Top Ten Things You Need to Know When Buying a Foreclosure
- Have financing in order. You must have your pre-approval letter from your mortgage broker or financial institution when contemplating buying a foreclosure. Your offer will not be considered without it. Also, the delay caused by not having it could cause you to lose the deal.
- Use a buyer agent that has experience dealing with foreclosures. Pick a good real estate agent that has experience buying foreclosures. An agent will be able to help you negotiate with the seller and provide you with invaluable information about neighborhood values and trends.
- Have a good contractor that can accurately estimate repairs. You should have a really good grasp on how much it will take to fix the home before you make a bid. The property might seem like a really good deal until you find out it will take $30,000 to fix.
- Use reputable inspectors when looking at condition of plumbing, foundation, roof, HVAC or any other mechanical system. Do not skimp on inspections. The small amount of money you pay inspectors could potentially save you thousands of dollars. You must know what you are buying.
- Do not be afraid to walk away. Be patient. Do not get in a hurry. There are plenty of deals available. Every property you look at will further strengthen your knowledge about condition and price in various neighborhoods.
- Determine how much of a project you can actually take on. Do not bite off more than you can chew. The real estate landscape is littered with people that got in trouble by paying too much for a property that needed too many repairs.
- Make sure the neighborhood is decent and not declining. The neighborhood is extremely important in the potential resale value of the home. It will not do you any good to purchase a home $20,000 under market if you cannot sell it down the road.
- Realize that what you are purchasing is in "AS IS" condition. The seller will do no repairs; once you close on the property any defects in the property are now owned by you.
- Do not waste your time or money purchasing foreclosure lists. A Realtor will have access to any foreclosure on the market. Your agent will be able to provide you with foreclosure information for any neighborhood in which you are interested. What the companies that sell you lists don't want you to know is that foreclosure information is public record. I cannot stress enough the importance of using a good agent that will represent you in the transaction.
- Keep an open mind. Sometimes the gems are hard to spot. Sometimes a property on the surface will look very bad. It may be extremely filthy and smell bad. Try to look beyond the initial impression. Always focus on what it would take to restore the property and-- the most important thing,--what will it cost?
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