In a tight seller's market, with limited home inventory and high real estate prices, smart real estate buyers often search for deals where they don't compete with a dozen other home buyers bidding up homes to crazy high prices. Why pay full price or more for a home when there are so many deals you can take advantage of?
One of the biggest opportunities to find a deal is by purchasing a distressed property. This happens when you buy a home below market value, usually to add value by fixing it up.
Distressed properties do come with a significant amount of risk, but they can be an excellent investment when rehabbed properly.
What Is A Distressed Property?
A distressed property may be one that is in poor condition, in threat of being foreclosed (a pre-foreclosure; for non-payment of the mortgage), listed for less than the loan on the property (a short sale), going to trustee sale (also known as a foreclosure), or a bank owned property (an REO). Investors often seek these properties out because of the opportunity to buy a home at a discount. However, they’re taking a risk that the property might need significant repairs.
Here's a little more detail on each type of these bargain opportunities:
When a property owner stops paying the loan on a property, the lender can initiate a process (foreclosure) to take the property away from the delinquent borrower. In a situation like this, the property owner may decide to sell the property before the bank takes it away from them. A seller in this situation may want to list on the MLS and sell the property quickly before additional missed payments and penalties cut into the equity that they have in the home. Sellers may also be anxious to sell quickly so that they are not exposed to their neighbors and humiliated for their delinquency.
We can get a list of delinquent borrowers in your area of interest to see if buying a pre-foreclosure for a bargain is possible.
When a homeowner owes more on their mortgage then the home is worth, they may try to sell the home for less than the outstanding mortgage. This is called a "short sale". Often, the home is also a pre-foreclosure where the owner isn't paying the mortgage, but it doesn't have to be.
Short sales usually result in a good deal for the buyer. But, these can be complicated transactions where you need a qualified realtor to help you. And the seller also needs an agent that knows what they're doing. We can explain these complications to you and also search out where these deals may be available.
Trustee Sales (Foreclosure)
A Trustee Sale is an auction of a property on which the borrower wasn't paying their mortgage. This is also known as a "foreclosure sale". Here, you're bidding against seasoned investors and you have to pay the full amount of your winning bid with cashiers' checks. This is a very tricky and risky process. Properties are very often bid on "sight unseen". We've bid on many hundreds of homes. We were the winning bidders on about 70 properties in San Diego and we helped one buyer-bidder win a very nice home in Temecula.
Properties that don’t sell at foreclosure auctions and revert back to the lender become "real estate owned" assets of the bank, or REO properties. These are bank-owned properties.
Lenders don’t typically want the responsibility of maintaining or repairing these properties and may be willing to sell them at a discount. So, if you know where to look, you might be able to snag a good deal by purchasing REO property. We can help you find these REO properties and notify you as soon as they are up for sale.
There are other types of deals out there and twists with each type of distress and also with each distress case. We can help you in these situations so that you can find bargains and build wealth through real estate.