If you’re investing in real estate properties, then you have likely looked into the foreclosure process. The foreclosure market is teeming with incredible deals, and knowing the right stage to buy at will help you get make the most of your investment. Depending on your local economy, each stage will offer a different type of potential for your investment portfolio.
The Pre-foreclosure Stage
Pre-foreclosures are known as short sales in the real estate world. This is likely the most advantageous stage of the foreclosure process of investors because lenders are willing to work out better deals. Pre-foreclosures occur after the borrower has missed mortgage payments, but before the home goes to an auction sale. There are actually two stages of a short sale. The first is when the home owner defaults on his mortgage, or is more than 30 days late on his payment. The second part is when the home owner actually receives a legal letter known as a Notice of Default.
As a property investor, you want to find sellers who have actually received a Notice of Default on their mortgage because they are more than 3 months behind on payments and will likely work with you on a purchase. Before they receive this notice, sellers have ample opportunity to catch up their payments and cure their loans.
The Foreclosure Stage
The foreclosure stage begins after the home owner receives a notice of default and the lender takes legal action against them. They will be evicted from the home and the lender will seize the property. When this happens, the lender must place the home on the foreclosure auction. In some states this is known as a trustee sale.
Trustee sales are great because they give you a lot of bargaining power. Foreclosure notices are placed in the newspaper, allowing you plenty of time to research properties before you decide to bid on a house. Once you find a property you want to bid on, you can go the auction and place your bid.
The foreclosure auction does have many pitfalls, but if you do your research and understand the market, you can score really great homes in good neighborhoods. Many real estate investors use bidding services that will bid on homes for them. If you choose this route, all you need to provide is your requirements for a home and the bidding service will do the research for you.
The Post-foreclosure stage
After a home goes through the short sale and foreclosure auction stage, it ends up as a post-foreclosure property. This is known as a bank owned property or real estate owned REO. These homes end up back on the original lenders books as a non-performing asset. This essentially means they bank owns the home again, but isn’t making any money on it.
At this point the lender has spent a good deal of money going through foreclosure and they may actually try to recover fees and monies lost during foreclosure by taking them onto the sales price. At this stage, the home is selling for the highest price in the entire process.
One advantage to purchasing REO is that banks are highly motivated to get the property off their books. They are likely more willing to negotiate at this stage as the property is costing them money.