repairs that don't require engineering or architectural blueprints. Individuals can borrow up to $ 35,000 above the selling price of the home to cover basic supplies such as new appliances, siding, and windows.

For more extensive corrections, such as B. Building an addition or repairing structural damage, a conventional 203 (k) loan is usually the best option. Unlike the streamlined variant, homeowners must take out at least $ 5,000; the maximum amount is based on FHA limits for each county. Additionally, you will need to pay for an independent consultant to inspect the property and verify that the work is in line with program guidelines.

Another disadvantage of these loans is the price. In addition to paying for mortgage insurance, borrowers typically pay interest rates that are a quarter of a percentage point higher than traditional loans. You may also need to split a point or two, which are upfront fees that are each 1% of the face value.

Illustration 1. A comparison between traditional 203 (k) loans and the optimized version.

(Source: Bank of America website)


Freddie Mac provides liquidity to the mortgage market by buying loans from banks, pooling them and selling them as securities to investors. With HomeSteps, the organization offers special financing through its private loan partners for those who only want to purchase the foreclosed properties it owns.HomeSteps is currently only available in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

If you happen to live in one of these states, HomeSteps has significant advantages. The most important of these is that you don't have to buy mortgage insurance, which is what sets it apart from 203 (k) loans. That alone can save buyers hundreds, even thousands of dollars over the course of the mortgage. In addition, a HomeSteps mortgage does not require an estimate to be made, which can be a major hurdle for those seeking a traditional loan.

Buyers can find a list of single-family, condominium, and apartment buildings on the HomeSteps website.

The bottom line

On the surface, sealed off houses can appear very attractive. However, the cost can be extremely unpredictable and underlying damage could make a property undesirable. The buying process is often sluggish, which could make buyers pensive, while the heavy demand for tempting foreclosures could shake off some hopeful buyers.

With all of that said, foreclosed homes can be incredible businesses. Buyers have a unique opportunity to pay below market value for homes that are not available to them under normal circumstances. Having savings on the acquisition side improves the likelihood that the buyer will value their asset and a return on their investment if they sell in the future.

If done responsibly, buying a foreclosed home can allow a buyer to reap a host of benefits for years to come.