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Foreclosure FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction to common questions on topics about Foreclosure

In our Frequent Answers & Questions page you will find very helpful information and answers to most frequently asked questions about Foreclosure. This section is organized through a list of frequently asked questions about properties in foreclosure, how to find, how are classified by origin, articles about how to Finance, advice about Inspections, Foreclosure rates, advice on purchasing through better Government Programs, etc. You'll also find a huge variety of content on much important information on the subject's Real Estate and Foreclosures.

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A real estate foreclosure is a legal process that gives a lender the right to repossess a home that a borrower was unable to repay, in order to secure their loan.

There are three stages to foreclosure properties:

  • Pre-Foreclosure - the first legal action taken by the lender, where the borrower is given the opportunity to settle the debt. One of their options is to sell the property before it is repossessed entirely.
  • Auction - if the debt is not settled in the pre-foreclosure stage, the property goes to auction.
  • Real Estate Owned - if the property is not sold at auction, the listing is returned to the lender and becomes a real-estate owned property for sale.

* Properties that had loans insured by a federal agency like HUD, Fannie Mae, or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, conclude in a fourth stage. When these properties return to the lenders after failing to sell at auction, these agencies compensate the lenders and take ownership of the property. The agencies then make preparations to sell the property to the public.

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The lender files a judicial lawsuit or records a notice of default. There is a reinstatement period which varies in each state. It can be as short as 21-days, or as long as 12 months. The reinstatement period gives the borrower the opportunity to resolve the problem.

Foreclosure homes are bought at discounted prices, anywhere from 30% to 50% below market value. This makes a great financial opportunity for homeowners and for investors.

Click here to learn more about foreclosure investing

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You do not need a real estate broker to purchase most * foreclosure properties.

  • Pre-foreclosure properties can be purchased directly from the owner.
  • Properties at auction can be purchased from foreclosure attorneys, or the auctioneer.
  • Or you can purchase a REO property from the lenders after they have repossessed the property from auction.

* Properties that are for sale by HUD, VA, or Fannie Mae do require the services of a real estate broker.

Pre-Foreclosures:

Many lenders will reject your application for a home modification loan while you are in pre- foreclosure. If you are seeking a loan modification program, though, you can apply and usually be accepted, depending on the lender.

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A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a sale in which you agree to walk away from the property in return for not being prosecuted by the bank for the balance owed on the loan. It is in an effort to avoid foreclosure.

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Usually, an initial deposit of $1000.00 is expected, and confirmation of access to funds to pay off the debt on the property.

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There are two issues that you should be aware of:

  • All of the debts on a pre-foreclosure property will remain on the property until it is sold. All the debts must be paid prior to purchasing the property.
  • Ensure you are aware of who actually holds the title to the property and that they have agreed to the sale, and that they have agreed to sign the contract of sale.
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Real Estate Owned (REO) properties:

An REO property is referred to as a bank foreclosure property. It is a property that did not sell at auction and has been returned to the lender to sell.

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REO listings can be found through ForeclosureDeals.com, local real estate agents who manage and market REO property sales, or by word of mouth.

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Thoroughly investigate the property and the financial situation. Once a decision has been made to purchase the property, you need to submit a written contract to the lender's broker or directly to the lender.

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You will need an initial deposit, which varies depending on the lender and the value of the property. It can range from $500.00 to $5000.00 and is submitted with your offer. Once the date, price, and terms are set, you will need to pay the balance in order to complete the buying process.

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Prior to making an offer, make sure that you have confirmation that you are able to borrow the money you will need to pay off the debt on the property.

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There are no qualifications for looking at REO homes. If you can find the address, you can look at the property and can go through a bank or your broker to inspect the property yourself.

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Generally speaking, an REO home is one that has already gone through the foreclosure process because the owners were evicted by the bank. The bank could not sell it at auction, so they have to sell it themselves. If this is the case, the owner cannot save a property that has already been lost.

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Once you find an REO property in a listing or through your agent, prepare a written offer through your broker and submit it to the bank. They will more than likely counter-offer, so expect to go through at least a couple of rounds of negotiation before a deal is struck. Most likely, the bank will attempt to sell the property to you "as is".

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) properties:

It varies, but in general, closing on a HUD foreclosure can take anywhere from 10 days (if paying in cash) to 45 days. Title discrepancies and other issues can delay the closing date. More >>

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They can be, but the term 'HUD homes' refers to homes that are repossessed by the government because their owners defaulted on their FHA loans – regardless of who built them.

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Anyone can purchase a HUD home if they pay in cash or are eligible for loans. One stipulation is that you will own and occupy the property yourself, at least when the residence is first offered for auction. Real estate brokers interested in buying HUD homes must be certified with HUD, and interested buyers must submit bids through qualified brokers. More >>

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A HUD home usually requires a deposit of $500.00 to $2000.00 depending on the cost of the home, which is submitted with the written offer. You then have up to 60 days to complete the buying process.

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A conventional loan - one from a private lender, not secured by the government - is one common way to secure a HUD foreclosure. With this method, you do not have to go through the government, but it becomes difficult to obtain help with your down payment, which can be anywhere from 10% to 20% of the purchase amount. This is because HUD does not finance homes. It does pay up to 6% of sales commissions and the selling agent's commission, though, which can – in some cases – make up for a down payment. Contact your lender for possible options to help with your down payment.

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A HUD home is one type of foreclosure that has a mortgage secured by a loan from a federal agency, such as HUD itself or one of the other frequent sources (VA, USDA, FHA, etc.). The only difference is that HUD homes are foreclosures and other repossessed homes that are owned by the federal government, not a private lender as with other foreclosures. HUD homes are also not sold at public county auctions, as with most foreclosures, but rather are sold through a bidding process operated by the agency through HUD-certified real estate brokers.

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The specifics of each case may vary, but in general, HUD has the right to sell a home if the owners of the property and the mortgage loan are delinquent on the mortgage payments to a lender and the loan is backed by HUD. In this case, HUD retains ownership of the property through foreclosure and can sell the property to other buyers at auction. If there are allegations of fraud in the case, especially concerning mortgage fraud, the issue should be examined with a qualified real estate attorney who specializes in examining the chain of ownership of a mortgage note.

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Yes, it is possible to buy a HUD home with an FHA-backed mortgage. This is one of the more common way people purchase HUD homes because HUD itself does not directly finance a home (it may pay for the selling agent's commission, as well as up to 6% of sales commissions). Those who meet the standard qualifications for a FHA mortgage can use it to purchase a HUD home at auction. There is also a FHA 203(k) loan available to help qualified buyers finance renovations and repairs to a property purchased with HUD.

