REO stands for real estate owned. This term is used when referring to a home that has gone through the foreclosure process, failed to find a buyer at the auction, and is now owned by the bank.
One of the benefits of buying a bank-owned REO property is that investors can purchase the home free of title liens and other claims. Lenders generally expunge all second and third liens, as wells as delinquent taxes, HOA and mechanics’ liens. Another benefit of buying an REO property is that they are generally vacant. Investors can save a tremendous amount of time and energy because the eviction process has been taking care of by the bank.
Not all REO properties are available to the general public. Banks typically like to sell these properties to investors that buy million dollar portfolios of REO properties at one time. Scales of economies work in favor of both, the bank and the investor(s). Banks can move hundreds of properties at one time saving them time and money. The investors get a portfolio of homes at a substantial savings as opposed to buying them one at a time. Some of these portfolios start at as much as $5 million.
There are many opportunities for everyday investors to take advantage of these REO properties on a single home basis. Every city has realtors that work with the banks to list and sell their properties. Networking within your investor community can lead to these relationships. REO properties are great homes for investors to buy because they are generally paying below market for the home, and there is a lot of inventory and selection.
Financing REO properties is the same as any other investment property. Plan to contribute at least 10% or more toward the down payment. Do your due diligence to properly cash flow your investment; with this you will be able to weather any market volatility in the future.
Note from editor: For a directory of Banks offering REOs, visit our Bank REO homes page. Get involved in our REO discussion forum to discuss anything to do with these bank owned properties. Finally, if you’re interested, we also have a page with useful information about the foreclosure process.