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Foreclosure Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Foreclosure?

A Foreclosure occurs when a homeowner misses his or her payments and defaults on the mortgage. Property in foreclosure is often referred to as “distressed” because the owner is in financial distress and is behind on his or her payments. The owner’s financial distress can be caused by a variety of unfortunate circumstances. This often results in a bargain buying opportunity for a well-informed homebuyer or investor, who can end up helping the homeowner avoid serious credit problems.

How does the Foreclosure process occur?

A foreclosure doesn’t just happen overnight. A typical foreclosure timeline can extend over several months. Each stage of the foreclosure process offers different types of opportunities for the buyer. The three stages of the Foreclosure process are (1) Pre-Foreclosure (2) Foreclosure Sale/Auction and (3) REO or Real Estate Owned by the Bank. Our site offers information and listings for all three phases of the Foreclosure process.

What is a Pre Foreclosure?

Pre foreclosure represents the first stage in the foreclosure process.
In this phase, the homeowner has missed at least one payment and is now considered delinquent on the loan. A pre foreclosure can also be referred to as a NOD (notice of default) or Lis Pendens, which is a formal warning sent to the borrower on a loan regarding the delinquent payment(s).

What is a Foreclosure Sale (Auction)?

The auction is the stage of the foreclosure process after the pre-foreclosure phase of the property has ended.
You can attend an auction (typically at the steps of the county courthouse) and bid on the home, just like any other auction.
During an auction, the lender is now seeking to recapture its losses by auctioning the property in a public sale to the highest bidder. At an auction sale, buyers are typically required to pay in cash and have little time to research the property beforehand. However, an auction sale can offer some of the best bargains, often times as much as 35 to 50 percent below market value.

What is REO Property?

REO stands for Real Estate Owned (by the Bank.) REO properties are another great opportunity to purchase foreclosures. The REO stage is the process after the auction, when the lender is either the successful bidder or there are no bids at all. In either case, the bank becomes the legal property owner and the property is considered a “non-performing asset” of the bank, which is a fancy way of saying the bank doesn’t want to hold on to the property. This means a solid buying opportunity for you, the homebuyer. While buying property from the bank is the easiest way to purchase a foreclosure, the savings opportunities are typically less than buying a pre-foreclosure or auction property.

What is a HUD Home?

HUD is a shorthand term for the U.S. Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing, free from discrimination, for low- and moderate-income Americans. When someone with a HUD-insured mortgage cannot meet the payments, the lender forecloses on the home, HUD takes ownership of the home and pays the lender what is owed. HUD then sells the home as quickly as possible, often at a discounted price.
There is real potential for significant savings in buying HUD's foreclosed property.

HUD Homes are sold “as-is,” without warranty. That means that HUD will not pay to correct any problems. Even if a HUD Home needs fixing up (and not all of them do), it can be a real bargain! For example, HUD’s asking price on the home will reflect the fact that the buyer will have to invest money to make improvements. HUD might offer special incentives such as an allowance to upgrade the property, a moving expense allowance, or a bonus for closing the sale early. Keep in mind that on most sales, the buyer can request HUD to pay all or a portion of the financing and closing costs. Your real estate agent will have details. We encourage you to get the home professionally inspected before you make an offer so you will know what repairs you may have to make BEFORE you submit your bid.

What is a FSBO?

FSBO is shorthand for “For Sale by Owner” and is pronounced fizzbo. It is normally used to describe a homeowner who sells his or her home without the services of a real estate agent. Across the country, a growing percentage (estimated at 14%) of homeowners are discovering how easy and economical it is to sell their home without a real estate agent. By selling without a real estate agent, homeowners save thousands of dollars on commissions and often pass some of those savings to the homebuyer to make a quick sale.

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