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The money paid by you to the agency goes to HUD itself as a way to offset the costs of the mortgage guaranteed by the agency. HUD is essentially on the hook for any home loan it guarantees. In the event of a default, the lending institution is paid for the balance on the mortgage loan, which comes from HUD. HUD then sells the home to recoup that loss, similar to a bank when it sells a foreclosed property at auction.

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No, at this time there are no public grants from HUD designed to help investors with home improvements. Grants are competitive awards of money to help a designated cause or group of people within the community – typically private or non-profit organizations working with special causes like urban renewal projects. Investors looking for assistance with home improvement projects for a HUD home can instead obtain a HUD-approved FHA 203(k) loan designed to assist with renovating or repairing a HUD home. The 203(k) loan may be used for purchasing and renovating a home, provided it meets certain requirements.

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Yes, a buyer can buy a HUD home even with cosigners as long as the financing agency or entity (a private lender, for example) grants approval of a mortgage loan. Since HUD does not directly loan money to borrowers, it does not require that you be the sole signer on your loan – only that you have a valid loan agreement from a lender. Your individual lending company will typically have requirements and qualifications for loans involving co-signers.

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Yes, proof of funds is needed in order to bid on a HUD home. HUD requires a letter from your bank certifying that you have the cash funds necessary to cover the purchase, or, an approved loan agreement from your lender saying that you have been approved for the mortgage loan that will pay for the property. This is a way HUD ensures that the property will be paid for in full by the purchaser. The letter from the bank can reference checking accounts, savings accounts, IRAs, or other liquid assets such as stocks and bonds. If you are using a government entity (VA, FHA, etc.) to secure your loan, you will need that documentation as well.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Properties:

You can find VA foreclosure homes through foreclosure listings on ForeclosureDeals.com, or by contacting a real estate agent.

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To purchase a VA property, you need to submit an offer through a real estate agent. The agent submits the offer by form via mail, fax, or online. If your offer is accepted, your agent will be notified.

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If you are planning to purchase a VA property, you must be eligible for a VA loan as you cannot obtain a conventional home loan and you must also be planning to live in the home and rental properties are not eligible for a VA loan.

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A VA property usually requires a deposit anywhere from $100.00 up to 5% of the property value.

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Yes, the VA does offer loans for manufactured homes. As with other types of property, the VA does not finance the loan itself, but merely guarantees the loan to the lending company.

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It depends on the lender. Many major banks do manual underwriting. USAA is one example. Check with various home loan companies in your area and ask them directly if they do manual under writing for VA homes.

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No, asking the VA a question about a loan that was foreclosed on over seven years ago and is no longer on the credit report will not renew the seven-year mark. Foreclosures go on your credit report for seven years, where they can be readily viewed by anyone who inquires into your record (such as a lender when you apply for a mortgage). A lender will not be able to tell if you have a past foreclosure beyond seven years unless you tell them yourself - and even if they ask, the foreclosure is considered in the past and is not on your record. Lenders still have discretion to use any information you give them to consider whether or not to approve your loan.

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If a home has been foreclosed, it cannot be saved in terms of preventing the bank or the VA from taking possession. The only way to keep a home out of the VA's control is to keep the foreclosure from occurring, which can be accomplished by loan modification programs with state and federal governments, or by talking to the lender and working out an arrangement. There are a variety of options - including loan modifications - available to the homeowner before foreclosure through the VA.

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The VA buyback program - known as refunding - allows for the VA to buy back the mortgage from the lender in the event that a homeowner is pursuing a loan modification. This typically happens if the homeowner becomes unable to pay the mortgage and does not want to risk foreclosure, and cannot obtain a loan modification. Refunding is preferable to the homeowner because foreclosure stains your credit record for seven years and usually prevents you from financing another home loan during that period of time. Typically, though, the VA will work with the veteran on a variety of home loan modification options before trying refunding as an alternative. The agency views foreclosure as a last resort.

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The VA requires that a property purchased with a VA-backed loan pass an inspection, which really is more like an appraisal that the government orders to ensure that the home is worth the amount of money being guaranteed. This is to protect the veteran and also protect the VA and the lender. The VA is quite particular about heating and cooling, broken windows, acceptable electricity, roof leaks, and external conditions (such as paint/siding, etc.). In the event that a home fails the VA inspection, the seller is obligated under the contract to make the necessary repairs at their cost to bring the house up to an acceptable standard. If the seller does not agree to the repairs, the buyer can then cancel the contract or pay for the repairs themselves.

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Online listing services routinely feature VA repo housing, or homes that have been repossessed by the VA for failure of the previous owner to pay. The HUD Home Store also features VA repo housing, along with foreclosures and properties from eight other government agencies. Real estate brokers who are approved by the VA can also be found usually in your local area and are the points of contact for the listings in a particular region.

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The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) properties:

It really depends, but typically, those who buy from Fannie Mae close within 30-90 days, with the average falling around 60 days. Complications like necessary repairs and backlog could add to delays.

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In many cases, Fannie Mae will actually let the foreclosed owner rent the property on a month to month basis. This only lasts while the property is for sale, but it is an opportunity for a former homeowner to find a new place to live.

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Once the foreclosed home goes to auction, anyone can bid and win - including family members. However, family members' buying short sales is expressly forbidden.

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Fannie Mae - the Federal National Mortgage Association - is a government-sponsored enterprise that originally was created in 1938 during the Great Depression. The original purpose of Fannie Mae was to funnel federal money to local banks to fund home loans during the Great Depression, as a way to ensure housing was affordable and available. FNMA was originally a government institution, but in 1954, it became known as a "mixed-ownership corporation" with the federal government having a controlling share of stock and private investors holding the rest. In 1968, Fannie Mae became wholly private. Due to the housing crisis, Fannie Mae became a conservatorship of the federal government in 2008.

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Typically, loans that are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are bought from mortgage bankers who sell the mortgage as a part of a mortgage-backed security. One way you can find out if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae is to ask your lender or your mortgage servicer. In the event that they do not reveal that information to you, you can look it up yourself online through a loan finder tool provided by Fannie Mae on their website here. Under the Truth in Lending Act, a lender is required to tell you the owner of the obligation or master servicer of the obligation (i.e. who owns your mortgage). Lenders are also required to inform you in writing of any change in ownership of your debt within 30 days of the transfer. If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae and you do not know it, your lender could be in violation.

