Lake San Marcos~Buying Foreclosures at the Auction Vs. Buying Bank Owned REO Homes for Sale.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Four Seasons Properties

Lake San Marcos~Buying Foreclosures at the Auction Vs. Buying Bank Owned REO Homes for Sale.   Which is the better deal?  The answer usually lies in what is best for your situation...  Below is some information to help you determine whats right for you...


When we look at the current Real Estate environment it can be overwhelming with all the headlines in the news.  Everyone has a different opinion of where the good deals are and how to find them or where the economy or housing market is headed.

We have clients call us all the time wanting to buy foreclosures, short sales, or REO's because they think the thought of them automatically sound like a good buy!    However, is this true?   Lets first have an understanding of what they are and the differences of each.

Foreclosures and Short Sales can be great buys if you know how to find them and how the process of buying them works.

Short Sales: Are properties that are in default, meaning the current owner is at least 3 months behind on their mortgage or more.   Short sale's require the lender approve the sale if the amount the property is selling for is less than what is owed.   I recommend these to our clients when it is a property that they absolutely love and are willing to wait on.   Many times it can take 3 to 6 months to get the lender to approve a short sale, and even though its under contract between the buyer and the current seller, the lender can still say no in the end!   If its a property that the buyer isn't that crazy about, they are probably not worth the time and effort.   However, sometimes waiting and being patient, can not only get you a great deal, but a great home that you love all in one.   To learn more about short sales and to search all available short sales in Lake San Marcos click here.

Foreclosures scheduled for Auction:  We actually attend the Foreclosure auctions on a weekly basis.  They are either held downtown San Diego on the courthouse steps or in El Cajon.  These properties are ones that the lender was not able to work out a viable solution for the current homeowner by either refinancing them, modifying their loan, or facilitating a short sale.   In this case, they take them to the foreclosure auction to offer them up for sale to 3rd party investors.   There can be a lot of great deals to be had at these sales if you really do your homework and are diligent in your efforts.    Some important things to note about these sales:

  • You have to pay cash on the spot if you are the winning bidder (Via Certified Cashiers Check)
  • You can't buy Title Insurance, which protects you against any unknown or past liens
  • The properties are sold in completely "as is" condition
  • Many times the properties are still occupied by the current owners or tenant and it is up to the new buyer to handle the eviction process at this point
  • Many times if the property is occupied before the foreclosure auction it is impossible to inspect these properties up front

These items listed above could really come back to haunt you if you don't thoroughly do your homework, however they also many times allow for great opportunities.   To learn more about upcoming foreclosure auctions, and to track upcoming foreclosures in Lake San Marcos and other San Diego County cities click here.

Bank Owned REO Homes for Sale:  This is an area in the current market place that I think can have tremendous opportunities for buyers.   These properties have gone through the foreclosure process and are now owned by the bank alone.   The banks traditionally don't like to own these homes because it ties up money that they could be using to lend.   Usually offers on bank owned homes for sale are responded to quickly and you don't have the time of waiting around for months to hear back like you do with short sales.   Here are some important bullet points about Bank Owned REO Homes for Sale:

  • In most cases you can use traditional financing on these properties just like you would with buying a Resale or New Home.
  • You can also inspect the property thoroughly up front and have appraisals, termite inspections, home inspections, etc, performed in advance before closing.
  • You can buy title insurance.  Unlike with foreclosure auctions, Bank owned homes for sale allow you to protect yourself and buy the property with clean title.
  • The last owner or tenants have already been evicted and the properties are vacant.
  • The banks are motivated to sell.

I believe that in many cases bank owned REO Homes for Sale are just as good of a deal as Short Sales or Foreclosure Auctions.   It still comes back to your personal situation and your risk tolerance for what is right for you.   If you are looking at this as an investment, but its also a home that you and your family are going to live in, than I would suggest a bank owned REO home, a Resale home, or potentially even a short sale.   If you are a saavy investor, you don't plan on living in the home, and you have a higher risk tolerance, than maybe buying at the Foreclosure Auction is the solution for you.   Either way, we can help you make that decision easier for you.    To learn more about Bank Owned REO Homes for Sale and actually search available bank Owned Homes in Lake San Marcos and other San Diego County Cities click here!

We have put together a fully integrated Real Estate website which will allow you to search all of these properties that we have talked about above, all in one place.   You can search properties throughout the entire San Diego County MLS, save properties, request showings, print fliers, track foreclosures, etc, all for free.   All we ask in return is the opportunitiy to be of service to you or someone you know in helping them find their next home.   Give us a call or visit us here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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