~Options During Foreclosure


Buying Foreclosures:  The Pros and Cons of REOs

Are you looking to buy an affordable home?  If you are, you may turn to foreclosure property listings online.  Foreclosed properties are often available for sale at a steeply discounted price.  With that said, buyers need to be aware that buying and living in a foreclosed property isn’t as easy as it sounds.  That is why some buyers rather opt for properties that are referred to as REOs.  These properties are real estate owned.

As previously stated, buying and moving into a foreclosed home isn’t always a walk in the park.  For starters, some states tend to draw out the process.  For example, just because you are the winning bidder at a foreclosure auction, it doesn’t mean that you can move in right away.  In fact, you may still end up with no home.  Why?  Because many states have redemption laws.  These laws gives delinquent borrowers time to get their mortgage back in good standing.

Next, it is important to know that many people do not want to leave their homes.  While many will do so when faced with a legal eviction notice, you may be surprised how many occupants put up a fight.  In fact, there are even cases where lawsuits were brought against the new buyers!  If you are unable to afford the cost of legal representation, foreclosures may not be in your best interest.  

Liens and backed taxes also need to be examined.  Depending on the state in question, buyers of foreclosure properties may be responsible for any outstanding liens or backed taxes.  Do not let this come as a surprise to you after the fact.  If you are not careful, this can significantly increase the cost of a foreclosure, possibly making it no longer affordable.  For your own personal protection, always consult with a professional before buying a foreclosed property, especially at a real estate auction.

Since the buying of foreclosures can be considered a risky business, there are many homeowners who opt to purchase real estate owned (REO) home or property.  As for what these properties are, the original lenders own them.  During this process, the lender is also commonly referred to as the investor.  Often times, the lender in question will buy back the home in question at a real estate auction.  This is often done when not enough interest in generated in the auction or when the bids are anticipated to be or are low.  

Many experts state that buying an REO home is the best way to buy a property that is in trouble.  Why?  Because at this stage, the home is likely cleared of all occupants.  Financial lenders often have the means and the power to evict all occupants, even those who are against leaving.  The only individuals you should have to deal with are the investors, which would be the bank.  In rare events, a bank may turn over the sale of the home to a real estate agent.  However, since real estate agents take a percentage of each sale, the asking price of an REO home is likely to increase.  For the best price, deal with banks directly.

As for how you can find real estate own properties, visit all local banks in your area.  Ask if there are any real estate owned properties currently available for sale.  If so, request information on those properties.  The online websites of nationally owned, but locally operated banks can be examined as well.  Many times, REO properties are listed for sale online.  Remember, the same information can be acquired by scheduling an in person meeting the bank’s loan officer or real estate advisor.

As an important warning, whenever you are interested in buying a home, whether it be through a traditional real estate agent sale, an REO, or a foreclosed property, never enter into any agreements without the proper legal knowledge.  Always first hire or consultant with an attorney who specializes in real estate or foreclosures. 

Facing Foreclosure:  How to Find Advice Online

If you are a homeowner who is on the brink of foreclosure or if your lender has already started the proceedings, you may not know where to turn.  If you are limited on financial resources you may be unable to hire a lawyer to provide you with expert advice.  Although nothing is better than professional help, you can turn to the internet.

When using the internet to find advice about foreclosure or to learn what your rights as a homeowner are, visit the website of your state.  This should be the official website.  Perform a search on the site for information on foreclosures.  You should be provided with information on foreclosure laws in your state of residence, as well as detailed information on the process works.  This information may also be available from other sources online, but you know the information is accurate and up-to-date when you get it directly from the source.

Another type of website that you may want to checkout is that of foreclosure attorneys or those who specialize in real estate.  Many lawyers will share important foreclosure information and tips on their websites, available to you free of charge.  For example, a current search of foreclosure attorneys will tell you that in some states foreclosure can be stopped right in its tracks when bankruptcy is declared.  Although not all attorneys are willing to divulge all of their secrets, you may be surprised how much information you can find online.

The internet can also be used to help you find and hire a lawyer.  As previously stated, those facing foreclosure don’t always have the financial resources needed to hire a lawyer, but there are ways around this.  Some lawyers will accept cases pro bono and others will work out a payment agreement with you.  As for when you should hire an attorney, you should do so if you fall victim to a foreclosure scam or if you believe that your lender is treating you unfairly and illegally.  As a reminder, lawyers specializing in real estate and foreclosures are recommended.