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In short, there is no functional difference between loans provided by Fannie Mae and loans provided by Freddie Mac. Both agencies work with lenders to purchase mortgages from lenders so that the lenders can in turn use the liquidity (cash) to lend more money to more homeowners. In essence, this means the loans purchased by either agency are fundamentally the same. There is no noticeable difference to the homeowner; in fact, most homeowners are not aware that their loan is backed by one of the two agencies (although the Truth in Lending Act requires you to be notified whenever ownership of your debt changes hands).

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Yes, they can and frequently are. FHA and VA loans are not really loans; they are instead guarantees on the loans themselves, which are provided by private lenders. These lenders include savings and loan institutions, banks, credit unions, and other lending companies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase the loans themselves, and the loans they purchase are the mortgages issued by the private lender itself. The VA or FHA guarantee accompanies the loan but is not what is being purchased.

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The timeline involved in a Fannie Mae foreclosure varies based on the circumstances of the deal. All Fannie Mae purchases go through asset managers, so workload often plays a huge part in the timeline. Additionally, Fannie Mae often accepts as many bids as it can, so that the maximum return on the original cost can be recouped (since the mortgage essentially was purchased with taxpayer dollars, the agency wants to ensure as much loss mitigation as possible). Bidding wars are not uncommon, and additional bids can increase the timeline. With that being said, offers are usually accepted or declined within 1-2 weeks.

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No, Fannie Mae does not pay for repairs on a foreclosure purchased from them. FNMA does not make repairs or renovations; all foreclosure purchases from this agency are sold "as-is", meaning you are responsible for securing funding to make the repairs yourself. If the property is listed as a HomePath Renovation Mortgage-eligible property, you can apply for funding that allows you to finance up to 35% of the completed value of the home (no more than $35,000) for light to moderate renovations and repairs. You can also obtain a FHA 203(k) home loan which assists with financing renovations to a property.

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Bank Foreclosures

There are a number of different reasons why you would want to get involved in bank foreclosure investing, but whenever it is done properly, it can be an excellent business. As a matter of fact, finding American homes that are in foreclosure early is one of the best ways to make sure that any sale that takes place, takes place in your favor. It is not so much a matter of buying these homes as soon as they come up, but finding the home that is going to be sold at under market value. You can find this inventory at foreclosuredeals.com by searching on a regular basis.

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Creating the optimal bid for a bank foreclosure – a home that has been foreclosed on by a bank because the previous owner defaulted on the mortgage loan – depends on a variety of factors. One of the most important factors is the list price provided by the bank at auction. How much is the bank asking for the home? Your bid should be based on a percentage of that amount. Another factor is the property itself. Is it in good condition? If not, how much in repairs would the home require in order to make it livable? This should be provided to you by a qualified home inspector in a formal estimate. Generally, the poorer the home, the lower the bid may be.

Another factor is the area. What is the neighborhood like for the home? Is it in a prime location, or is the neighborhood full of low-value housing? Knowing what similar homes cost on the open market can give you a better, clearer picture of the best bid.

In short, there are a variety of factors that must all be considered. Depending on the condition and location, you could see substantial discounts. Many foreclosures sell for 85-95% of the listing price at auction, namely because of competition between rival bidders. But, with the amount of foreclosures on the market, it is not uncommon for foreclosures to go to bidders who offer anywhere from 50 to 75% of the bid price. One popular strategy is to submit a low bid roughly 30% below the list price of a home and see what happens.

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An investor or prospective occupant who is purchasing a bank foreclosure or a short sale may wonder what difference – if any – exists between the two when it comes to purchasing a home. There are two main differences between the two: one is associated with price; the other is associated with the condition of the home.

Short sales are processed at the same time as foreclosures; in other words, lenders process both at the same time, which could mean the buyer has simpler, less complex path to ownership by pursuing foreclosures. The purchase price could also be lower with a short sale, because the bank usually marks up the foreclosure listing price to cover legal fees associated with foreclosure. But, you run the risk of paying more than you would during a foreclosure auction. Of course, buying a short sale ensures that you get the property - which is not a sure thing at auction.

Short sales also tend to be in better condition than foreclosures because some homeowners rip out a home's furnishings and fixtures prior to vacating the premises out of spite or material gain. The bank then has to repair the damage and often chooses not to do so, resulting in repair bills for the new owner at auction.

In reality, though, buyers find great deals with both short sales and bank foreclosures sold at auction.

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A variety of entities routinely publish dates and times for bank foreclosure auctions for the general public. One way to find this information is to use a foreclosure listing service, which often has updated information so you can locate an auction. Another way is to check with the county courthouse. They routinely publish foreclosure auctions at least 20 days in advance. In fact, most jurisdictions have regular times and dates, such as the first Tuesday of every month, for their auctions. If there is a specific property you want to search for, you can check public records at the county recorder's office. Jurisdictions also publish public notices in the newspaper in advance.

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If you want to obtain a bank-owned home that has already been through foreclosure, you can submit an offer to the bank through a real estate broker. (For homes that have not yet been sold at foreclosure, you can try a short sale or attempt to purchase the home at auction through bidding.)

This process can take a bit of time, and it really depends on the situation. How long has the home been on the market? The longer it has been on the market, the sooner you will hear back from the bank. What is the home's condition? Is the home already severely discounted from fair market value? If the home is in a poor condition, you will hear back sooner rather than later because the bank will want to avoid having to pay for the repairs itself.

How many other bank foreclosures and bank-owned homes must the bank deal with at the moment? If times are busy – and they frequently are – you may not hear back for weeks. Of course, during all of this remember that communication between a potential buyer and a bank is often fraught with delays, primarily because the bank is a collection of individuals instead of one point of contact who makes all the decisions. Also, a bank is free to ignore your offer, especially if it is too low or someone else has submitted a better offer.

In the end, if you value the home and desire to own it, and are willing to wait a month, do so. But, if a bank has not replied to you within a month, most realtors recommend you look elsewhere.

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Discovering ownership of a foreclosed home can be tricky without the right information. That kind of information is not readily displayed on the property premises, for starters. Plus, banks sometimes – for a variety of reasons – keep such information close to the vest.

One way to find out which bank holds ownership of a foreclosed home is to go to the county office of deeds and records (or other variants) where property information is recorded. They will have the name of the lender that owns the property if it has been properly recorded (which, due to robo-signing, may not have been done).

You can also consult with your realtor, who can do the legwork for you and find out which lender owns the property. Sometimes, the lender or company in question is not a local company; in that case, communication with it may be more difficult than it would normally be otherwise. Of course, if you find the property in MLS, you can see not only which lender owns the property but the listing price and time on market. And, finding out when a property will be placed on the market can be difficult and may require the services of a realtor (but not for finding the date of the auction; that information is usually readily available).

