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5 Tips for buying a foreclosed home

Before buying a foreclosed home, you need to consider a few things as a precautionary measure.

Foreclosed properties can be viewed as great opportunities for people who are looking out for a good deal on a house, considering that lenders usually price a house really low in order to get it off their hands as quickly as possible. However, what you have to understand here is that foreclosed sales considerably differ from regular house shopping. Here’s what you really need to keep an eye out for.

Foreclosure House For Sale Sign in Front of Beautiful Home.

1. Buying a house ‘As-Is’ – It is important for you as a buyer to know what condition the previous owners have left the house in. Sometimes homeowners leave the place bare of all necessities, including any fixtures, door knobs, or even wiring. The lender most likely will not focus on any repairs and will sell the property as-is, but for a considerably low amount.

What you need to calculate and compare here is the cost of repairs versus the price offered and then see whether it would be worth the financial and physical trouble to fix it.

2. Know what you are getting into – Regular home sales mostly require relevant disclosure about the property from the owners, especially if the property is infested with termites or has an unstable foundation. However, a lender has no such obligation towards you, which is why if you decide to invest in a foreclosed home, get ready for some surprises.

3. Make sure the offer isn’t too low – When a lender puts a foreclosed property up for sale at a high discount, you may be tempted to push forward for a much lower offer. Despite the overwhelming list of foreclosed houses, banks might reject your price for the house as it may not be willing to suffer deeper losses on its already failed investment. It might prefer to bide its time until housing costs rise.

One way to turn local foreclosures in your favor is to research on prices that have been tagged on houses recently sold by lenders (also known as real-estate owned or REO sales) to aid you in rightly pricing the property.

4. Prepare to wait it out – Since most lenders are either large banks or financial institutions, the process of buying a foreclosed home is most likely to stretch on for weeks before you hear from the seller. This is mostly due to a lot of legal paperwork involved and level of bureaucracy a decision has to pass through.

5. Difference in sales pitch – Since banks involve real-estate agents who have a volley of foreclosed properties to show and sell, there may be a lack of attention or plain flatness in their sales pitch. If you have less time on your hands while seeing a house and you are unsure of your capability to assess the state of these houses by yourself, it is advisable to tag along a good building inspector who will be able to give you a fair idea about the state of the property. Most times, banks have their own contracts that shield them from any liabilities after the sale has occurred.


Photo Credits: Js2homes.com

Alternatives to Foreclosure

Buying a house is a big investment. It really puts a dent on your financial resources. Of course, the expenses do not end with the down payment. You still have to contend with the monthly payments for the mortgage. This is a financial situation that you will have to live with for years until you have fully paid off your loan.

But what happens if you get behind in your mortgage payments? A delay in payment can have very serious consequences for your mortgage situation. If the delinquency in payments has become too severe then your home could be in danger of foreclosure. A foreclosure means that your property will be repossessed by the lending institution that gave you your mortgage.

Fortunately, even if you have defaulted on your payments, it does not necessarily mean that your property will be foreclosed. There are various alternatives to a foreclosure that you can take. Some of these are:

Paying the delinquency. Generally, all lending institutions are required to accept all the payments that were delinquent and reinstate the loan. The delinquent payments that you have to pay may also include some legal fees especially if you are already in the foreclosure stage. There are also lending institutions that require certified funds in order to reinstate the loan.

Forbearance and Repayment. One of the most common ways of resolving a delinquent mortgage is to work out a plan with your lending institution where in you get to pay a part of your delinquency every month on top of your regular monthly payments. If you are in a situation where you are not able to meet the monthly mortgage payments, your lender can elect to extend the forbearance by suspending payments for a certain period of time up until you can start a repayment schedule.

Payment Assistance. Some state and local governments and also private charitable organizations have instituted programs that help people with delinquencies pay all or part of their mortgage obligation for a certain period of time.

Reamortization. In a reamortization, the delinquent mortgage amount is added to the loan balance as a way of bringing the mortgage payments up to date. This move increases not only the total loan amount but also the monthly payments. Of course, the increase in payment will not be as large if the life of the loan is also extended.

Private sale. A private sale of the property affected by the delinquency can also be done as it will allow you to meet your obligations as well as get any equity that may have accumulated. In private sales it is usual that the amount is greater than the stated amount owed on the loan.

Most of these alternatives presume that you will be able to pay your mortgage payments at some point. But there is also a particular foreclosure alternative called a loss mitigation program. The federal government as well as the mortgage industry established this type of program as a way of stopping foreclosures. Under this program you are given options that will not only assist you in keeping your home even if you do not have the financial capability to pay for the mortgage payments. With these types of programs, it becomes so much easier to address the problem of foreclosures.

How The Foreclosure Process Works

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but there have been times in my life when I have felt as though I was one paycheck away from serious financial peril. Too bad Superman doesn’t come to the rescue for matters such as this. One of my greatest fears has been losing a home because I lost my job or had an injured child (or injured self) that required me not to work for an extended period of time that exceeded my savings, or any of nearly a thousand reasons. The recent movie “Fun With Dick and Jane” struck a chord of sheer terror in my heart because bad things sometimes happen to good people. Good people have their lives ruined through circumstances that are completely and totally beyond their control.

