But experts say buying from a bank is very different than buying a home from an individual. With that in mind, here are some expert tips on how to buy a bank-owned home.
One key thing to keep in mind is that banks have lawyers. Lots and lots and lots of lawyers. And, they use them. A lot.
If you are thinking about purchasing a foreclosed property that is owned by a bank, now is not a good time to go it alone. You need a lawyer. A good lawyer. Heck, if you can afford it, maybe two good lawyers. Banks really know how to write a good contract.....for them! You need some good legal firepower on your side to help even the score.
Which brings us to Realtors. Like anything else, there is a learning curve when it comes to knowing how to deal with bank- owned real estate. You don't want to be doing business with a Realtor with training wheels. Get someone who has been down this road a few ( make that a few hundred maybe?) times.
RealtyTrac even has a pretty good primer on its website on what to do when buying bank-owned property -- a checklist, in fact.
One key thing to keep in mind, the checklist reminds us, is that bank-owned, foreclosed properties are usually sold "as is." If you don't do your research, and lots of it, whatever money you may save buying the distressed property may end up distressing you even more when you find out you have to pump a lot of your hard-earned and borrowed cash into fixing up the place.
One other thing to keep in mind: The bank wants to get the property off its books as fast as possible. Try and negotiate with them. Go for it!
Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think -The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."