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There are many reasons why people choose bank foreclosures. One of the main reasons people buy bank foreclosures rather than regular, non-foreclosed homes or new homes is price. Bank foreclosures can usually be purchased for less than an existing home and definitely less than a new home that is similar to the foreclosed property. This is because the foreclosure process naturally discounts the home due to the auction list price being based on the amount owed on the home - which can result in steep discounts from the fair market value.

Another reason is because people may need the cheaper homes in order to qualify for financing. Some lenders may not give a certain individual enough money to cover the price of a traditional home, but may agree to finance the amount necessary for a cheaper foreclosed property.

In the end, people buy bank foreclosures rather than regular homes because they offer the promise of significant discounts from the list price, resulting in sizable savings.

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Bankruptcy Homes

You can find bankruptcy homes in a variety of places, including real estate agencies and newspaper listings. The best method, however, is via the internet. Conduct a simple foreclosure listings search on foreclosuredeals.com to find bankruptcy homes by city and state. More >>

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First, ask yourself this question: What kind of bankruptcy are you filing? If it is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should file before foreclosure – because this type of bankruptcy allows you to keep your home. More >>

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In most states, filing a bankruptcy doesn't automatically prevent foreclosure. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can delay the process, but foreclosure can still take place. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the better option in this case. More >>

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When you discharge your mortgage loan (most often through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy), the bank essentially receives the property and it has to cease collection efforts. This is the same end result as a deed in lieu of foreclosure, but the process is not the same. More >>

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The amount of time you have to wait before purchasing another house with financing after having a foreclosure discharged in bankruptcy depends on the type of loan you want to pursue, as well as the lender you are using and whether or not you are trying to get your loan backed by a guarantor. For example, if you want to obtain an FHA-insured loan, you will have to wait two years after the bankruptcy discharges your foreclosure (if you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; for a Chapter 13, the time is one year). Most lenders use a three-year window; some refuse to lend to these individuals until four or five years after the foreclosure. Plus, lenders often will charge additional fees or interest points. Note that this applies to financing only; you can purchase any home with cash at any time you wish.

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A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is a method of avoiding foreclosure by signing over legal possession of the property to a lender in exchange for an agreement that the lender will not pursue the remainder of the loan at any future date. After signing, a homeowner will receive a form stating that the debt is cancelled, and a waiver to the right to pursue a deficiency judgment (the remainder of your debt). One of the main responsibilities is to vacate the premises in an orderly and reasonable manner. The other main responsibility is to pay any income taxes owed to the IRS as a result of the agreement. Forgiven debt is treated as income by the IRS; this means that you could be liable for the taxes owed on the amount that was forgiven. Under the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, though, homeowners can exclude this income from tax consideration if the debt comes from their principal residence. Consult with a real estate or tax attorney before entering into a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

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No, you are not liable for taxes on the difference between what the home sells for (assuming it is later sold by the bank) and what you owe. This is because the amount you owe is cancelled by the bank in exchange for you agreeing to surrender legal possession of the property. What the bank does with the home after you sign the agreement and vacate the premises is none of your concern, even if there is a deficiency (a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is also accompanied by a waiver to the right of a deficiency judgment). It is possible that you will be liable for the taxes on the amount of debt that is cancelled, though, because the IRS treats forgiven debt as income. It is best to consult with a qualified tax attorney or real estate attorney before entering into a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure so you can verify any tax liability that you may face.

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Yes, you can purchase a home with a foreclosure in your credit history. If you are paying cash, credit history does not apply; if you are depending on financing from a private lender, the foreclosure on your history will play a role in whether or not they decide to lend to you. Lenders have that discretion, and virtually all reputable lenders will be reluctant to lend to anyone who has a foreclosure still on a credit record. Foreclosures remain on a credit history for seven years after the foreclosure is finalized, but after the seven years, the foreclosure falls off the credit report. Additionally, getting your loan guaranteed by the VA, FHA, or other agency may be impossible unless there has been an amount of time lapsed from the date of your foreclosure (typically 2-3 years, depending on the agency and the circumstances of your foreclosure). The best way to know for sure is to ask your lender; there is no danger of informing your lender of information that would jeopardize your application because they will have access to your credit history (and if it has been more than seven years, it won't show up).

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Yes, it is possible to place a lien on a home that is currently in foreclosure. The lien is a claim you make on the property to pay off any debt that you are owed by the homeowner. It does not have to be from a loan that is secured by the property itself; it can be a mechanic's lien, or a claim to pay for any personal damages or property damages for which the homeowner is liable. Typically agreements need to be in writing in order to be enforceable. A lien of this nature is not a primary lien, though; in foreclosure, that belongs to the holder of the mortgage (or the government in the event of a tax lien). Your lien may not have priority over that lien, and there may be other liens to be paid ahead of yours. That means you may not receive any compensation from the foreclosure because creditors ahead of you will be paid first.

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A home that is foreclosed must have its property taxes paid by the owner - which is the bank, in this case. As long as the foreclosure has not been finalized and the homeowner remains in possession of the home, he or she is responsible for property tax. Once the foreclosure has been carried out, the bank then has to pay property taxes. One exception is with tax lien certificates. If a tax lien has been placed on the property due to delinquent property taxes, the person who owns the tax lien certificate (sold usually at auction) will be liable for paying for the amount representing by the certificate. Then, if the homeowner does not pay property taxes from that point, the tax lien holder takes possession and pays future property tax. Most of the time, though, the bank will pay property taxes until the home is sold at auction. This creates an incentive for the bank to seek to sell the foreclosure as quickly as possible.

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Cheap Houses

You can find cheap homes for sale or the cheapest houses in USA by looking in our foreclosure listings. It is better to invest in cheap foreclosures or because they are priced 30-50% lower than the actual market value. These cheap foreclosed houses for sale will require a little bit of improvement and then they can be sold at a much higher amount. Your real estate business will make more profit by reselling cheap houses in USA rather than reselling overpriced properties from big cities or urban areas. Our 24/7 customer service by e-mail will guide you in finding a cheap property for sale within your area and within your budget.

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If you have a knack for turning cheap properties for fast profit, then you will gain quite an impressive reputation in the real estate world. Finding the cheapest houses in USA is easy, although fixing it up could take some time and considerable effort. However, cheap foreclosed houses for sale are better because the cost for repairing them is lower than buying overpriced ones in urban areas. Just look at our updated bank foreclosure listings and it will lead you to any kind, size or style of cheap foreclosures and cheap homes for sale. Even if you're looking for a specific cheap USA property or a cheap property for sale in your area, our database will have them. Invest in the most amazing cheap houses in USA, improve its physical condition and good buyers will be flocking to your pricier properties in no time.

