Beat the Competition in Buying Foreclosures

February 6, 2012

While bank-owned homes are plentiful in many markets, they aren’t always easy for a buyer to get. Foreclosure sell at bargain prices — sometimes at 35 percent discounts when compared to nonforeclosures. These ultra-low prices are attracting investors and all-cash offers, which makes it difficult for other buyers' bids to win out. 

So how can your buyers beat the competition to get a foreclosure? 

Get the first look: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s First Look program offers first-time home buyers and others who need financing and are looking for a primary residence the first opportunity to see bank-owned homes before investors. Buyers have a 15-day window to submit offers before investors have the opportunity to start bidding. 

Submit a competitive offer: Homes priced at heavy discounts can be in high demand and attract multiple bids. Lowball offers won’t likely get far. Some housing experts suggest starting with your best offer. "My advice is to offer the most you feel you would ever pay for the property," said one recent buyer of a foreclosure. 

Make a large deposit: If a buyer wants to get the banks attention, they could offer a larger than typical good-faith deposit. But if the buyer has to back out of the deal for some reason, he or she may be at risk of losing the deposit. 

Even if your buyers really want the property, don’t let them cave in to unreasonable demands, like waiving a home inspection. Otherwise, it may be a decision they quickly regret if the home is later found to be ripe with problems. 

Source: “How to Beat the Competition and Buy a Foreclosure,” Sun Sentinel (Fla.) (Feb. 5, 2012)

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