Hi folks. How often have you had Buyers call you wanting to buy a foreclosure? Usually, when this happens to me it's first time homebuyers who are really just looking for a "deal". Of course many times they also have no money.
When this happens I spend time with them on the phone explaining how difficult it is to purchase a foreclosed property. Not only is it difficult but if it's a "good deal" you are going to need to have strong finances to even have a shot at getting it. Investors buy the "good deals" and they play with cash.
Foreclosures can be a good opportunity to purchase a property below market value but they really aren't for the inexperienced Buyer. If you have no money and need the Seller to pay all of your closing costs, then more than likely, you will NOT get a "good deal" in the foreclosure market. It can be done but you will certainly want to work with an experienced agent and you will want to make sure you have been approved for a mortgage before shopping.
You will also have to move fast. The property will be sold "As Is" with right to inspect. You will want to have it inspected and be prepared to walk away if you are not in a position to pay for repairs. You will not be reimbursed for inspection costs if you don‘t close on it.
Janet Guilbault wrote a post earlier this week about one of the pitfalls of purchasing a foreclosure, the dreaded per diem penalty!!! Unlike a normal purchase, if the closing is delayed the Buyer will be required to pay a penalty for every day the deal doesn't close beyond the contractual closing date. This is usually $100 to $200 per day! And if you can't close it at all……kiss your deposit good bye.
I wrote an offer on a foreclosure property this week for one of my Buyers. The nine page bank addendum, in addition to the per diem clause, also had this little gem in it:
SELLER'S UNCONDITIONAL RIGHT TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT AND/OR ADDENDUM:
AT ANY TIME AFTER THE EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT AND/OR ADDENDUM, SELLER SHALL HAVE THE UNLIMITED RIGHT AND AT IT'S COMPLETE DISCRETION, TO ELECT TO DEEM THE CONTRACT AND/OR ADDENDUM BETWEEN THE BUYER AND SELLER NULL AND VOID AND NOT CLOSE THE TRANSACTION FOR ANY REASON AND THE PARTIES SHALL BE RESTORED TO THEIR ORIGINAL POSITION AS IF THE CONTRACT AND/OR ADDENDUM NEVER EXISTED.
SHOULD SELLER EXERCISE IT'S DECISION TO NULLIFY THE CONTRACT AND/OR ADDENDUM, THEN SELLER SHALL RETURN THE DEPOSIT AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH B(5) TO THE BUYER. HOWEVER, IT IS SELLER'S SOLE DISCRETION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT WILL REIMBURSE THE BUYER FOR ANY COSTS, AS OUTLINED IN PARAGRAPH 6(B), OR OTHERWISE.
THE BUYER AGREES THAT SHOULD THE SELLER CANCEL THE SALE FOR ANY REASON THAT THEY WAIVE THEIR RIGHT TO SUE FOR SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE AND/OR DAMAGES AND FULLY RELEASE THE SELLER AS FURTHER SET FORTH IN RELEASE CONTAINED WITHIN PARAGARPH W HEREIN.
This clause basically states that the Seller can back out of the contract at anytime prior to closing for any reason at all. They will give the deposit back but may or may not reimburse the Buyer for any costs they have paid i.e inspections, survey and appraisal.
The Buyer is obligated to perform under the contract the Seller isn't.
We removed this clause when we made the offer but the Bank refused to negotiate with us if we made any changes on their addendum. So we put it back in and agreed to it.
Fortunately, my Buyer is very experienced, is paying cash and is willing to take the risk to purchase a property 20% below market value. We can only hope that the Bank doesn't find a better deal before my Buyer has a chance to close. We want to close in 10 days to limit the risk. So we'll see how it turns out.
The point of this post is to be very careful when negotiating on Bank owned properties(REOs). Make sure to read every word of that Bank addendum and make sure your Buyer fully understands what rights they are giving up.
Buying foreclosures can be a good way to get a "deal". Just make sure you know what you are getting into. They are not for the inexperienced. In my market you do not have to buy a foreclosure to get a "good deal". There are better and safer ways to buy Real Estate. Find a good and experienced REALTOR® to help you out. Better yet……call Broker Bryant! Any thoughts?
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