Credit counseling websites are another resource that you can find available online.  This is a controversial and sometimes risky approach, but help may be out there for you.  Some credit counseling companies may try to work with your lender for you. This may result in more affordable monthly mortgage payments for you.  With that in mind, there are many scams that surround these companies, even those that claim to be non-profit organizations.  For that reason, do the proper amount of research online first or check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The website for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should be visited as well.  There you will find a lot of information that is not only from a reliable source, but accurate. This website can be found at HUD.gov.  There, you can not only review your options before, during, and after foreclosure, but you can be connected to valuable resources, including a HUD approved housing counselor.

Also online, you will find a number of websites that are operated by individuals just like yourself.  Many have dealt with foreclosures firsthand, some came out on top, while others didn’t.  These types of websites can be used to provide you with valuable resources, as well as support.  Hearing how to deal with foreclosure firsthand, through someone who has been there before, may be a source of comfort for you.

Facing Foreclosure:  Where You Can Turn

Are you facing foreclosure?  If you have received an intent to foreclose notice from your bank, you may be feeling a wide array of emotions.  These emotions may include fear, anger, and sadness.  Regardless of how you feel about the situation, now is the time to take action.  Depending on how soon you act, as well as what steps you take, you may be able to avoid foreclosure.

When facing foreclosure, one of the first places you should turn to is that of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD.  There you will find experts who can help to point you in the right direction.  One direction that you may be pointed to is that of a HUD approved housing counselor.  A HUD approved housing counselor can give you tips on how to avoid foreclosure.  However, if you have reached the point where foreclosure cannot be stopped, assistance on picking up the pieces and finding a new home will be provided.

Another professional that homeowners facing foreclosure should turn is to that of an attorney.  Should you decide to contact an attorney for legal advice, it is vital that you select one who has experience dealing with real estate and foreclosure cases.  As for how a lawyer can help you, they may be able to stop the foreclosure process.  There are a number of ways this can be accomplished.  An attorney can and should be contacted in the event you find yourself a victim of a foreclosure scam or if you feel you are being discriminated against by your mortgage lender.

Although it is best that you seek professional assistance, such as the assistance of an attorney or a HUD approved housing counselor, you may want to turn to those around you.  As embarrassing as it may be to admit that you may lose your home, now is the time to receive support and encouragement from close friends and family members.  In fact, they may be able to help you avoid foreclosure.  Can you borrow money from someone that you know?  If so, just make sure that you pay it back and in a timely matter.

Returning back to seeking professional foreclosure advice and assistance, real estate agents can also be approached.  However, it is best if they are contacted as soon as you notice a problem.  If you suspect you may fall victim to foreclosure, contact a real estate agent immediately.  Before your home enters into the official foreclosure stage, it is known as being in pre-foreclosure.  You can still try to sell your home.  You can list your home as for sale by owner, but the knowledge and expertise of a professional real estate agent can help you sell your home faster.

Out of all of the places that you should turn to seek assistance with avoiding foreclosure, the bank is the most important.  Financial lenders want to avoid foreclosure.  Why?  Because they almost always lose money on the sale of foreclosed properties.  For that reason, schedule a meeting, in person, with your lender.  Make sure you meet with someone who is high ranking in the branch, such as the bank president or the chief loan officer.  If you can prove that your financial hardships are only temporary, do so.  This may help to convince your mortgage lender to give you more time.

The internet can also be used to seek foreclose help and assistance.  When using the internet, it is important to proceed with caution.  You, honestly, never know if what you find online is true.  With that said, many states clearly outline their foreclosure laws and homeowner options on their websites.  You may also find detailed information online from homeowners who have been in the same place as you, facing foreclosure.  Other homeowners may share the ways that they were able to successfully stop foreclosure.  In addition to carefully reviewing all information provided to you, do not pay anything. Foreclosure advice can easily be found online free of charge.

Foreclosure Auctions:  How to Find Them and What to Expect

Are you looking to buy a new home?  If you are, you may be turned off by the real estate prices you see on the market.  If so, this doesn’t mean that now isn’t the time to buy a home, but it does mean that you may be looking in the wrong place.  Instead of visiting the online websites of realtors or flipping through their brochures, place your focus on foreclosure properties.  Foreclosure properties are often considered a great buy, as they are easy to find and affordable.

