Foreclosure Real Estate Purchase Contract – What to Expect

A foreclosed home is one in which the home owner was unable to pay his home loan so that the lender took over home ownership through the foreclosure process. These bank owned properties are also known as REOs (real estate owned).

The process in Arizona is similar to that in other states and will be the basis for this article. When you work with a real estate agent he will write up your purchase offer with you on a standardized contract which was developed by the Arizona Association of Realtors. The contract allows the agent to customize the contract for your particular purchase and has many built in protections for both the buyer and the seller.

When you make an offer for a foreclosed property, you can expect to receive back from the seller (the bank currently owning the property) an addendum to the contract. These addendums are in essence a counter offer that the buyer must accept if he wants to purchase the property. In some cases the seller will negotiate with the buyer over these terms but most sellers expect the buyer to agree to their terms. We have seen a wide variety of addendums in the past year as we have worked with buyers. In all of them, many of the protections for the buyer in the standard contract are eliminated or modified. Here are some of the things we are seeing.

Inspection Period

In the standard contract, the inspection period lasts ten days from the date the contract has been signed by both parties. We have seen addendums that change that to be ten days from verbal acceptance of the contract and have even seen a five day inspection period that must be completed before the buyer signs and accepts the addendums.

Title/Escrow Company

The seller will typically require the buyer to utilize the escrow company of the seller’s choice. Usually using this company helps facilitate the timeliness of the transaction because the escrow company is familiar with the seller’s requirements.

AS/IS & Disclosures

When you purchase an owner occupied property, you will usually get a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. This will provide information about the property and a history of repairs done. When you buy a foreclosure property, the seller has not occupied the property and typically will not provide any disclosure statements. Additionally, the buyer is generally required to purchase the property in its current condition “as is” and the seller will not make any repairs. If something is missing such as a kitchen appliance or garage door openers the seller will not provide it. What you see is what you get. Read the addendum carefully to understand what the seller will be responsible for if the property is damaged during the escrow period. The escrow period spans the time from when the contract is agreed upon by both parties until the sale records (close of escrow).

Cost for Extension of Close of Escrow

Most of these addenda have a per diem charge if you need to extend the close of escrow beyond the date in the original contract. The most common reason buyers need to ask for an extension of the closing date is that the lender has not completed loan processing and delivered loan documents to title several days prior to closing to allow time for both the seller and the buyer to sign. We have seen costs ranging from $40 to $100 per day.

Loan Approval

The Arizona contract allows for a return of earnest money deposited by the buyer if after a good faith attempt to obtain a loan at prevailing market rates to purchase the property the buyer is unable to do so. Some addendums are limiting the buyer’s time to obtain loan approval to a set number of days from contract acceptance, for example 25 days. If the buyer does not notify the seller of his inability to obtain a loan within that time frame, he will forfeit his earnest money to the seller. This holds true even if the inability to obtain the loan had nothing to do with the buyer’s financial qualifications. We have seen loans turned down in the past few months for condo purchases because the community had too low a percentage of owner occupied units or the HOA was not financially solid or some cases for both of these reasons.

Tenants or Other Occupants

Most of these properties will be vacant; however, if you see evidence that someone is living in the property when you are viewing it and prior to writing an offer, you need to ask questions. Who is living in the property? If the property has been rented, what are the terms of the lease? We’ve seen addenda that indicate that the seller will not evict any occupants of the property and that it will be the responsibility or the buyer once he has purchased the property. You should also be aware that tenants have rights too. Be very cautious about writing an offer for a foreclosure property that is occupied.

What Does the Buyer Need to Do?

It is very important for the buyer to read the entire addendum provided by the seller prior to signing. If he has questions about the addendum he should ask his real estate agent for clarification. He should also verify that his real estate agent has read the entire addendum and made note of key dates.

Ways to Stop a Foreclosure and Stay in Your Home For Free Indefinitely Even When Nothing Else Worked

There are a number of ways you can delay foreclosure and by reading on you will learn many ways to stop a foreclosure. By doing this right you will be able to stay in your home for a very long period of time without making mortgage payments. Just make sure that you know how to deal with every situation and use the legalities behind the foreclosure process.

Obama’s Mortgage Modification Program is not really working as it should be. More than 90% of homeowners here in the U.S. are now facing possible foreclosure and are not being considered by this program because they are failing the requirements to qualify.

