Well, the first thing that you should be looking forward to, when you potentially wanting to purchasing a foreclosed home, is spending weeks and maybe even months of diligent research. The opportunities presented in finding foreclosure homes often fall under the old adage, “If something sounds a little too good to be true, then it probably is.” What is true regarding some foreclosed homes available these days is that they will sell anywhere from 30% to 40% below market value, or sometimes even more. But according to some real estate investor experts and publications, “Most foreclosed homes sell just at 5% below market value.”
Location, Location, Location
If you are looking for foreclosure property opportunities strictly for investment, then the best route would be for you to review up to five years or more of the neighborhood real estate sales history and prices in that area. Have those homes appreciated sufficiently over time to make your investment risk worthwhile? The foreclosure property doesn’t necessarily have to be in an exclusive neighborhood, but it should be located in an economically stable area. This isn’t an issue of who’s moving in and who’s moving out, but how much that’s being paid for the homes when they are changing hands.
One other factor that you should consider, if you are looking for foreclosure homes in say the Southeast of the United States, is the escalating cost of homeowner’s insurance and coverage for windstorms. You may be able to find some great house bargains in that area known as the ‘Hurricane Lane’. These prices are below market value, but you may also find yourself buying a home you can’t afford to insure. You will also find some areas of the country where flood insurance is no longer available.
Physical Condition Of Home
Consider why most homes go into foreclosure. Most people begin losing their hold on their homes by struggling to meet the monthly mortgage payments for an extended period of time. That most likely means that the home has received little or no maintenance during that time, and the property that you are inspecting may appear to be in pretty poor shape. If the house is not in the greatest location however, ignore the condition of the house, but take note of the obvious signs of major deterioration, and incorporate maintenance and rebuilding costs into your calculations.
Analyze the Competition
Keep in mind when looking into foreclosure homes, that just as in any other commercial real estate market, you’re most likely bidding against professional investors. These are the people who make a living from buying and then flipping foreclosed properties, by cleaning them up and putting them right back on the real estate market. These experienced professionals may not always be willing to bid near the true market value for the neighborhood. But with any property in a great area, you are not going to walk away with a “steal” anyways. Make sure you take a look at recent foreclosures in the area the home is located and see if you can see a pattern in the successful bids. Check to see how far below market value they are.
Make Sure The Houses Are ‘Clean Title’
With any foreclosed property, you will need to inspect closely, the condition of the property’s title. Make sure to check if there are any outstanding liens on it. If at all possible, determine if the former owner of the house is embroiled in any lawsuits that could possibly lead to a challenge of the sale of the foreclosure and tie up the property or even reverse the sale. In theory, once any piece of property reaches the foreclosure stage, it’s going to the market unencumbered. But that means absolutely nothing to an attorney who wants to delay disbursement of the former owner’s asset. Know that ‘delay’ is the key operative word here; if you are going to invest in a foreclosure property, you need to be able to put it to work for you with total dispatch.