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In many markets, cheap homes and foreclosed homes are one and the same. Cheap homes could be described as homes that have list prices that are lower than they have been historically. In other words, virtually every market has cheap homes because virtually every market has had a drop in home prices since 2005. With that being said, cheap homes could also be described as homes that have discounts beyond what you can find with other homes – such as foreclosed homes, REOs, and short sales.

Whether or not to buy the first type of cheap home - a home that is for sale for less than normal price but isn't being foreclosed - instead of a foreclosed home depends on what you are looking for in a home. If you want the simplest route to home ownership, or want a home in pristine condition, buying a cheap, non-distressed home is your best bet. If you want substantial savings, however, buying foreclosed homes is the better of the two options, especially considering foreclosed homes almost always beat non-foreclosed homes on price in any given area.

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Buying foreclosed homes at auction for cheap is a simple process for most buyers. The first step is to determine the method of payment. Foreclosure auctions require that buyers either be able to pay in cash (proven by bank records of checking/savings accounts, investment accounts, and any other liquid assets) or financing (proven by a bank's letter of approval for a home loan). The next step is to find a foreclosure auction. These are held at regular intervals in virtually every county in the country. Online foreclosure listing services are one resource you can use to find them. Another is to consult your local county courthouse for a list of auction dates and times.

At the auction, you can win a property by placing a bid that is higher than other rival bids by the time the bidding period expires. Some properties will be more competitive than others. The bidding process, therefore, may be easy and short or long and competitive. Once you win a home at auction, you can claim the title and pay the earnest money required by the auction in order to receive the title. After the paperwork has been completed, the home is yours.

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The minimum amount you can finance in a home loan from a lender really depends on the lender. Some have no problem financing relatively small amounts (less than $30,000) for a home purchase; others have minimum amounts you must meet.

In terms of the minimum you can pay for a cheap home, that depends on the market. Some homes can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. It is not unheard of for people to buy homes for even less than $20,000, simply because the massive number of foreclosures, short sales, REOs, and distressed properties have brought down the median home price in the country by so much. The best way to approach the issue of buying a cheap home is to first establish a budget. How much can you afford, and how much can you finance? Once you have your budget established, then you can find cheap homes that fit your price range.

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Commercial Foreclosures

The time for move out varies, depending on the property owner. In theory, eviction orders could come just a few days after the property sells at auction.

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Condo Foreclosures

In many cases, yes. This is because a high number of defaulting homeowners and vacant condo units mean fewer fee payments. Condo owners either have to pursue collection through legal means, which can be difficult, or have to increase fees to make up for the loss in income.

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Absolutely. If any kind of property has a mortgage and has a lien placed on it, failure to pay off the lien can result in foreclosure from banks or lenders. The same general process applies to condos as it does to other types of residential properties.

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A wrap-around sale is a sale in which the owner of a condo essentially sells the condo to a buyer while keeping the original mortgage. The buyer pays the owner monthly, and the owner uses the monthly payment to pay for the original mortgage. These cannot work if the original mortgage has a due-on-sale clause.

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It can be difficult to get approved for a condo unit that is in a complex with a high rate of foreclosures. Getting a FHA loan, for example, depends on the complex being on the FHA approved condo list – and those high in foreclosures are not likely to be on the list. Check with your lender; their decisions and regulations will vary.

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Distressed Properties

If you are facing foreclosure and you're currently in default on your loan, regardless of whether you own a commercial property or if it is a single-family home, there are a number of different options that are open to you. At times, sales of these distressed properties can get you out from underneath the financial burden before the foreclosure auction actually take place. Most people that are searching for distressed properties will log onto websites in order to find them early. Not only do individuals use websites such as this, but you will generally find that a consultant or specialist who is helping you with your pre-foreclosure sale will also use these services as well. Whenever you use a professional in that designation, you will find that you can often get out from underneath the property before it irrevocably damages your credit.

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Although you have a lot of different options when it comes to finding distressed properties for sale, one of the easiest ways for you to do it is by looking on the Internet. Not only can you find bank repossessed properties, but you can also find owners who are in a pre-foreclosed state and search through your local area, as well as nationwide. Be cautious with the particular website that you are using, however, as all of them are not going to be run by experts and many of the properties for sale are going to be out of date. Foreclosuredeals.com has listings are up to date and it gives us the option of looking over the property early before the auction actually takes place.

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If you are dealing with a distressed property and are currently in default on your mortgage, there are a number of different benefits to selling the distressed property before a foreclosure actually takes place. Selling a property such as this not only can keep you from financial ruin, it also has a few tax benefits, but some other tax problems that may occur. We always suggest that you go with a service that will not only be able to walk you through the entire process of selling your home in a pre-foreclosure condition, they will also assist you in how to find a buyer.

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Duplex Foreclosures

Once you pay off the loan and own the property, it is yours to do with as you please. You can use it as collateral just as you can any other property. Just know that you probably will not get 100% value for the property, so expect anything from 75-80% value toward your next loan.

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Federal Homes

There is a federal relocation assistance program that helps displaced persons find new housing – only if they have to move in response to a federal program (such as a construction project). There is no federal assistance for relocation for foreclosed homeowners.

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FHA Foreclosures

Generally speaking, yes. The FHA 203k Refinance Loan allows you to refinance any property within six months after the purchase if you own the property outright - which you would if you paid for it in cash at auction.

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You can buy homes, foreclosed properties, and short sales with an FHA - insured loan, but FHA has to sign off on the condition of the property before they approve the purchase. Foreclosures and short sales can fail this step because they sometimes are not well maintained by their previous owners. There are also FHA loans that allow you to buy fixer-uppers.

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It depends on state and local laws (and whether or not the foreclosure is judicial or non-judicial). An FHA foreclosure could take as little as 90 days, but often takes 90-120 days, depending on the state. Safeguards in certain states for foreclosed homeowners, as well as loan modification programs, could double the time it takes for the foreclosure to go through.

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You are first eligible for a FHA home loan with a previous foreclosure on your record three years after the home's title was transferred to the new owner. This assumes that you have made no late payments on your obligations after the foreclosure. It may be difficult to get approved, but you are technically eligible after the three-year mark.

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Currently, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does not provide home loans for investment properties. Guidelines state that the holder of the loan must occupy the property that is being financed by the FHA loan. Investors can finance investment properties with conventional loans from lenders, but FHA will not guarantee them. FHA loans are intended for owner occupants who intend to live in the property being purchased.

