Right now, foreclosures are at an all time high, which basically translates into more opportunities for the savvy investor. Since foreclosures are increasing, this is the perfect time to jump into this because there will be more and more lenders discounting properties. It is safe to say that most lenders will accept a short sale, however, you may come across one or two lenders who will not discount. If the numbers work out for the lender they will do it.

What is a Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is to shut out, to bar, to extinguish a mortgagor’s right of redeeming a mortgaged estate. It is a termination of all rights of the homeowner covered by a mortgage. Foreclosure is a process in which the estate becomes the absolute property of the lending institution.

Foreclosure is applied to any method of enforcing payment of the debt secured by a mortgage, by taking and selling the estate. Borrowers and lenders now face a challenging situation. Both seek a compromise that permits a win-win outcome. The borrower to keep his home or business, the lender to keep receiving mortgage payments.

Are Foreclosures on the Rise?

Foreclosure numbers are growing daily. Of the one hundred twenty or so million homes in America, more than 4% or roughly 4.8 million of them are facing foreclosure. This may be due to several reasons. Unemployment, divorce, medical challenges, terms of the loan, sick of property management, and even death.

Some of these homeowners are able to work their way out of foreclosure, however, according to MBA there were about 500,000 homes that went through foreclosure last year. Foreclosure threatens these homeowners because they are late or seriously behind on their mortgage payments.

How do I buy Foreclosures?

Find an agent experienced in foreclosures. Some sellers won’t accept offers from unrepresented buyers.

Search for foreclosure listings in real estate magazines, newsletters, newspapers and Internet search engines. Call lenders for real estate owned (REO) properties lists of foreclosures. Government agencies such as Fannie Mae (fanniemae.com) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud.gov) also advertise foreclosed homes for sale. Check public records for other leads. A lender deciding to foreclose must file a notice of default in the local county clerk’s office.

Tour the property and inspect it as closely as possible. Some foreclosures–unlike fixer-uppers–are in fairly good shape. Others may be behind in maintenance.

Source:  eHow.com – How to buy foreclosures.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is when a lender accepts a discount on a mortgage to avoid a possible foreclosure auction or bankruptcy. Instead of buying from a seller, you are purchasing the property directly from the lender for a discount. For example: A homeowner, who is facing foreclosure, has an existing first mortgage of $300,000. You write an offer to the lender for $220,000, which is accepted as full payment for the loan. This is a short sale.

Why are Banks willing to take large discounts?

Several reasons. First of all, banks do not like excess inventory and bad loans on their books; therefore, if they see an opportunity where they can sell the property without a huge loss, they will do it. Secondly, lenders know they could lose a lot more money if the property goes to auction. There are so many fees involved if the property goes to auction, that they would be better off taking the discount beforehand and be finished with the headache of it all.

What is the Best Timing to Initiate a Short Sale?

It is best to do a short sale when the property is in the pre-foreclosure state. Yes, you can perform a short sale when the bank owns the property, however your profits will more than likely be smaller. There are two stages within pre-foreclosure.

The first stage of a pre-foreclosure starts when individuals get behind on payments, and the second stage is when the lender initiates action by sending notice of default. In order for anyone to successfully get a short sale, you must find the homeowners who are in the second stage of pre-foreclosure or more than 3 payments behind on their mortgage. Once the notice of default has been recorded, banks become motivated as well, so you are more likely to get a discount. Until that time, very rarely will a bank ever discount a mortgage that soon. Why would they? The homeowners still have time to cure the loan and make up the back payments.

Does the Condition of the Property Affect a Short Sale?

It does not matter what type of house or condition it’s in, all mortgages can be discounted. The best properties to perform a short sale on are the houses that need lots of work and repairs because lenders will give you a bigger discount if they see they are viewed as “don’t wanters”.

Properties that are over leveraged, or upside down (meaning what is owed for the property exceeds the present market value) are also prime candidates. Most rookie investors who see a house over leveraged with an upside-down mortgage may think there is no hope for this property. On the other hand, this is a sweet deal to the savvy investor. Properties with large 2nd mortgages are also treated as gold because the 2nd mortgage is wiped out at the foreclosure auction. Lenders with a 2nd and 3rd mortgage position would rather have something than nothing.

FAQs Information Source: Foreclosure University


Information for FAQs is a reprint of material provided by other web sources, and should not be considered as authoritative, or legal, advice. Please consult an attorney prior to making any real estate transaction decisions.