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Cashing In On Repossession Property

Feb 18, 2008
With the number of repossession properties on the rise there are a large number of companies and individuals who have begun invest in properties owned by people in financial distress.

In fact, the sheer volume of home owners looking to stop repossession of their properties due to financial problems has spawned a national trend. Home owners who are heavily in debt and have not been able to keep up with the monthly repayments due on their loans have increasingly been offering their properties up for sale at heavily discounted prices.

The catch is that the buyer must be in a position to take the property off the current owner's hands in a short space of time. The overall objective is that the seller will receive enough funds from the buyer to clear their loan balances and arrears and stop the repossession process, even if that requires selling the property at a hefty discount.

Savvy property investors have latched on to the notion of being able to secure properties at bargain prices and currently there are more people than ever before offering financially troubled home owners the chance to clear their debts and avoid repossession and eviction.

For many investors, this seems like the perfect way to build up a healthy property portfolio, but what are the risks?

The first and probably biggest risk to consider is that properties offered up for sale by people who have no money are usually in a poor state of repair. This means that although the buyer may receive a large discount on their purchase, they may be required to fork out some money as soon as the purchase is completed to bring the property up to scratch.

It makes perfect sense that a home owner who cannot meet their monthly mortgage payment for at least several months can also not afford to keep their home in a good state of repair.

Another risk factor to consider is that many of the sellers wish to remain in their homes as rent paying tenants. Buyers will need to keep in mind the fact that their tenant may not have any savings at all, and possibly an irregular income, and therefore may not always pay rent on time or in full.

If the tenant does turn out to be less-than-perfect the landlord will be forced to evict them. It is probable that the tenant will not be pleased with this considering the property was once their own home and, despite the fact they may not be paying their rent on time, they may not go quietly.

A final risk factor to consider is that the cost of borrowing has increased in recent years and may continue to do so. Therefore, if the investor is going to finance their purchase with a mortgage, they will need to factor in potential future interest rate rises.

Careful consideration should therefore be given before starting a business specialising in buying distressed property. The potential gains are high but so are the risks.
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