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Approval timelines for FHA loans vary, depending on the circumstances of the situation. There are many factors that play a role in determining how long it takes to approve an FHA loan. Demand, for example, could create a backlog of applications that need to be processed, and each application takes time. There may also be unforeseen problems with a loan application that need to be sorted out. Additionally, some lenders take longer than others. Typically, a FHA loan could be approved in as little 48-72 hours, although most take 1-2 weeks.

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The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is an agency that is in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Its purpose is to insure home loans made by private mortgage lenders as a way of providing for affordable housing for as many Americans as possible. FHA also works to stabilize the mortgage market and improve housing conditions by requiring certain standards prior to guaranteeing a loan. Through the FHA, a potential homebuyer is more likely to have a home loan approved by a private lender. A homebuyer can also obtain a home for a relatively small down payment of 3.5% instead of more costly down payments of 5-20%.

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The best way to apply for a FHA loan is to go to the official website and find an FHA-approved lender who deals in FHA products. These lenders will be able to work with you to find the right type of loan or insurance product for your purposes, and can also help you find a loan for any amount up to your maximum allowable amount. FHA lenders use a formula designed to estimate the maximum allowable amount for your loan, which depends on your ability to pay, debt-to-income ratio, geographic area, and type of loan being pursued. You can obtain a loan for any amount up to and equal to this maximum allowable amount.

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Yes, there are ways you can obtain a FHA-backed mortgage for homes that you already own. This is achieved through FHA refinancing. There are two types of financing in this instance: FHA Cash-Out Refinancing and FHA Streamline Refinancing. A Cash-Out refinance allows you to take out another mortgage for more than you currently owe on the property as a way to refinance your existing mortgage. A Streamlined refinance lets you reduce the interest rate on the home loan you currently hold, often without a property appraisal. To become eligible for these types of refinancing, the owner of the home must have the home as a primary residence, and must be at least six months into ownership of the property before applying.

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An FHA secure loan, also called an FHASecure refinance loan, is a loan that is intended to help homeowners with current mortgages refinance into an FHA mortgage loan, particularly if the current loan is an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). It does not matter if you are currently delinquent on your loan, which is a big difference from a regular FHA loan. The lack of automatic disqualification is the key distinguishing difference between an FHA secure loan and a regular FHA loan and can be immensely helpful to distressed homeowners who are behind on their payments due to adjustable rate mortgages.

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Yes, a borrower may have two FHA loans at the same time, under certain circumstances. If the loan holder's family increases in size and a new home must be purchased (and you have either 25% equity in your home or have paid it down to 75% loan-to-value), you could qualify for a second loan. You can also obtain another FHA loan if you are forced to relocate from your current residence, or are vacating a property that is owned jointly and the other co-borrower is staying in the property. Divorces, for example, often result in this situation, with one spouse leaving to purchase a new home. Additionally, those who are on non-occupant co-borrower loans (because they co-signed for someone else) can take out a second FHA loan of their own.

Those are the exceptions that allow you to have two FHA loans at the same time. All exceptions must be confirmed and validated by an FHA official or appraiser.

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Yes, depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may still be eligible for an FHA loan if you have filed for bankruptcy. There are two types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to be at least two years removed from having your debts discharged, have stable employment, and have what the agency considers good credit. Specific information can be obtained by talking with your lender. If you filed or are currently in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to have a history of making credit payments for at least one full year. You must also have stable employment and be capable of making mortgage payments on time. Additionally, your bankruptcy court trustee must supply FHA with written approval. FHA also requires you to supply them with a written explanation of the bankruptcy, to be attached to the loan application.

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Yes, the maximum loan limits for FHA loans do vary depending on geographic location. Currently, the highest geographic limits are $625,500 in high-cost areas (areas in which the median home value and cost of living are in excess of the national average). In low-cost areas, the limit could be as low as $160,000. Lenders can help you confirm the maximum allowable amount for you depending not only on geographic location, but also on other factors (such as ability to pay and income-to-debt ratio). Limits also vary based on what is called the GSE limit, or, the limit that applies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If the GSE limit goes up or down, so does the FHA limit.

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The Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) can be combined or folded into the loan (financed) or paid in cash. You can also pay for MIP with a seller's credit. Currently, the FHA charges a MIP of 1.75% (upfront) and 0.5% to 0.55% (monthly). MIP is the way that FHA guarantees the loan; it does not rely on taxpayer money in order to back home loans with private lenders. Instead, MIP from borrowers goes into an MIP fund.

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Yes, in some cases income you collect as rent on your current property can be used for a FHA loan, which has to be applied to your primary residence. As long as the loan is being applied to your primary residence, any source of income – be it from rent or property sales or other sources in addition to your normal employment – can be used to establish eligibility for your home loan. Of course, there are stipulations, and you have to supply documenting evidence, usually in the form of two years' tax returns and a Schedule E form. Contact your lender and inquire about your specific circumstances; they can tell you if the FHA would allow your rental income – either in whole or in part – to help you qualify for a loan.

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Fixer Upper Homes

Whether you are purchasing a home or property, there are a number of different benefits to purchasing one that needs a little bit of work. At times, you can find these on sale in your local area through a foreclosure auction and you would be surprised with the number of homes that you can find that under market value. Not only does this make it easy to find financing for the home, as many banks are willing to loan you the money whenever there is already equity in the house, it also makes it easy for you to afford it. If you're interested in learning how to buy one of these properties, the first step that you would take searching your local area. Finding the listings of early in your area will give you the best chance of being successful with the sale.

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Buying homes has always been a good investment and it will continue to be a way that many people do their investing in order to save for their future. The real key to making money with this, however, is to find homes that will make you a profit whenever you are selling them. Although it is possible to put these homes up for rent and to make a regular income from them, this is typically just a temporary measure before selling the home. If you would like to be profitable quickly, you can search for foreclosure properties at foreclosuredeals.com and buy homes with equity already built into them.

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Most people would like to be able to get into a home that was cheap, or at least a little bit less expensive than the typical home in their area. Not only is it easier to find loans for these houses and properties, it also makes it easier for you to afford them. Of course, you should not expect to find a mansion and purchase it for a song, but if you understand how to find fixer upper homes, it is fairly easy for you to land a great deal. By searching regularly on foreclosuredeals.com, you can find cheap foreclosure and pre-foreclosure properties. After purchasing them at auction, you can do a little bit of fixing up and then flip them for a profit. That is how to sell a home such as this quickly, unless you would like to purchase it for your own needs.

