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How Fast Do Foreclosed Homes Sell?

James Anderson

August 30, 2022

Foreclosed homes can sell quickly or remain on the market for an extended period, depending on location, condition, and market demand.

Why not get a diamond in the rough at a reasonable price by purchasing a foreclosed property? One must be prepared and know what to look for when buying a foreclosed property.

In this article, we'll discover how fast foreclosed homes sell and examine the foreclosure process in further detail. We'll also explore the processes involved in purchasing a foreclosure and its advantages and disadvantages.

So, What Exactly Is Foreclosure?

When a mortgage lender takes the tenure of home and puts it up for auction, this is known as foreclosure. A property marked as "foreclosed" on the market is now in possession of the lending institution.

Defaulting on a mortgage payment is the most common cause of foreclosure. There is a lien on your property from the mortgage deal. If you default on your mortgage payments, the lender can foreclose and take possession of your home through a lien.

Purchasing a property subject to foreclosure is not the same as buying a home from a homeowner.

What is The Procedure for a Foreclosure?

A Vacuum Collecting Money, Foreclosure Starts When An Individual Falls Behind On Mortgage Payments

When a homeowner stops making their mortgage dues, the lender can foreclose on the property and take ownership. A potential buyer should know that a foreclosure goes through numerous phases.

Preliminary phase.

If a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment for more than a few months, their entire mortgage will default, and they will get a notice of default. This usually kicks off the preliminary phase of foreclosure. After ninety days of late payments, a lender will often issue a notice of default.

The mortgage lender and investor's rules and terms of the mortgage contract will determine how quickly a recommendation for foreclosure may be made. Before a home is put up for foreclosure and sold at auction, the lender usually gives the homeowner a chance to work out an alternative payment plan.

Publish notice

Lenders must publish notice of a trustee's sale in a local newspaper and file notice of the sale with the county. This is one option for locating foreclosed properties. However, an online search will likely yield better results.

Public auction

Lenders often try to unload the property at public auction if they haven't had any luck with a private sale.

Last phase.

The next step is an attempt to sell the home. This is the foreclosure phase in which most homebuyers will enter, especially those using a VA loan. In the case of real estate owned by a financial institution, the bank takes title if an auction does not result in a buyer.

How Fast do Foreclosed Homes Sell?

When a mortgage company forecloses on a property, it takes possession of the house and then sells it at auction or to a buyer. The foreclosure process often takes four months to several years to complete. However, this varies widely by state.

When a mortgage company takes back a house through foreclosure, it usually becomes part of the company's real estate inventory to be sold at auction or to a bidder who makes an outright purchase. Some properties acquired through foreclosure may sit unsold for an extended period.

How Long Does The Foreclosure Process Take in Alabama?

In the event of a non-judicial foreclosure, wherein the borrower does not file a lawsuit challenging the lender's right to foreclose, the foreclosure process can be completed in as little as 60 days. However, the process might take months if the foreclosure is challenged or a court order is required to foreclose.

How To Buy A Foreclosed Home

Examine All of Your Options

The initial thing you should do before buying a foreclosed home, or any other large purchase, is research. That's because there are various foreclosure purchase options, and the one ideal for you will depend on your specific circumstances.

The most frequent channels of acquisition are outlined below.

  • Buying From The Homeowner

A pre-foreclosure sale, also known as a short sale, may be considered when a homeowner still retains ownership of their house despite the threat of foreclosure. They are trying to sell the house before it goes into foreclosure.

The process of a short sale can be complicated as well. Short sales occur when borrowers are approved by their mortgage servicer to sell their homes below the amount still owed on the mortgage. 

In some cases of "short sales," the owner's bank is willing to suffer a loss in exchange for removing a mortgage that would otherwise default.

The owners hope to sell the house quickly before they fall behind on payments, so they've set the asking price relatively low. However, purchasing might be challenging now. If the sellers' bank or lender thinks your offer is too low, they may still not accept it even if the sellers do.