There are ways to stop a foreclosure and delay the procedure so you can stay in your own property for a longer period of time. This is actually easy if you have the correct information at your disposal. You can even do it by yourself without a lawyer. One thing to keep in mind is to never sign any document about it and to never leave your home behind.

A lot of people are victimized by scammer during this vulnerable period of the process. You will be surprised that a lot of homeowners get scammed by being offered a short sale or a quick fix to this problem. These won’t save your home so beware of predators taking advantage of the situation that you are in.

Here are some tips that you may use to delay the foreclosure process:

Answering the foreclosure Notice:

A hardship letter is definitely one of the most used strategies not only used to get considered for mortgage modification but to get you more time in your home or property.

Use all time that you may get:

First avoid the receiving of the foreclosure notice for as long as you can. This little tip can get you months in your house. If they can’t get you to sign the letter, they will have to use other means to proceed.

If the summon has already received, then you have approximately 20 days to reply to the foreclosure notice sent by the court. Don’t reply immediately, wait about two weeks or so before your answer the notice.

By doing this you get an additional month or so that you can use to plan ahead. Keep in mind that this notice needs to be signed and received by a member of the household to be legal. Knowing this would be a great advantage for you.

A Hearing:

After exhausting some preliminary options you can request for a hearing. Requesting a hearing in your local Circuit Court would also give you additional time. Some very informed people have used this strategy effectively to stay in their homes for up to a year.

Closing Contracts.

There are other very effective strategies to delay the foreclosure process like revising your housing contracts for errors. Most Closing Contracts contain errors and mistakes and if used properly this could stop the foreclosure process right on its tracks for even more that a year.

Knowing the ways to stop a foreclosure is just one part of it. Knowing what to do in the right situation would delay the foreclosure process for more than 3 years. These tips have been proven useful by other homeowners and you too can start using these strategies to stay in your home longer.

Stopping a Foreclosure in Massachusetts by Filing a Complaint or Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Efforts by Massachusetts homeowners to stop foreclosure sales gained valuable traction from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s recent request that lenders and loan servicers suspend foreclosures in light of recent disclosures of widespread abuse among financial institutions. The widespread publicity in the media regarding misconduct by financial institutions offers ammunition for homeowners who wish to stop a foreclosure sale by filing a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction in court.

Because Massachusetts is a “non-judicial” foreclosure state, the foreclosure process proceeds extremely quickly (often, in as little as 90 days) and with essentially no judicial oversight unless a homeowner files a legal action in court to stop the foreclosure process. This may be done by the filing of a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction. Sample Massachusetts foreclosure defense forms, including complaints and preliminary injunction motions, are available for download.

The announcements by the Office of the Attorney General, together with the considerable protections offered by the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, provide powerful ammunition for stopping a foreclosure sale in Massachusetts. A Massachusetts homeowner trying to stop a foreclosure sale may raise a number of powerful arguments and causes of action, including:

  • Fraud/duress as a result of misrepresentations made to the homeowner by the initial lender at the time of the loan;
  • Illegality of the underlying loan due to its egregiously high costs that were deceptively withheld and/or concealed at the time of the loan;
  • Failure of the loan servicer to provide foreclosure notices required under Massachusetts law; and
  • Lack of standing (i.e., the financial institution does not possess the initial note and/or cannot produce a complete chain of assignments).

Complaints to stop foreclosure and motions for preliminary injunctions should be filed in the Superior Court for the county in which the property is located.

Foreclosure Process: The 3 Stages Real Estate Investors Need To Know

If you’re investing in real estate properties, then you have likely looked into the foreclosure process. The foreclosure market is teeming with incredible deals, and knowing the right stage to buy at will help you get make the most of your investment. Depending on your local economy, each stage will offer a different type of potential for your investment portfolio.

The Pre-foreclosure Stage

Pre-foreclosures are known as short sales in the real estate world. This is likely the most advantageous stage of the foreclosure process of investors because lenders are willing to work out better deals. Pre-foreclosures occur after the borrower has missed mortgage payments, but before the home goes to an auction sale. There are actually two stages of a short sale. The first is when the home owner defaults on his mortgage, or is more than 30 days late on his payment. The second part is when the home owner actually receives a legal letter known as a Notice of Default.