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Flipping Houses

There are a number of different things that need to be kept in mind when you want to start making money flipping homes for profit. One of the first steps to making this work for you is to find homes and properties that are in foreclosure. You can then invest the money into these properties, and begin making money almost immediately because there is generally equity that is built into them. At times, a little bit of repair may be necessary in order to get a home in a salable condition, but the work that needs put into it tends to make you additional profit.

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Foreclosure Crisis

Each property that a bank owns that is not generating income through mortgage payments costs the bank money. A bank doesn't want the hassle and expense of a foreclosure, but they are forced in many cases to foreclose to cut their losses.

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Massive government deficits on virtually every level of government, all across the country, have forced many governments to raise property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes, among others. House taxes usually cannot be discharged even with bankruptcy.

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The more people know about personal finance – such as buying a home, saving money, keeping good credit, and making smart decisions with their money – the higher the chance that a future foreclosure crisis will be averted.

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The foreclosure crisis was started off by the subprime mortgage crisis. Many lenders were giving risky home loans with people with below-average, or subprime, credit and income. These loans were then packaged together and sold to investors as something called security-backed assets. When many of these loans went into default, the chain reaction caused home values to drop all across the country. This, coupled with the financial crash of 2008, resulted in a historic amount of foreclosures.

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Foreclosure Investing

It is possible to purchase a home with no money down, which is the closest you'll come to making money in real estate with no money. You can get the seller to finance your down payment, borrow the amount for the down payment, or work with a partner. At some point, though, you will have to invest something into the property to turn a profit.

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It can be worth it to invest in non-performing mortgages if the value of the underlying property is greater than the balance of the loan, and if there are no major liens on the property. They can be risky, though, and some think it is safer to invest in a performing mortgage instead.

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If you pay in cash, you can invest in any property you desire. Obtaining financing, though, may be difficult if it has been less than seven years since your foreclosure. Many banks will not approve loans for those who have foreclosures on their record, even with a substantial down payment on the property. Consult specific lenders for more details.

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You can obtain financing for foreclosure investing just like you would for traditional real estate investing. If you can obtain a pre-approved line of credit to go foreclosure hunting from your lender, that will help. You can also find a particular foreclosure you are interested in and get pre-approved from your bank for that specific property, just like if you were buying a property.

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Typically, buying a foreclosure with nothing down means paying for the home in full, with cash or other liquid assets. Before the market crash in 2007, it also meant either obtaining a 100% financed loan from a lender, or flipping the foreclosure and carrying the balance of the loan through to closing so you did not have to pay anything out of pocket. Those days, however, are no longer here; virtually no reputable lender still offers 100% financing. Home loans require some down payment, with the lowest down payment on the market coming with the FHA 3.5% down home loan.

The only viable way to buy a foreclosure with nothing down is to take out a home loan guaranty from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). The VA home loan allows you to obtain financing from your lender of choice with no down payment, provided you meet the requirements for the loan from the lender and from the VA. These loans are only for veterans and their family members, however, so most people cannot take advantage of them.

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The opportunities for investing in foreclosures and real estate are endless and limitless, capable of allowing someone to live comfortably and earn a substantial living. This is because real estate is always in demand and is always needed. And ever since the market crash of 2007, foreclosures have risen dramatically, providing numerous opportunities to obtain a valuable home at a discounted price and re-sell it a year or two down the road, when prices are expected to be higher.

That option is for those who want to invest in the property itself and make money by buying and selling. One can also invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are basically companies that invest in real estate ventures much like mutual funds are ways to invest in stocks, bonds, and other assets. Purchasing stock in real estate companies or even real estate databases/directories is an additional option. These entities are traded publicly on the stock market and offer the same benefits as regular stocks, except with exposure to the real estate industry.

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Foreclosure Rates

There is no direct correlation, but high foreclosure rates in a given area tend to increase rental fees, because of a higher demand for rental units. They may also make it more difficult to get a home loan, which will also increase the rental market.

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The unemployment rate has directly affected the foreclosure rate by making it more difficult for homeowners to pay off their mortgages and keep their homes. As more people become laid off or stay out of work, the foreclosure rate rises due to an inability to make regular mortgage payments.

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The foreclosure rate for a given area is the rate at which foreclosure proceedings are filed for properties that have defaulted on their loans. In other words, the rate is the amount of new foreclosures begun in a given area by banks and other lenders.

There is a causal relationship between bank foreclosures and the foreclosure rate because the number of bank foreclosures will impact the foreclosure rate for a given area. For example, for a state that has a foreclosure rate of 100,000 homes per quarter, a heavy percentage of these homes will be bank foreclosures - foreclosures initiated by the lending company.

Other foreclosures are government foreclosures or foreclosures initiated by creditors that lay claim to the property securing whatever loan was taken out (or being used for collateral for various types of liens).

Bank foreclosures are the number one cause of foreclosures in the country. More foreclosures are bank foreclosures than any other type. As a result, it is easy to find bank foreclosures that have been discounted from the original listing price or value of the home. As bank foreclosures increase in a given area, the foreclosure rate also typically increases, which in turn has an effect on home prices in the surrounding area.

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Foreclosure Short Sales

When it comes to foreclosure short sales situations, some sellers are not sure if they should submit more than one offer on their short sale foreclosure property to the bank. The decision is up to the property owner. Real estate agents, when consulted about short sale foreclosure, often recommend sellers do not submit more than one offer for their pre foreclosure short sale. This is because additional offers often slow the short sale process or cause the bank to begin the process again. If the seller consults the bank about multiple offers, the bank will probably ask to see them all, and the seller must comply with this. In addition, there is the risk that additional offers may cause the seller to lose a short sale investment buyer or buyers.

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If you're a homeowner behind on your mortgage and looking at a possible foreclosure, you may already have heard the terms "short sale" and "deed in lieu" of foreclosure. In fact, a short sale foreclosure and a deed in lieu are similar. The former means that the bank that holds your loan will let you pay the loan for less than you owe to settle it as a pre foreclosure short sale. The latter, deed in lieu, means you give your home back to the lender and take any loss. Foreclosure short sales take longer than deeds in lieu, which are more likely to be acceptable to the lender. Likewise, when it comes to short sale investing, it can take longer for a buyer to close on the home.

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The vast majority of lenders do not authorize family members or close associates of the property owner to purchase the property through a short sale. This violates the concept of "arms-length transactions", which basically means parties involved in the process are independent, acting in their own best interests, and have no substantial connection to one another.

In other words, you cannot arrange a short sale with your relative (or a friend, or a business associate, or an contractual agent). This is to prevent the seller from fraudulently benefiting from the short sale, which would make it easy to defraud the lender. For this reason, lenders will almost always require that the buyer and seller both sign an arms-length transaction affidavit testifying that the buyer and seller have no relation to one another.

