Home foreclosures are a hot topic these days. But what many of the reports on the increasing number of foreclosures seem to neglect to mention is what happens to properties after foreclosure. Since foreclosed properties are often sold at reduced prices buying a foreclosed property may be worth considering. However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of before you sign on the dotted line.
A foreclosed property is one that is owned by the lending institution or government agency that backed a now-defaulted loan. For one reason or another, the owner failed to make payments on the loan and the lender foreclosed on the loan and took possession of the property. The lender now has the title to the property and can sell it to someone else. Mortgages on all types of properties, including single-family homes and condominiums, can be foreclosed.
Finding foreclosed property may be easier than you think. Some institutions advertise their foreclosed properties; others deal strictly through real estate agents. Real estate agents usually have a current list of the foreclosed homes in their area. There are also Web sites that can help you find foreclosed properties on your own. These include www.1stforeclosure.com and www.foreclosurefreesearch.com, as well as government Web sites, such as www.hud.gov/homes/homesforsale.cfm.
The Federal Housing Administration usually sells its foreclosed properties through an auction announced in newspaper classifieds. On the day of the auction, potential buyers submit bids accompanied by a certified check for a percentage of the bid price. However, before you put in an offer, make sure you have done your homework and, if possible, consulted with an experienced attorney or real estate agent. You should put as much, if not more, consideration into the purchase of a foreclosed property as you would for a traditional real estate purchase.
Buying a foreclosed property can be risky if you are not familiar with the procedures involved. Safeguards that are present in a traditional sale, such as the presence of a lender and a title insurance company (both of whom will share your interest in making sure the title is clear and the value sufficient), may not be involved in a foreclosure sale. The condition of the foreclosed property can be an additional drawback. Sometimes the first owner who was unable to keep up on payments was also unable to maintain the home properly. Nevertheless, a foreclosed piece of real estate just may be the right purchase for you, assuming you are aware of the pitfalls and are fully prepared to meet them.
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