With a foreclosure, there really isn’t a bad guy. There is no mad banker waiting greedily in the wings to throw your family out on the street. The truth is most of these people have a great amount of compassion and come across as harsh because the decision to foreclose generally isn’t up to them. Besides we signed on the dotted line when we decided to purchase a home. A home is, for most people, the single largest investment we make in our lives. The process of foreclosure can be frightening if you are armed with knowledge; it is absolutely terrifying if you are uninformed throughout the process.

Here are some things you should know about the foreclosure process.

1) First of all, a home does not go into foreclosure until you have become 3 months behind on your payments. Of course the goal is to never get behind at all, but we all know that stuff sometimes happens and some things are beyond our control. This means you do not have to exist in constant worry that if you are a few days late on your mortgage payment for a couple of months that the sky will fall. This is unlikely to be the case unless you are seriously behind. Be proactive and don’t let yourself get that far behind, or start working with the bank beforehand if you know it’s inevitable.

2) Once you are three months behind you will either go into what is called judicial foreclosure or non-judicial foreclosure. In a judicial foreclosure, a lawsuit is issued to the homeowner who can elect whether or not to respond. If the owner doesn’t respond the home is auctioned off to the highest bidder unless the bid doesn’t exceed the total amount owed on the home. In a non-judicial foreclosure the lending institution would issue a statement of default and notify the owner of its intent to sell the home. The owner at this time can possibly work to arrange an agreement and payment plan that is acceptable to the financial institution, or file a chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to stop the foreclosure. If this does not happen then the property will be sold.

3) Here is where it gets tricky. If the sale of the home doesn’t result in a sum of money that is at least equal to the amount owed on the home, the original homeowner is responsible for the difference. Failure to pay the difference can be just as detrimental to your credit as the foreclosure itself.

The process of foreclosure is not fun; it is not meant to be. Don’t overextend yourself credit wise. Buy a house you know you can afford and live below your means.

Is Refinancing An Option When Facing Foreclosure?

A property that is already in foreclosure may at first seem a difficult task. Granted, foreclosure may make it more difficult to obtain a loan and may require you to aggressively shop around. You’ll want a loan to either pay off your foreclosing lender entirely or bring your foreclosing loan current. It is most important to know that time is your worst enemy when facing foreclosure. There are also many services that will work with you to help with your situation. These companies are able to tailor a plan specific to your needs.

Even if you are just one payment behind, you should do something rather than wait until you are even more behind. Should be possible to refinance your property as long as either your credit is in reasonably good shape or you have some equity in your property. If you are having problems making your payments, contact your mortgage company immediately. Explain your situation. Be prepared to provide them with financial information, such as your monthly income. In fact, an entire industry of lenders caters to property owners in foreclosure.

Consists of obtaining a loan from a new lender to pay your existing lender existing lender. This may sound like common sense but many people fail to do something, and just pretend like nothing it wrong. Seeking help before you are 90 days or more behind on your payments can greatly increase your chances of success.

Decide What Type of Refinancing to Seek
-There are four different options for refinancing your property: conventional refinancing, home equity loans, hard money loans and loans from family and friends.

Compare Different Lenders
-Every lender provides different kinds of loans, terms and services. To ensure that you make a wise consumer decision, check out and compare several different lenders.

Apply for Loans
-Most banks and lending institutions will require that you meet and fill out their loan applications. In contrast, a hard money lender has an “application” that consists of a series of questions asked over the telephone.

Lenders offer a wide variety of interest rates, terms, costs, conveniences and services. Unfortunately, most borrowers don’t spend the time necessary to shop different lenders. The tendency is to borrow from an institution that is conveniently locate. Avoid the anxiety and aggravation of a delay in getting the loan approved. Before signing your application, ask for a commitment that addresses specifics about the kind of loan, term, interest rate, prepayment penalties and points. Important: Since getting a quick response is so important, you might want to submit to a number of sites and let competition bring out the best solution for your situation.

What Is Foreclosure And How Can I Avoid It?

Foreclosure takes place when home owners do not pay their payments to the lender. It really is that simple. The reason for why home owners may not be able to make the payments, however, can be anything but simple.

The worst thing home owners can do when they cannot make their home loan payments is to ignore the problem and to ignore the lender. In many cases, lenders will be more eager to help you through the problem than to foreclose on your home. The truth is most lenders do not want to take your home from you. Foreclosure is a cost to them and it reduces the profits they can realize from a home loan.

It cannot be said enough: If you are unable to make your mortgage payment, do not ignore the problem. The more payments you miss the harder it will be for the lender to work with you. There will come a time (should you ignore the lender for too long) when foreclosure will be the only remedy.

Once you know that you cannot make a payment contact the lender. As mentioned above, most lenders do not want your home. Most lenders have programs available to help you out if you contact them soon enough, but many of these programs are time sensitive and must be triggered before certain cutoff dates arrive.

If you have missed a payment do not ignore the mail that you get from lender. You might be surprised at how many people simply do not open their mail when they know they have missed a payment. Ignoring the mail will not make the situation any better.

