Hello BP my wife and are looking to buy a foreclosure for our first house. I wanted know how to get a good deal.
Most foreclosed properties that are owned by banks (aka REO or real estate owned properties) are listed on the MLS. If your market is competitive it can take a lot of work to buy one. You'll need to look at a lot of houses and make a lot of offers. You need to not be picky, which can conflict with your needs and desires when buying a residence (vs. an investment.) You need to have good financing. A low down FHA loan is not going to work for buying a REO property. Cash is best. A conventional loan is acceptable, but be sure your lender is aware you're buying a REO. These are often in poor condition and the seller will usually not do any repairs. If your lender starts insisting on repairs before closing, you're going to lose the deal.
These houses are not move in ready. So you'll need to plan for doing some amount of fix up and clean up after you buy but before you move in. So you'll be renting for a while during this fix up phase. Further, closings are often delayed. So, its tough to make specific plans on when you'll be able to get in.
The two other points in the foreclosure process are before the auction, and at the auction. IDK exactly the process in FL for foreclosure auctions (aka sheriff sales). Here's in CO its cash on the barrel head. Before the auction, you're either sending letters, making calls or knocking on doors of people who are in the middle of the process and trying to get them to sell. Some of these are listed on the MLS, too, but many are not. Some of these will be short sales where the lender is going to have to accept less than they're owned. These are tough to buy, too. If you're the one negotiating with the lender, you have to work through their process and deal with the paperwork they want. Sometimes someone else has already done this or is working on it with the house listed on the MLS. These can be tough to get closed. You get an offer accepted by the seller first. Normally, that's all you need to have a deal. But with a short sale, then lender then has to approve it. That's what matters. That can take a long time and may never happen. Been there, done that.
Honestly I think buying foreclosures is a tough route for buying a residence. Its OK for buying investments because investors aren't picky about exactly what they buy and they don't have to stick to firm timelines. Its not a killer to have closing delayed for weeks or months and to need to spend weeks or months fixing up the property after closing.
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