You should also look at the title and find out if a foreclosure notice has already been filed and exactly how much is owed to the bank. This information is extremely valuable because it will help you to determine the correct amount to offer. When looking at the title also make sure to find out if there is more than one loan on the property, if this is the case you could have an issue. The first lender’s loan takes priority, if there is more than one loan then the second lender will need to get paid something in order to gain their cooperation.Sale Comparables
The only way to truly know how much a property is worth is by comparing the property you are interested in with like properties in the area.A good “comp” will be a property that has sold recently that is the same property type with similar features and square footage.
When you find good comps, it is important to dig deeper than just what the property sold for. Find out how long the property was on the market and what the original listing price was before it sold. Also, don’t be afraid to call up the parties involved and speak with them directly. All of this information is available via public record, you just need to call the county or work with an agent who has access to a comp database.
If you are a first time buyer, you will benefit greatly from hiring a real estate agent who has experience with (preferably in selling) REO and short sale properties. Hiring an experienced agent whom you trust is extremely important; dealing with the bank is much different then a typical seller. Another big advantage to hiring an agent is the fact that experienced short sale agents will be able to find listings that are not being advertised to the general public. Many times, a bank will not let the fact that they are entertaining short sale offers be known as they are hoping that property sells on its own without them having to take a loss. Without an agent it is hard to find these pocket listings.
Investing in REO and short sale properties can be a lucrative venture. Not every property is as good as it looks on paper but with the right tools and know-how you will be able to find the diamonds in the rough.
Jenny Johnson wrote this guest post and is a frequent contributor for http://www.iowacityrealestate.com.