In many cases, the first notices you receive from the lender will offer information on payment options and foreclosure prevention options. If you ignore these and do not contact the lender you will begin to get the more demanding mails which may include important notices of pending legal actions. Not opening your mail will not be a legitimate excuse in foreclosure court.

Another important thing to do is to understand your mortgage rights. You should find your loan papers and read them to learn exactly what the contract states, along with timelines. You can also learn more about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state. Keep in mind that every state is different so be sure you read the laws for your state.

You can also contact a HUD-approved housing counselor to help you understand your circumstances. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free or very low cost housing counseling nationwide. These counselors can assist you to better understand the law and your options. They can help you organize your budget and finances and may even be able to represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need this level of assistance. You can find a HUD-approved housing counselor by calling (800) 569-4287 or TTY (800) 877-8339.

There are many options for those who find themselves in financial trouble but it is up to you to take the actions that will help prevent foreclosure on your home. Home owners may be surprised at how many programs are available to help them as they get through this trying period of time, but they should keep in mind that ignoring the problem will only make it worse. One of the best ways to prevent foreclosure is to get to work with the lender as quickly as possible.

What to Expect At a Foreclosure Auction

Whether you are an investor that would like to get into buying foreclosed homes for your personal use or to flip the property or if you are having your home foreclosed on, you should know what to expect at a foreclosure auction. Of course, the actual steps that will be taken can vary a bit from state to state and from house to house, but it’s good to know what you will be getting into when you go to a foreclosure auction. Foreclosure auctions can be exciting, even fun, but knowing what to expect will help you make the most of the experience, whether you are an investor or a homeowner that is trying to get your house back.

Before the Auction

You’ll likely find out about the foreclosure auction in a local newspaper and on the flier may be information to pre-qualify for bidding. This will allow you to put down a deposit so that the auctioneer knows that you are a serious bidder and can fulfill your bid if you are the winning bidder. Being pre-qualified just sort of speeds up the process so that you don’t have to mess around with the deposit on the day of the auction. During this time you should also do some research on the house by looking into any liens that may be against the property, how much the property is worth, how much it has appreciated in the last few years, as well as property values in the area. If the home looks as though it will need some repairs, you should consider this as well when trying to come up with how much you will be willing to pay for the house. Without this research, no amount of knowledge about what goes on at a foreclosure option will help you because you won’t know where to start when it comes to actually making a good bid.

What Happens At the Auction

The auction will typically start with the auctioneer reading legal notices as well as a legal description of the property. The auctioneer will usually then begin taking bids on the property. If the auctioneer has pre-qualified bidders the process is more streamlined, if not, each time a bid is made the auctioneer will then ask for the bidders deposit check, which is typically right around $5,000 for residential auctions. After each bid the auctioneer will attempt to solicit bids for higher amounts. Each auction is different, but the auction increments usually are set by the auctioneer and may be by $100, $500, or $1,000 per bid. The auctioneer will continue to solicit bids by this increment until it is clear that the highest bid has been reached. Then, the auctioneer will announce, “Going once, going twice, three times, sold!” indicating that the auction is over and the property has been sold to the highest bidder.

Once the bidding has ended a foreclosure deed and purchase papers will be drawn up and validated by the new owner or purchaser and the mortgage holder. A grace will likely be given to allow the purchaser to find financing or to come up with the funds to cover the full amount of the bid. This grace period is usually 30 days unless the purchaser and the mortgage holder agree to other terms. After the grace period a closing will take place, so that the new owner can formally take the title to the property.

What Happens, Now?

The purchaser can do what he or she intended to do with the property, whether it is to move into the home or to sell it for full market value. The money paid by the purchaser will be distributed in order of priority, first of which would be taxes. After taxes money will be paid to the mortgage, then the second and third mortgage if applicable. If there is still money after paying these debts, remaining money will be paid to lien holders and creditors. There is a very slim chance that there will be money left over after all of the debts are paid, if this is the case then the monies will be paid to the former home owner.

What about the Original Owner?

The original owner will often be at the auction so that they can bid on their home, and this is legal as long as they have the deposit required. If the owner of the home that has been foreclosed does bid on the home they must remember that the deposit is not refundable and the deposit assumes that they will be able to finance the home within the grace period. Owners must also remember that if they buy the property back old debts may merge and become reinstated such as second and third mortgages that became void when the first mortgage foreclosed on the property unless one has filed bankruptcy and is truly free and clear of these debts. Owners will often drum up the funds to make the deposit so that they can have another 30 days to try to save their home. Owners may or may not be successful in their attempts to save their home at a foreclosure auction.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that go into a foreclosure auction, but none of them are all that difficult to understand, but knowing about them makes the auction more enjoyable. The auction itself is not all that complicated, but it can be very fast paced. At some foreclosure auctions there are a lot of people, at others there are only a few because of the location or just the debts attached to the property, or even the state of the property. If you are serious about the property you should pay close attention when bidding starts so that you are sure that you can get your bid in when you feel it’s time so that you have the best chance of being the top bidder.