So You are Interested in Buying Distressed Properties

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

It isn't unusual for folks to contact me asking about buying distressed properties.  Periodically, I bring out and dust off a great article written by Elyse-Umlauf-Garneau for the California Association of Realtors.  It was written back in late 2007.  But, the points made are as true today as when first written.  It follows here:

Buying Distressed Properties

by: Elyse-Umlauf-Garneau
California Association of Realtors

Every cloud has a silver lining, and the rise in California home foreclosures is no exception.  That's if you're an investor hunting for good deals.

Investing in foreclosures is no low-risk venture.  You often need to act quickly, have ready cash to buy, and may need to earmark money for repairs to make properties sellable.

Here are some basics on buying distressed homes.

·        Identify properties:  Right now, choices are abundant.  One way to locate homes is to register with foreclosure information services such as or
Options to buy include:

·        Short sales:  When borrowers can't keep current with mortgage payments, some lenders agree to allow the sale of the property for less than the loan balance.  Frequently, you can find such deals through real estate professionals representing troubled homeowners.

·        Auctions: Auctions typically offer the best buys, but the risk to you is greater.  You must research liens against the property and decide on your maximum bid price.  You're also required to have cash on hand; remember, you're bidding on homes you haven't inspected and competition can be stiff.

·        REOs:  These are properties that have been taken back by banks.  You can contact banks' REO or asset management departments to locate properties.  Such homes are frequently listed in the multiple listing services, so REALTORS® can assist you with purchase.  Unlike at auctions, you'll be able to inspect properties and banks may have made repairs to a home.

Before You Leap

Take seminars, visit Web sites, and read books before investing.

Do proper research.  Check neighborhood comparable prices so you don't overpay.

You're inheriting previous owners' problems, so investigate other costs, such as liens and unpaid taxes that you could be responsible for.

Consult appropriate experts, such as lawyers, certified public accountants, and real estate professionals.  REALTORS® can often locate and execute short sales, find REOs, and help you evaluate market conditions.

--Elyse Umlauf-Garneau is a freelance real estate writer



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Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

Myrl - Excellent advice for the many out there poised to take advantage of these deals.


Feb 22, 2010 11:12 AM #1
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Myrl..That is very good advice an educated consumer


Feb 22, 2010 11:23 AM #2
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

Investor or buyer could learn from this advice.

Feb 22, 2010 02:05 PM #3
Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes


Buyers certainly do need lots of professional guidance when purchasing these type of properties. I am certain you can offer that level of expertise.

Feb 22, 2010 04:10 PM #4
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

Also make sure that you have some idea what the costs of fixup are and what the end game plan is.  I see too many bad deals where the costs will be too high to make the property a good turnaround sale or rental.

Feb 22, 2010 04:43 PM #5
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Myrl Jeffcoat

Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
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