Now that you have a bit of background on foreclosures from Part 1, let’s move on to foreclosure research. You’re probably asking yourself, “what is the first step?” The next phase of the process is all about doing your research. In other words, it’s time to do your homework.
Probably the most important step you can take is to find a REALTOR with experience in foreclosures. You will want to find one other than the Listing Agent. Now you are saying “Why, doesn’t the Listing Agent know the process?” Yes and no! The Listing Agent represents the seller, who, in the case of a foreclosure, is the lender. They will be looking out for the lenders best interest, which means they may try to downplay any negatives that you might find and bring up. After all, their job is to get the best offer they can for their seller. Find a Buyers Representative with foreclosure experience. They will be looking out for your interests, from beginning to end. They may also be able to point things out that you haven’t even considered.
Have your REALTOR schedule a showing. Foreclosures are usually vacant, so getting in is pretty easy. The biggest challenge is finding a time that works for you and your Agent.
ASK QUESTIONS! Don’t be afraid to ask your questions. Your agent may not know the answers, but a good one will try to find the answers for you. A note of caution, most foreclosures don’t have complete information available, so foreclosure research isn’t always easy. After all, the seller is a lender, often from out of the state. Having never lived in the house, they honestly don’t have the information to share. Sometimes, and it will depend on what records are available, your Agent will be able to find some of the information by going to the Town Offices in person and doing some research.
Make a list of what you see that must be done to make the house livable. Does it need major structural repairs before you could move in or is it mainly cosmetic work that needs to be done? Keep an open mind! Most foreclosures need a lot of work. Make sure your list includes what you will be able to do yourself and what you might have to hire a contractor for. Be as realistic as possible, as you don’t want to end up with a home you can’t afford to repair.
Listen to what YOUR Agent has to say. If they tell you that there is time, take the time to think and do your foreclosure research before any offer is made. Weigh the pros and cons of the property. Is it the right one for you? You are the only one who can determine that! Not your agent.
Now sleep on it and Part 3 will be coming!