Buying a foreclosure? You better check twice. . .

Real Estate Agent with Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.

No one likes to talk, think or deal with foreclosures - except buyers. Buyers seem to like the idea of a bargain. A home becomes a foreclosure property when a property owner goes 3 months or longer without making a payment to the lender. At this time, the lender is legally allowed to proceed with reclaiming the property, also known as the "foreclosure process." Not all lenders start the process immediately, but they are permitted to do so by law. Once the property is reclaimed by the bank/lender, it is technically considered to be a "foreclosure."  Yes, we even have foreclosures in Central Pennsylvania.

There are the top 3 things a buyer should know about buying a foreclosed home.

1. The owner is a bank, and while there is staff available to talk to (sometimes) you are not dealing wiht emotion - it is purely a business tranaction. You cannot tell a bank what to do, they will do what they want to do. Banks DO NOT care about your personally.

2. There will more paperwork that with a typical sale. Often they have their own contracts and procedures.

3. The bank will not complete a Seller Disclosure, they know nothing about the house and again don't care. The house is being sold "as is" and you can do inspections, but you can't negotiate repairs, they are your total responsibility OR you can back away. . .typically you can't negotiate.

So if you are looking for a foreclosure BEWARE and BE PREPARED!

Dauphin County Foreclosure Statistics 2012

Posted by


Joy Daniels, GRI, ABR, CSP, e-PRO
2793 Old Post Road, Suite 200
Harrisburg, PA  17110

(717) 695-3177  office - Call TODAY and let me help you find your dream home! - Email TODAY and let me help you find your dream home!

What is your home worth?  Find out at MLS Market Snapshot

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Robert L. Brown 07/24/2012 10:06 AM
ActiveRain Community
Pennsylvania Dauphin County
Mastering Buyer Agency
1st Time Buyers
Advice for Buyers
Short Sale Specialists & Pre-Foreclosure Education
central pennsylvania
avoid foreclosure

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Amanda and Jared Christiansen
Century 21 Bradley (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Century 21 Bradley Realtors

Great advice Joy.  It seems like so many people want to buy a foreclosure these days.  I always warn them about all of the extra stuff that comes with it.  Congrats on the feature.  

Jul 24, 2012 05:31 AM #8
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Melbourne, FL
Customer Focused, Results Driven Service!

So true. You listed two of the primary rules of foreclosures: (1) Banks do not care about the buyer or anything else. (2) No maintenance history on the property is available.

Jul 24, 2012 05:39 AM #9
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Haven - Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

Joy, so right! I hear buyers say things like, "Here is what we want the bank to do" or "We are going to lowball this foreclosure."

Right. That is planning for failure - we have a bargain shortage around here and banks know it! Banks don't listen and they don't care - it's all about the numbers, and that is all that matters in their world. They don't care about your timing, your school start dates, your job, etc. You had better hurry when they tell you to even though they made you wait for weeks (or months) or you are not going to get the house.

And you had better do your due diligence, lots of baggage and hidden work with these. Not for the faint of heart!!

Jul 24, 2012 05:49 AM #10
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Only recently have we started to work with two local small banks that have been giving us their "high end" REO's and thankfully we have not had to deal with much abuse.  We have been able to convince the bank to get "pre-inspections" so they know what to expect.  Because they are local banks they don't want to have the buyer bad mouth them after the sale.

Thanks Doug - I saw that John in San Fran also said he was familiar with REO's - glad to be in Central PA.  :)

That is what we are seeing too Richard. . . a little pain for a better deal.  Too bad real estate agents experience a little more pain too, but get nothing else out of it - except a satisfied client of course.  ;)

Thanks Gita!

I agree with you 100% Myrl.  I think that buyers should NOT get hooked up with thinking they are getting a huge bargain just because it's a foreclosure, there are other great homes out there that may be a better "deal" that aren't foreclosures or short sales.

