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Foreclosure Home: Are Distressed Properties A Profitable Real Estate Investment?

May 25, 2008
A foreclosure home can be a profitable real estate investment. However, it is important to understand the pros and cons of this type of investment venture before plunking down your hard earned cash. While you might be fortunate enough to locate a foreclosure home in perfect condition, chances are you will need to engage in physical labor before the property is fit to live in or rent to tenants.

Your quest for the perfect foreclosure home should begin by obtaining pre-qualified financing. This will provide you with extra bargaining leverage and ensure you are qualified to buy the distressed property.

When seeking a foreclosure home for investment purposes, there are four options available. One of the most popular options is to purchase distressed properties through foreclosure auctions. Although you can usually buy foreclosure homes under market value, buying from an auction can lead to many headaches.

In order to buy a foreclosure home at auction, you must be prepared to pay the asking price along with any tax or creditor liens which may be attached to the property. Many foreclosure properties are sold "as-is" and require extensive repairs and renovations. Another downside to purchasing a foreclosure home at auction is sometimes the homeowner refuses to leave their property. You will be responsible for evicting the homeowner, which can be a harrowing experience.

Less stressful ways to invest in a foreclosure home include:

* Buy directly from the Seller
* Hire a real estate firm to bid on the foreclosure on your behalf
* Work with a real estate owned (REO) or bank foreclosure specialist

If you have never purchased a foreclosure home it is best to work with a Realtor or REO specialist. Working with foreclosure home specialists will provide you greater bargaining power and may help you obtain reduced closing costs or a lower purchasing price.

Realtors and REO specialists have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. They can help you locate a foreclosure home more quickly than if you search for them on your own. Additionally, they can you locate distressed properties in the area where you wish to reside or invest in rental property.

Should you decide to seek out foreclosure homes without the assistance of others, you will want to thoroughly research the area. Determine the availability of public and private schools, average property values and the anticipated value growth in the area.

After completing your research, compile a list of potential foreclosure home properties. Gather the contact information of the individual selling the property, than contact them to arrange a viewing appointment.
Be certain to take along a pen and pad of paper so you can make note of potential problems. If possible, take a digital or video camera as well. Inspect the house from top to bottom and make note of any structural damage, plumbing and heating issues, pest problems, and potential renovations such as broken doors, cabinets or flooring. The more problems you can locate, the better your bargaining power.

Many novice investors make the mistake of being tempted by low-priced foreclosure homes. Realize if a foreclosure home requires extensive repairs, it can cost a fortune and quickly deplete your profit margin. Investing in a foreclosure home that has a higher price tag, but requires fewer repairs might be a better option.

Prior to making an offer on any foreclosure home, be certain to find out if there are any liens attached. Creditor and tax liens can be an enormous legal hassle that consumes a great deal of time and money to resolve.

Once you locate the perfect foreclosure home and have conducted thorough research, it's time to negotiate with the seller or place a bid through auction. The goal is to obtain the lowest price possible. Working with a foreclosure specialist can help you waive closing costs or reduce the rate of interest on the mortgage loan.
About the Author
Simon Volkov is a private Real Estate Note Investor specializing in foreclosure home, REO property and distressed properties. His website provides resources and articles on today's real estate market. Learn more by visiting http://www.SimonVolkov.com.
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