  • Buying At An Auction

Buying a foreclosed house at auction is the standard practice. If a homeowner default on their mortgage, the bank or lender can seize the property and sell it at auction through a third-party trustee.

Auctions are a brilliant way for buyers to acquire a property fast (and cheaply, in many cases). Cash in hand is a common requirement for those participating in auctions. Yes, there are challenges, in any case.

However, there are also many potential downsides:

  • If the previous owners ceased paying property taxes, your home might have a government lien on the title;
  • Repairs to an auctioned home may be costly.
  • You may not have time to get the house appraised. An appraisal is a process through which a licensed real estate professional estimates a home's market value. Even if you can get a great deal at an auction, you should still get an assessment before you commit to the purchase.
  • Buying From The Bank

You may also find foreclosed homes on the open market and buy them straight from the bank or lender who owns them.

Real estate Owned (REO) is a word that may come up while looking at real estate listings. REO indicates that the property was foreclosed upon and is currently in possession of the lender. The bank will often remove any liens and evict( the former owner before selling a property that has become real estate owned (REO), saving you the hassle.

The bank gains possession of the property through an auction and sells it to repay the debt. The bank may work with a local real estate agent to list the property for sale.

  • Buying A Government-Owned Property

Consider purchasing foreclosed properties from the government as another option. Such properties are analogous to those held by financial institutions. When homeowners default on federally guaranteed mortgage loans, government authorities often seize possession of the properties.

Budgeting for a Home's Purchase Price

Foreclosure property purchases need careful financial planning. Perhaps you can purchase a house at a discount. In contrast, foreclosed properties do not come without cost. Another myth buster: foreclosed homes may be bought for a buck.

To establish how much of a mortgage payment you can afford each month, you should make a budget outlining your monthly income and spending (including estimates for discretionary expenses like eating out and entertainment).

If you don't do this, even if you're in the foreclosure market, you can acquire more houses than you can afford. You may have difficulty meeting your monthly mortgage obligations if you buy a property that costs more than you can afford.

Determining your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is essential for any major purchase, including a home. This ratio calculates how much your monthly income will be needed to cover your monthly bills and living expenditures (such as your projected mortgage payment).

The standard ratio for monthly debt payments is between 36% and 43% of monthly gross revenue. You may experience difficulties getting a mortgage if your debt-to-income ratio is higher.

Use extreme caution when purchasing a property that has just gone through foreclosure. If you're desperate to acquire a home, you could be tempted to overextend yourself by buying a foreclosed property.

The issue is that the bank-owned property may need costly maintenance after foreclosure. You may not be able to pay for the repairs if you've bought a property that costs as much as you can comfortably afford.

Employ a Qualified Real Estate Professional

A knowledgeable real estate agent with access to the local multiple listing service and familiarity with the neighborhood market is a must if you want to buy a foreclosure.

Your real estate agent should be able to tell you whether or not you're getting a good deal on a foreclosed house and whether or not the asking price is reasonable, given the potential downsides. A real estate agent can also help locate foreclosed homes that other purchasers may overlook.

Remember that foreclosure rules and regulations vary by state. Consult a professional who is well-versed in these regulations. An excellent real estate agent will also be able to warn you about potential problems with a foreclosed home.

Make sure you're mortgage-approved ahead of time.

No matter the kind of house you're looking to purchase, it's a good idea to be preapproved for a mortgage. To preapprove you, a lender will check your credit, income, and debts at no cost to you. The amount of the mortgage that this particular lender is willing to give you will be determined afterward.

After receiving a preapproval letter from a lender, you can determine your maximum home purchase price.

An additional selling point is a preapproval letter. In the case of foreclosures, sellers (banks or government agencies) would rather deal with bidders who have previously proven their ability to get a mortgage. They are not concerned that you will be denied a loan and that this would prevent the selling of their property. Sellers are more inclined to deal with buyers who have previously been preapproved for a mortgage if numerous bidders compete for the same house (all things being equal).

