How the banks sell REO/ bank owned properties:
Each bank/lender works a little differently, but they all have similar goals. They want to get the best price possible and have no interest in “dumping” real estate cheaply. Generally, banks have an entire department set up to manage their REO inventory.
Once you make an offer to purchase, banks generally present a “counter-offer.” It may be at a higher price than you expect, but they have to demonstrate to investors, shareholders and auditors that they attempted to get the highest price possible. You should plan to counter the counter-offer.
Your offer or counter-offer will probably have to be reviewed and approved by several individuals and companies. Even once an offer is accepted, the bank may insert wording like “..subject to corporate approval with 5 days.”
Banks always want to sell a property in “as is” condition. Most will provide a Section 1 pest certification, but not unless you include it in your offer and negotiate the point. They will allow you to get all the inspections you want (at your expense), but they may not agree to do any repairs.
Your offer should include an inspection contingency period that allows you to terminate the sale if the inspections reveal unanticipated damages that the bank will not correct.
Even though you agreed to “as is,” always give the bank another opportunity to make repairs or give you a credit after you’ve completed your inspections. Sometimes they’ll re-negotiate to save the transaction instead of putting the property back on the market, but don’t take it for granted.
Banks do not want to see a lot of proprietary disclosures; they are exempt from the California Seller’s Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS-14). If there are real estate agents involved, either representing you or the bank, those agents are required to provide you their disclosure statements.
Most banks will not provide financing on their REOs but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Especially if the property has extensive damage and you are purchasing it “as is.”
Making an Offer
Before making an offer, have your agent contact the the listing agent and ask the following:
- Are there any inspection reports?
- What work has the bank agreed to?
- Is there a special “as is” form?
- How long does it take the bank to accept an offer?
- How does your agent deliver the offer?
Offers are usually FAXED to the bank. The listing agent needs your originals. There is no formal presentation. Keep in mind: nothing happens evenings and weekends (banks are closed)
Since there is no face-to-face presentation to the bank, provide the listing agent with a pre-qualification or better yet, a pre-approval letter and buyer biography. Make your offer easy to accept.
Hopefully these tips will manage your expectations. Remember that REO’s sell at pretty close to full market value and are not the deals presented on late night television.