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.

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.

How Any Real Estate Agent Can Generate New Leads & Listings from Foreclosures

The title to this article is a pretty bold statement, but if you’ll allow me a couple of minutes of your time today, I’ll show you how you can take advantage of a brand-new Real Estate niche that most Agents don’t know about. It’s not that they aren’t aware of it; it’s just that they haven’t put two & two together.

This new source of Real Estate Leads could mean another 100 – 600 new, very motivated (Seller) Leads that are desperate for your professional help. And that’s only for a market of 100,000 homes. You’re market could have even more.

Why hasn’t this opportunity been available before?

Well, before now all the pieces were not readily available. Today, the technology is in place, the turnkey business-in-a-box-training-systems are available, and the market for this business is very ripe & growing.

Foreclosures will be the next big thing in Real Estate Leads

We are often asked by our Coaches Corner{tm} Newsletter Subscribers (350,000+): “What’s the next big thing going to be for Real Estate Agents?”

Well, if you asked me that question specific to Real Estate Lead Generation, I’d have to say Foreclosures & PreForeclosures are going to be the next big thing for New Real Estate Lead Generation.

You’ve probably already heard that Real Estate Foreclosures, as of April 2007 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report (published by RealtyTrac® – the #1 online authority for Foreclosure data), are up by 62% nationwide from April 2006. Some states are up by as much as 3,325% (New Hampshire).

Real Estate Foreclosures Rates continue to grow

Recently USA Today printed an article about the fact that 75% of the new home mortgages in California are No-Doc-Loans (some industry experts call them liar-loans). These No-Doc-Loans allow the homeowner to use stated income and often allow them to borrow more money at higher debt-to-income ratios than they could traditionally. The no-doc loans have become very prevalent in the last couple of years and are now widely used nationwide.

In my opinion, the majority of these liar-loans are Real Estate Foreclosures in embryo. It’s likely just a matter of time before the homeowners get into trouble and fall into Foreclosure.

Over a Million Real Estate Foreclosures Each Year

According to RealtyTrac®, with whom we’ve established an exclusive partnership, the number of Foreclosures will likely exceed 1.2 million this year if we continue at this pace. To read the complete May 15th, 2007 press release for RealtyTrac®’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report click here.

What this means for the average Real Estate Agent in a market with 100,000 households is that about 127 new properties will enter some state of Foreclosure per month. Some of the not-so-average counties will see 431 new foreclosures per month for those same 100,000 households. So, that means that there will be 14 new Real Estate Foreclosure Listings per day per 100,000 households.

If you had the home seller information in a timely manner and were equipped to deal with this specific type of lead, it could mean 100 – 500 brand new leads every month in a market with 100,000 households.

Most Real Estate Agents don’t know how to handle prospects in Foreclosure and usually see them as junk prospects. So, there’s very little competition for you in this niche if you become a Real Estate Foreclosure Expert.

Couple that with a very highly motivated home seller, and you have a recipe for New Lead Generation Success.

Do you know your State’s Foreclosure Rate? If it’s only the national average, you’ll have 1 Foreclosure for every 783 households like quite a bit of the country? How many households do you have in your market, and what does that equate to in Foreclosures? A whole lot no matter where you live!

The Foreclosure Rates are growing almost everywhere and there are already an enormous amount of potential leads for you where you live, so take action and equip yourself with as much information as you can on Real Estate Foreclosures. The information will help you carve out a brand new niche in Real Estate Foreclosures in your area and help you grow your Real Estate Business.

Current Trends in Texas Foreclosures and Real Estate

There were 57,000 foreclosures that were completed in Texas between February 2012 and February 2013, which ranks Texas fourth nationally in completed foreclosures for the period. Out of 5,411 Texas foreclosure filings in the month of February 2013, 3,252 filings were foreclosure starts. This suggests that despite a 43.36% decrease in foreclosure notices filed in February 2013 over February 2012, the market for distressed property in Texas will continue to remain active.

Sensing localized recoveries in the Texas housing market, mortgage lenders are moving in and expanding operations in the state, particularly in North Texas. This could prove to be a boon to first time homebuyers as well as foreclosure investors looking to realize value on the purchase of distressed property, especially as interest rates remain low and inventory stays strong.

Positive Economic Indicators Support Strengthening North Texas Real Estate Market

North Texas by many measures remains the strongest local market. In North Texas, the average sale price in February 2013 was 94.0% of the original list price, a 1.9% increase as a percentage of list price over February 2012. Overall, pre-owned home sales were up 14% year over year, with prices 8% higher in February 2013 than in February 2012. The higher average sale prices are partly due to a more restricted supply, with the housing inventory falling to 3.6 months in February 2013 as compared to an inventory of 5.6 months in February 2012.

Austin is another area where the real estate market is gaining strength. Sales were up 26% year over year in February, while the median price for listed homes was up 7% during the same period, to $208,500. The competitive market resulted in a drastic reduction in inventory, which stood at just 2.6 months at the end of February. Townhouses and condominium units shared in the gains, with 31% more units sold in February 2013 than February 2012. Strong gains in employment rates as greater numbers of people relocate to Austin are likely supporting the increases in real estate activity, as Austin boasted just 5.4% unemployment in February 2013. Still, there are contracts waiting for distressed real estate buyers who know where to look.

Advantageous Markets to Pursue Texas Foreclosures and Distressed Real Estate Transactions

An assessment of the outlook for distressed real estate performed by Cole Schotz predicts Dallas will be within the top markets for distressed real estate throughout 2013. Median list prices in Dallas are at $205,000, a 5.39% increase year over year. However, in light of a 20.34% drop year over year in active listings, this increase is quite modest. The delinquency rate for Dallas mortgages also remains high, reported at 4.28% in January 2013, suggesting that more distressed properties are entering foreclosures in Texas pipeline in this market.

El Paso may be one of the most promising places to look for distressed property in Texas, with 8.79% of all sales in 2012 taking place on foreclosed homes. The average discount realized on these sold properties was 17.80% despite a 93.42% increase in foreclosure activity in the area. Foreclosure discounts in McAllen, Texas were also high in 2012, at 21.49%; however, the foreclosure activity in McAllen decreased substantially in 2012 from 2011, falling 65.90%.

The overall economic outlook in Texas is strongly positive. In February 2013, the state saw its largest monthly job gains ever recorded, with 80,600 new jobs added, adjusted for seasonal variations. The regenerating job market and the strengthening real estate market, on the whole, point to opportunities for investment gains on distressed real estate for those who buy during this recovery.