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How to Minimize Risk When Buying at Real Estate Auction

Aug 17, 2007
Some of the greatest returns on real estate investments are earned by purchasing foreclosed or distressed properties. By investing money in foreclosed properties, savvy real estate investors have learned that they can purchase real estate property significantly under value. You can too if you do your research and avoid common pitfalls.

With every type of investment, there is risk. In most cases the higher amount of risk that you are willing to take results in larger returns on your investment. The same is true in real estate investing. This means that the properties that stand to make you the most money also present the most challenges.

While there are three stages of the foreclosure process where it is possible to purchase the distressed property, only one offers the greatest return. This is the Sheriffs sale or auction phase. If you are able to purchase a property at this time you could realistically take ownership of the property for as much as 45 percent under the listing price of the home. But with this reward comes great risk.

The greatest way to minimize risk when investing in real estate is to do your homework. Heres a checklist to help you out:

Find out how much of a cash deposit you will need at auction. In many cases this is 10 percent with the remaining balance due within months, weeks, days, or hours. Make sure that you know the laws in your state and county.

Try your best to inspect the property before the auction. If you can not inspect the property, strive to build up a relationship with the homeowner so that you can learn about any costly repairs that need to be done and calculate them into your bid price.
Verify that there are no other liens on the property through a title search. If you purchase the property at auction, these will become your responsibility.

Know your competition. Since the original lender for the property wins at auction 80 percent of the time, forming a relationship with the lender is a good idea.

Set a bid price and stick with it. Avoid becoming emotionally involved in the bidding process and over bidding. Have a solid idea of what you are investing in, how much you are willing to pay for it, and what type of return you expect.

Remember; the goal of investing is to minimize risk and maximize profit. By doing your homework before the auction, you will be sure to do both. Never buy a property blindly. Doing so only sets you up for failures that will cut into your profit margin.
About the Author
James Klobasa, once broke with no job and $20,000 in debt made a choice that changed his life forever. That choice was investing in Real Estate. With the founder of, The Little Building Co. you too, can learn at Real-Real Estate Investing
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