One of the most popular ways that foreclosures are bought and sold is at an auction.  This auction typically takes place at a county, town, or village government office, such as the clerk’s department.  As for how you can find these foreclosure auctions, they are often advertised in local newspapers.  You can also search local records, as foreclosures are public notice. 

One of the few downsides to buying a home at a foreclosure auction is the inspection, as you aren’t typically granted one.  Most bidders are bidding on the home as-is.  As-is isn’t so bad, but it may be if you haven’t seen the property.  With that said, since foreclosures are public notice, you should be able to get the address of the property in question.  You will want to drive by.  Although you should not judge a book by its cover, a drive by can give you an idea of what to expect.  When you have doubts, it may be best to move on and target other auctions.

If you decide to attend a foreclosure auction, the last thing you want to do is just show up. That is unless you are scouting to see how an auction works.  When you are serious about purchasing a foreclosed property at an auction, you need to be prepared.  This preparation involves having financing lined up.  Many will require that you either have the money on hand or show proof that you do have the financial resources needed to follow through with the sale.  Contingency loans are generally prohibited.  Check deposits are sometimes required before you can even place a bid.  

As for the auction itself, it depends.  It is not uncommon for bids to be sealed.  Once everyone has placed a bid, the highest bidder will be announced.  For bids that are not sealed, the auctioneer will start with a figure, often around $1,000 or less and the bidding will continue on.  If you are the winner bidder, it is important to know that you may not be able to move into your new home right away.  In fact, it is likely that you will be unable to do so.  Many states give current occupants a redemption period or a grace period.  This is where they can still fight to keep their home.  After this point has passed, you can start the eviction process if the current occupants do not leave voluntarily.

As it was previously stated, you may want to attend a foreclosure auction and just sit on the sidelines.  You should be allowed to do so.  If you are unfamiliar with the buying and selling of real estate, foreclosures, or auctions, you can learn a lot.  This knowledge is important, as many fellow bidders will be investors looking to turn a profit, not buy their first home.

Foreclosure:  Can It Be Stopped?

Are you a homeowner who has been ignoring the warning letters and telephone calls from your bank?  If you are, you may find yourself in the middle of a foreclosure crisis.  At this point in time, fear may automatically set in.  What will you do?  Where you will live?  Can you afford to move?  Before you let fear take over, it is important to know that foreclosures can be stopped. Although this process is not easy, it can be done.

It is advised that you speak with your financial lender as soon as you find yourself experiencing financial difficulties.  For example, when you get laid off or fired from your job, schedule an appointment to meet with your lender and develop a plan, before any problems arise.  At the very least, communication should be made when you start receive intent to foreclosure notices.  Even if you have a sign on your home stating that the foreclosure process has officially begun, you can still talk to your financial lender.  In this instance, the sooner you do so the better.

As for why you should talk to your financial lender, even at the last minute, they want to avoid foreclosure as much as you do.  Often times, lenders lose a considerable amount of money on the sale of foreclosure homes.  If you can prove that your financial troubles are only temporary, your lender may give you a reprieve.  They may stop the foreclosure proceedings for you.  As for what can lead to this, you or your spouse getting a second job can help.

If you are dealing with a locally owned and operated bank, which you have been a loyal customer of, it is important to outright ask what can be done.  Offer suggestions yourself, if you do not receive them.  Could you continue making all future mortgage payments on time, but develop a payment plan for your past due amount?  Can you only pay interest for the time being?  Can you be given time to sell your home, as opposed to simply just losing it?  These are all important questions that you should ask.

Another way that foreclosures can be stopped, in most states, is with a declaration of bankruptcy.  However, this step is one that should not be made on a whim.  It is first important to meet with an attorney specializing in bankruptcy.  If you file for bankruptcy will the foreclosure proceedings stop?  Can you make it so that your home is not considered an asset in bankruptcy proceedings?  If so, this is the avenue that you may want to take.  However, since bankruptcy can negatively influence your credit, it should only be used as a last resort.

Before you take any action with the hopes of stopping foreclosure, you need to closely examine the situation at hand.  For starters, would you like to get out from under your property?  If it is a money-pit that needs constant repairs, it might just be easier to go the route of foreclosure or even outright allow your bank to sell the property.  If you want to keep your home, make sure that you can honestly do so.  It is recommended that you take forty percent of your income and apply that towards your living expenses, this includes mortgages and taxes.  If this isn’t possible for you to do, the avoidance of foreclosure now may result in the process starting again in a few months.

No comments