Thank you Chrhistiansen Team! :)


Jul 24, 2012 05:52 AM #11
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Isn't it sad Gary that in this economy we are discussing "rules" for foreclosure homes?  Thanks for your feedback!


Not for the faint of heart!  Thta is so true Dawn.  I would have to say it's also true for the realtors that work with foreclosures too. 

Jul 24, 2012 06:02 AM #12
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

You know it used to be and rightfully so that a foreclosure meant bargain any way you looked at, it means beware

Jul 24, 2012 06:28 AM #13
Gene Mundt, Chicago-area Mortgage Lender -
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 37 yrs experience

Joy:  Until they've gone through the process, I believe many buyers considering foreclosure purchases simply do not comprehend the level of "don't care" or lack of emotion that they will encounter from the banks.  I liken it to a first-time mother not knowing what lies ahead in childbirth.  Until she's been through it, she just can't fathom the full experience either ...


Jul 24, 2012 08:17 AM #14
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

When I get calls from people looking for foreclosures I always say to them "if the owners didn't have enough money to pay their mortgage what makes you think they kept up with necessary maintenance"?

Jul 24, 2012 08:42 AM #15
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

You're right. Your first comment "1. The owner is a bank, and while there is staff available to talk to (sometimes) you are not dealing with emotion - it is purely a business transaction. You cannot tell a bank what to do, they will do what they want to do. Banks DO NOT care about you personally.

That is the most important factor in a foreclosure.

Jul 24, 2012 09:31 AM #16
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Michigan

I have repeated these facts to many a buyer of foreclosures. There is NO emotion in this deal whatsoever.

Jul 24, 2012 10:03 AM #17
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA
You are so right Ritchie, I hope buyers are properly informed before making any purchase decision. Unfortunately Gene, that's a good anology!
Jul 24, 2012 10:14 AM #18
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA
I like your analogy Gene, sounds like experience talking! Great point Chris, I am going to add this to my repertoire. I agree Jon. Home buying is such an emotional decision for buyers and such a non emotional one for the banks, it's hard for buyers to not feel threatened. Sounds like Robert has experienced this too!
Jul 24, 2012 10:39 AM #19
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Temecula, CA
serving Temecula Valley California (951) 491.4063

Joy, in our current market REOs and short sales are priced at market value. With the low inventory we have the really "good deals" of last year are gone.

Jul 24, 2012 03:10 PM #20
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA
Low inventory? Good for you! You must be in a much better part of CA than John and Doug. :)
Jul 24, 2012 04:56 PM #21
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Joy it is interesting how true your post is. I  have sold  quite a few foreclosures to buyers in the past three years and I only represented seasoned investors. They  understand that the Bank "knows nothing" and "buyer your own investigation" and if you did not do a good enough job, "the bank" is protected by an umbrella of Disclosures that they are not responsible for anything!

Jul 24, 2012 06:54 PM #22
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Those is a very crucial points to know in all of real estate - "buyer beware" - but especailly with REO's! 

Jul 26, 2012 06:11 PM #23
Teral McDowell
Murphy, TX

Joy, some really good advice to share with buyers; sometimes all they can conceive is a bargain and that isn't always the case.

Jul 26, 2012 07:15 PM #24
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

You are right Teral - that is why hopefully a buyer uses a good Buyer Agent to represent and guide them! :)

Jul 26, 2012 07:19 PM #25
Kim Burton
Prudential Bob Yost Homesale Services - New Oxford, PA

I do a lot of forclosures with my buyers and all of your points are accurate.  The hardest part is finding a forclosure for the average buyer that will pass an appraisers review, but can be great transactions when they do.  

Nov 17, 2012 09:46 AM #26
Rosie Moore
Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City - Sugar Land, TX

Very good post. I loved reading the comments your post generated. Thanks for highlighting important info that buyers needs to know (and agents who may not be familiar with REO's) when considering a foreclosure purchase.

Jul 01, 2013 03:23 PM #27
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