Foreclosure circumstances might make banks and lenders extra cautious about extending credit, so a high credit score will be crucial for getting preapproved.

One good strategy for finding a mortgage lender is to look around. Don't settle for the first mortgage company you come across. Find a lender that offers the best terms for the least amount of money.

To buy a bank-owned home, you may need to get preapproved by the bank or lender that owns the property, even if another lender has already preapproved you. This is often done to verify your eligibility or find a selling opportunity. You should know that you are not bound to work with the presented lender. You may still utilize the original company's preapproval to get into the bank-owned house.

Once you've found a place you like and made an offer that the seller accepts, you may apply for final approval. If a mortgage lender has previously given you the preapproval, it's much simpler to use for final approval from the same institution. Before final acceptance, this lender may still ask to see recent pay stubs, tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Lenders will double-check your finances to ensure nothing has changed since you were preapproved.

Present a Reasonable Offer to Purchase

Your real estate agent( must deliver the offer to the current owner if the house is pre-foreclosed.

The trustee or attorney handling the auction is the person to contact if you have any queries regarding a foreclosed home that will be sold at auction.

A foreclosure auction is managed by a third party, or trustee, on behalf of a bank or government body. During an auction, this person is in charge of accepting the bids.

Your realtor will submit your offer to the bank's listing agent for consideration if the home is a real estate-owned (REO) property.

A buyer's agent will never talk to the financial institution themselves. The procedure is the same for government-owned properties: your real estate agent will again make an offer straight to the government agency.

A foreclosed house may encourage you to make a fair offer. However, if your offer is significantly lower than the market price, the sellers (whether a federal government agency, bank or lender) may reject it. Foreclosed homes do often sell at a discount to comparable market residences.

Making a solid bid requires coordination with your real estate agent. You should consult with your broker for guidance on a suitable sum.

Your offer should also include a house inspection contingency. (Note: If you're buying a foreclosure at auction, you won't be allowed to accomplish this.) Examining the residence is a condition precedent to the transaction's closing.

Consider Having Your Home Inspected.

Lose Roof Tiles Cause Caused Leaks

Remember that you are buying a foreclosed house "as is." As a result, you will have to cover the cost of any necessary repairs, regardless of whether you're buying through a bank, lender, or government agency. You must pay for these fixes.

That's why it's crucial that you do a thorough inspection of the property before submitting an offer. You may want to reconsider purchasing the home if the examination reveals many issues or if the cost of fixing those issues is too high.

In most cases, financial institutions or government bodies will allow an inspection contingency to be included in an offer. This implies that if your offer is accepted, you can still schedule a home inspection before the finalization of the transaction. The house inspector will look for structural damage, such as a cracked foundation or leaking roof.

You will receive a report outlining the inspector's observations when the inspection is complete. You can back out if there are too many issues with the deal. There is usually very little space for haggling over a foreclosed house, regardless of what the inspection finds.

Foreclosed homes typically need more expensive repairs. Learn how long the house has been abandoned to get a feel for its condition and see if the previous owner has kept up with the necessary repairs.

You should also contact the local building authority to see if any pending construction permits might cause problems after closing.

Because there is no time to organize a home inspection before bidding at an auction, buying a foreclosed house is a very different procedure. In most cases, you won't even be invited inside.

This highlights the inherent dangers of purchasing a house at auction. There may be hidden issues with the house, but you won't know about them unless you get a home inspection. That's possible, and the pricing may be lower.

Conclusion: How Fast do Foreclosed Homes Sell?

Purchasing a foreclosed property may be the best option if you've always wanted to become a homeowner but have a limited budget. Homeowners facing foreclosure may be able to discover attractive deals on previously-owned properties.

Don't make a hasty call, once again. To weigh the benefits and risks of purchasing a foreclosed house in your area, it is advisable to engage with a real estate agent who is familiar with the market. Also, consider the potential downsides of investing in foreclosed properties before bidding.

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