If you are a house hunter who isn’t reluctant to dig in and roll up your sleeves, it could be worth your while to take a look at “bank-owned” offerings. Deciding to do that is less popular than you’d think.
Bank-owned is a word that can summon up all sorts of negative connotations, causing even people who usually think of themselves as unemotional to hang back. Like “REO” (short for real estate-owned, a synonym for bank-owned), it is applied to area homes whose ownership has been reclaimed by the lender. Foreclosures and real estate auctions that follow are never jolly circumstances, so many don’t even consider looking at the subject residences.
It is partly because of the inauspicious histories that such properties can carry with them that the majority of home seekers automatically shy away. Yet it can be forcefully argued that, especially for prospective homeowners who are on the lookout for bargains, the “bank-owned” moniker ought to draw special attention. Our bank-owned homes usually take some additional care in how they are examined and purchased, but they can also present value that is worth the extra effort.
Because a bank-owned home is being offered for sale by the lending institution that holds its deed, the precise way any one can be purchased varies depending upon the policies of the company involved. Some of the mythology about homes that have been through foreclosure are not true — for instance, it is not usually true that only cash offers will be considered, or that an auction will be involved (usually that phase has already come and gone).
What IS definitely true is that bank-owned homes have a better-than-average chance of needing some level of rehabilitation. On the other hand, if a bank is selling the property, it’s a safe bet that any cloud on the title (a second or third mortgage or other creditor liens) has been dealt with. It can be the case that a bank comes into possession because of just that kind of problem — and any newly created “freed value” might be had by a new owner at a head-turning discount.
The paths to buying bank-owned homes can require patience and an experienced hand at residential negotiations, so if you are considering going after one yourself, be sure to pick a real estate agent with the requisite background. That’s true in any house-hunting endeavor, of course — and a reason I hope you’ll give me a call!