As a property investor, you want to find sellers who have actually received a Notice of Default on their mortgage because they are more than 3 months behind on payments and will likely work with you on a purchase. Before they receive this notice, sellers have ample opportunity to catch up their payments and cure their loans.

The Foreclosure Stage

The foreclosure stage begins after the home owner receives a notice of default and the lender takes legal action against them. They will be evicted from the home and the lender will seize the property. When this happens, the lender must place the home on the foreclosure auction. In some states this is known as a trustee sale.

Trustee sales are great because they give you a lot of bargaining power. Foreclosure notices are placed in the newspaper, allowing you plenty of time to research properties before you decide to bid on a house. Once you find a property you want to bid on, you can go the auction and place your bid.

The foreclosure auction does have many pitfalls, but if you do your research and understand the market, you can score really great homes in good neighborhoods. Many real estate investors use bidding services that will bid on homes for them. If you choose this route, all you need to provide is your requirements for a home and the bidding service will do the research for you.

The Post-foreclosure stage

After a home goes through the short sale and foreclosure auction stage, it ends up as a post-foreclosure property. This is known as a bank owned property or real estate owned REO. These homes end up back on the original lenders books as a non-performing asset. This essentially means they bank owns the home again, but isn’t making any money on it.

At this point the lender has spent a good deal of money going through foreclosure and they may actually try to recover fees and monies lost during foreclosure by taking them onto the sales price. At this stage, the home is selling for the highest price in the entire process.

One advantage to purchasing REO is that banks are highly motivated to get the property off their books. They are likely more willing to negotiate at this stage as the property is costing them money.

What is the Difference Between a Foreclosure Sale and an REO?

Due to the continuing economic depression, more and more people are losing their homes. The major reason for this is mortgage payments delinquency. Homeowners who have suddenly found themselves out of work or undergoing some financial difficulties are the ones who are experiencing this crisis. This leads to their properties being subjected to a foreclosure and later on, to a Real Estate Owned Sale. You might ask, what is the difference between a foreclosure and Real Estate Owned (REO) sale?

Here are the differences between a Foreclosure and an REO:

1. A foreclosure is a home that is not yet owned by the bank. Most homeowners attempt to sell their homes through a short sale, selling less than owed and seeking forgiveness of unpaid debt from the bank, while in an REO, the bank already owns the property and is motivated to sell it as soon as possible.

2. Homes sold through foreclosure are those that are owned by delinquent homeowners. The holder of the liens of the home has required the assistance of the court to repossess the home in order to terminate the borrower’s right to redeem. An REO is a home or property repossessed by the bank or a lender after an unsuccessful auction. These properties could be free from liens upon successful negotiations with the bank and other lien holders.

3. Foreclosed home sale is done through bidding in auction. The officer of the court or the sheriff initiates the process of bidding. The price initially starts to an amount equal to the borrower’s outstanding loan but does not exceed the property’s market value. Real estate owned properties are directly sold by the bank. They are expensive compared to a foreclosure since lenders are willing to take all opportunity for them to regain their losses.

4. When it comes to the eviction process, in a foreclosure, the sheriff performs the eviction while in a real estate owned property sale, the bank initiates the eviction which involves an eviction coordinator.

5. Buyers of a foreclosed property may have several competitions in bidding. The property’s deed is given to the bidder with the highest bid price. Homebuyers in an REO may negotiate the price with the bank or the mortgage lender. They are also assured that the home is free of all lines. Plus, buyers can freely move-in anytime after sale is made since the home will be vacant by the time of the sale.

The cost of the property for both sales are fairly low than in a normal buying process. An REO may have a smoother buying process compared to that of a foreclosure.

If you are wishing to buy a home, it is vital to remember that the main thing that differentiates an foreclosure from an REO, is the responsibility for you as a potential homeowner. Buying real estate owned properties you are assured that the property is clear and free. When a home goes back to the bank or the lender after it remained unsold in an auction, the lender or the bank will have to shoulder all the debts, tax liens and other fees and payments connected with the said property. The best possible way for the bank is to sell it at foreclosure since in a foreclosure, the buyer gets the property as it is, without renovations needed and takes on the responsibility of all unpaid dues and taxes on the property.

A foreclosure property may have several risks involved. It is better to leave it to professional real estaet investors who know a great deal about foreclosure homes and the process involved.