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Things that You Should Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home

Buying a foreclosed home is a good way to either make money or gain immediate equity in a home for many people. If you are just getting started, you need to know all the possible risks that come along with buying foreclosures.

Buying foreclosed home is a good way to either make money or gain immediate equity in a home.  Because a large amount of money will be put into buying a home, it is important that you make it earn for you.  By buying low and selling high, foreclosures could be a moneymaker.

If you are just getting started, you need to learn all the possible pitfalls that come along with buying a foreclosed home. Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind before you get started.

The first thing you need to check when you find a foreclosed home that you think you may be interested in is to go and look at the neighborhood.  Don't go any further until you've done this.  The real estate slogan ‘location, location, location’ holds just as true for purchasing any type of home. The house may be beautiful, may be grand, but be sure to look at the other houses in the neighborhood. If they are in decline or are in poor condition, your house will be more difficult to sell. An old Golden rule, “You want to be a Chevy in a Cadillac neighborhood” Why? Either your neighbors will bring your home value up or they can bring them down. Unless the neighborhood has some special purpose or meaning to you that brings other value to the table, look for homes that are on the lower level of the average cost in the neighborhood.

Second, check to see how close schools are to the neighborhood your house is in. Does the school have a good reputation? Other amenities to consider are shopping, parks, and possible neighborhood upgrades. Is shopping close by? Is there a neighborhood park for the kids? Is the city going to revitalize this area of the city? All of these issues will have an impact on how quickly you can sell the house and for how much. All of the points mentioned above will either bring value to the home or take value away.

Next, you need to consider how much repair the property needs.  Remember, homes that need many repairs are the best opportunities to either make a lot of money or lose a lot of money. Why?

  1. These homes are priced better because fewer people want to deal with all the work that it will take to repair them.
  2. Most people have a hard time imagining what it will look like when it is completed. The fewer people that the home appeals too, the more difficult it is to sell. Therefore, they lower the price to try to attract more buyers.
  3. When you have purchased the home correctly and have done the repairs properly, you will end up with a home that is freshly remodeled to your taste at below market value. The most important things to know in purchasing these types of homes is to make sure you know ALL the costs that you will incur BEFORE you make any offer. Secondly, make sure that the contractor that gave you all the costs is the right contractor for the job.

You can find the best deals in two different situations:

  1. Get the listing when it first hits the market. Sometimes a realtor makes a mistake or the Asset Manager just wants a house off its books. Either way, it is priced right. You must be ready to act on it and you need to be at the right place at the right time because these homes do not stay on the market long.
  2. The second senerio takes a little more work and a little less luck. You often see those homes that have been on the market for more than 3 or 4 months. A home that has been on the market that long is obvious overpriced for what it is. The Asset Manager is tired of managing them and their boss is probably on their back to move them. In this case, there is a play to make them a low-ball offer with a quick closing. It does not work all the time but it dose work often enough to track those homes.
When you are about to make an offer to the bank on a foreclosed property, it is important to show the bank that you are serious and you are in a financial position to go through with your offer. Remember the Assets Managers who manage these properties manage many others as well. Therefore, when an offer comes in to the Asset Manager and the offer comes with a pre-approval and a good amount of earnest money, they are more likely to look at your offer in a more favorable light.

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Rick Merlini, is a certified professional master builder and real estate sales trainer. He is a two time builder for Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and a record holder for building a 3900 square foot home in 53 hours and 54 minutes. His company, Foreclosure Made EZ can help you with purchasing foreclosed properties. For more information on buying foreclosure homes, visit

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