What You Need to Know About Buying an REO Property in 2020

IL real estate attorney, Illinois real estate lawyer, If you are trying to find a new home at a good price, you might have family and friends mentioning that you try to find a foreclosure property. In theory, this is not a bad idea. A home that is for sale because the current owner defaulted on his or her mortgage could sell for far below market value. In the wake of COVID-19, however, foreclosures have all but stopped, thanks largely to a moratorium put in place on foreclosures on federally insured mortgages. Private lenders have mostly followed suit, which means that there are probably not many foreclosure properties available. The good news is that you may have another option for finding a good value: a real estate owned home, more commonly known as an REO property.

What Is an REO Property?

When a home is foreclosed on due to default on the mortgage, the lender (or current holder of the mortgage loan) will eventually seize the home and attempt to sell it. This sale usually takes place at a public auction. In most cases, a foreclosure auction does not give participants the opportunity to see the property or inspect the home ahead of time. This means that bidders are effectively making offers on a property about which they know very little. Additionally, the highest bidder is usually required to pay cash for the property at the time of the auction. Financing is uncommon at foreclosure auctions.

With all of this in mind, some foreclosure auctions do not result in the sale of the home. If the property does not sell, it still belongs to the bank or lender. At this point, the home is considered real estate owned or REO.

Buying an REO Home

Once a property becomes REO, the bank will usually start to take steps to sell the home. After all, the lender already lost money on the defaulted mortgage, so there is a vested interest in making some of that money back. An REO transaction is handled in much the same way as a standard real estate deal. The bank may enlist the help of a real estate agent to get the home listed on the “normal” listings. Prospective buyers can see the home and have it inspected. They can also make regular offers and arrange financing instead of having to frantically outbid other buyers at the auction.

Most REO properties are sold “as is,” which means that any repairs that need to be done will usually be the buyer’s responsibility. The selling lender is unlikely to arrange for the repairs or to drop the price to account for them. Therefore, it is advisable to include a contingency clause with your offer that gives the option of canceling the deal if the inspection reveals that the repair bill will be more than you can handle.

Why an REO Property Might Work Now

As the Chicago region and the rest of the country slowly starts to open back up again amidst concerns regarding COVID-19, the real estate market has suddenly flooded with people looking to buy a new home. In fact, the influx of prospective buyers has, by most accounts, tilted the market pretty substantially in favor of those with homes to sell. It can be tough to buy a home in a “seller’s market,” as prices are often higher, and sellers are less willing to include extra considerations in the deal compared to sale in a “buyer’s market.”

While there are significantly fewer foreclosures in process right now, a seller’s market gives lenders the incentive to get their REO properties listed and up for sale. REO properties are still typically priced on the lower end of the price range for comparable listings, so you might be able to find a great deal even in a seller’s market.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Lawyer for Guidance

As things start to get back to some semblance of normal in the wake of COVID-19, lenders will be seeking to move REO homes as quickly as they can. While deals are out there, the process of buying an REO property can be complex. Contact an experienced DuPage County residential real estate attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC today.

 

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/realestateowned.asp

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2020/09/21/a-newfound-reality-buyers-currently-outnumber-sellers-in-housing-market/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/10/home-prices-reach-record-high/