With more homes being foreclosed on than ever before in history, savvy buyers are picking up homes are in great condition and are priced below the market. With a little patience and some preparation, homeownership could be a lot closer than you think – and a lot cheaper, too.
1. Be Ready – Know Your Marketplace. Most foreclosures sell in 3 days or less so spend some time with your Realtor getting to know your target area. If you know the comps before a foreclosure hits the area, you will be prepared to act quickly and trump any other competitive buyers. Have a pre-approval ready and waiting to roll so there is no hesitation. If you wait, you might lose the deal before it even gets off the ground.
2. Get Out Your Elbow Grease – It is totally possible to buy foreclosures that are in mint condition but they usually fetch higher prices than their “handyman special” neighbors. If you want the bargain basement top-notch deal on a property, be ready to get your hands dirty!
3. Know Your House Inside and Out – The whole idea behind buying a foreclosure is to save money, right? Then spend a little extra up front – on the home inspection. Banks make no representations (or guarantees) about the properties they sell and they are not liable for repairs after closing. Get the best inspector you can afford and look for things that might be costly trouble down the road. To save money, do your due diligence.
4. Be Prepared To Pay Close to Full Asking Price – In some of the hotter foreclosure markets (Florida, for example) banks are not willing to negotiate much on great houses. They price them at 60%-80% of fair market value up front in order to sell quickly and, if you waste time nickel-and-diming the bank, someone else is likely to purchase the home you like. This is especially true of new foreclosure listings.
5. A Realtor Will Do You A World Of Good – Agents spend lots of time combing the market for good deals. Good ones know their marketplace intimately and have often worked closely with many of your future neighbors. Use their experience to help you find the best deal possible. They will have the objective, professional eye you need to spot resale potential before you purchase. This single choice will save you thousands down the road – and agents usually charge buyers nothing to work with them!
Opportunity knocks but you still have to open the door. Real estate is historically among the safest investments in the country and 60% of America’s wealth comes from the housing market. Interest rates are historically low but are creeping upward again and prices appear to have leveled in many markets. And, if you act now, the government may even give you $8,000 just to help you buy your new house.