Some lenders reportedly allow non-arms length transactions with short sales as long as it is fully disclosed. Virtually every reputable lender, however, enforces the standard and does not approve of such an arrangement. And since a lender must sign off on a short sale in order for it to happen, this means short sales to family members are virtually prohibited.

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Yes. A short sale is an arrangement that allows the homeowner to sell the home for less than what is owed on the property's mortgage if the lender, homeowner, and seller all agree to the terms. This is frequently done as an alternative to foreclosure, which damages a homeowner's credit, often prevents them from purchasing another home and remains on their credit report for seven years. The lender also benefits because foreclosures involve fees and are expensive to process. Buyers likewise benefit because they are allowed to buy a property for significantly less than what it is worth.

In order for a short sale to occur, all three parties must agree. Typically, a seller facing foreclosure will be approached by a buyer, who will then communicate with the lender and propose the offer. The bank's loss mitigation department (or equivalent) will usually handle the offer and evaluate whether or not it is in the bank's best interest to accept. They incorporate Broker Price Opinions (BPOs) into the process to assess the home's true value versus what is owed on the loan.

Short sales also involve the approval of any junior lien holders or creditors, such as government agencies or tax lien holders. The buyer may have to pay off these junior creditors in order to obtain their formal approval for the short sale to proceed. Once approved, the homeowner does have a negative hit to their credit report and cannot obtain financing for a home for two years – a much more preferable consequence than foreclosure.

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Banks routinely refuse short sale offers because they likely cost the bank more money than the short sale is worth. Or, the bank may believe the property is more valuable as a foreclosure or REO than letting it go for a significant discount below the original purchase price. In this instance, what one does depends on his or her role: either as a homeowner, or as a buyer.

For a homeowner, the bank's refusal to accept a short sale offer does not necessarily mean that foreclosure is inevitable, or will occur immediately. If the bank is interested in selling the property before foreclosure, it will likely entertain further offers. Also, a homeowner and a buyer have the right to revise an offer and resubmit it to the bank for approval. Basically, the timeline for acceptance of a short sale offer ends only when the home is foreclosed and the home is placed up for auction.

For a buyer, another offer can be resubmitted to the bank, provided it addresses the bank's concerns (if they delivered any when they rejected the offer). The most common reason a short sale offer is declined is price. Therefore, if the buyer revises the asking price through a counter-offer, the bank may accept.

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A lender can accept multiple offers on a short sale of a property, but a short sale transaction must ultimately involve not just the lender, but the seller as well. In a short sale, the homeowner (or seller), lender, and potential buyer all work in conjunction with one another to orchestrate the sale of the distressed property for less than what is owed on the home loan. This is because banks want to cut their losses (which is why short sales are usually handled by a loss mitigation division within the bank). Buyers want to purchase a discounted property, and sellers want to avoid foreclosure. In exchange for the sale, a seller's remaining debt obligation is forgiven.

It is not uncommon for lenders to receive multiple legitimate offers on a property. It has the discretion to accept or decline any number of these offers; no law stipulates that a bank must accept a short sale offer. Any offer that is accepted is passed along to the seller; any offer that is rejected is not. That is because an offer must gain the approval of both the seller and the bank; any offer that the bank deems unacceptable is simply rejected. Naturally, any offer that is accepted by the lender and the seller is the one that goes through, even though the lender may have approved others that the seller in turn rejected.

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No; in most cases, for investors and homebuyers alike, buying a short sale property is viewed as a positive thing. This is because short sale properties are almost always purchased for amounts lower than the fair market value of the home (what the home is worth in normal conditions, if it were to sell for the full value today).

A short sale is an arrangement between the owner of the distressed property and the lender or owner of the mortgage in which the home is sold for a price less than what the owner owes on the mortgage. For example, if a home's mortgage is worth $150,000, and the owner has paid off $25,000, then a short sale would be for less than $125,000 in order to satisfy the remainder of the balance. In turn, the bank forgives the remaining debt for the owner, and the owner avoids foreclosure. The buyer gains a property that is worth more than what he or she paid to obtain it.

This usually occurs when a home is underwater. Falling home prices can result in a home being worth less on the open market than what is owed on the loan. Normally, if the homeowner can afford the monthly payment and wait it out, he or she can see home values return to normal. But if a homeowner cannot make the payments, he or she faces foreclosure. Initiating a short sale is a good move, then, for a buyer because the buyer will receive the property for less than what it would ideally be worth once home values return to previous levels. So, if the $150,000 is how much the original mortgage was, but the home has a fair market value now of $125,000, and the asking price is $100,000, the buyer can obtain a $50,000 profit simply by buying the property in a short sale then selling the property once its fair market value rises.

No penalties are associated with buying a short sale property, only with selling a short sale property.

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Generally speaking, tax liens will need to be satisfied by the owner of the home prior to a short sale. Many lenders will not finance the purchase of a short sale property – or any property – that has an active tax lien on it. In that case, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to discharge any tax lien before a short sale is initiated.

If a short sale has begun, and it was revealed that tax lien is on the title, the seller should be the party responsible for paying the taxes owed. If they cannot, it is likely that the tax lien will be purchased by a tax lien certificate investor, who then would have a claim to the property that would supersede yours. Any tax lien payments or discharges should be discussed as the short sale is being negotiated. If the lender really wants the home to be sold, it often will discharge the tax lien or pay for its removal. If not, and if the seller cannot afford it, the buyer will have to pay the owed taxes in order to receive a clear title to the property.

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Yes, it is possible to refinance a property that was purchased as a short sale or foreclosure. This is because the property, from your lender's perspective, is like any other property. The key exception is if the property is in poor condition or requires significant renovations and repairs. If a lender deems the home to be unfit or unacceptable, it may reject refinancing. Equity is generally dissipated by foreclosure, so any equity-based refinancing of the existing mortgage would be dependent on the buyer assuming the original loan and having the equity to cover.

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Foreclosures

The amount of time a foreclosure takes varies by state. In general, the official foreclosure process could begin as soon as 60 days after a homeowner misses a loan payment. Typically, foreclosures take anywhere from 90 days to 1 year to be finalized and sold. More >>

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The road to foreclosure begins with a missed payment. If the homeowner doesn't pay before a deadline, the bank will declare them in default and will send a demand letter to the homeowner to pay the delinquent amount, plus fees and interest, by a certain date. This is the final warning. If the deadline passes, the lender will send a notice of sale to the homeowner that contains the date at which the home will be sold at auction. This is the formal beginning of the foreclosure process. The homeowner is told to leave and the home is sold at auction. More >>

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The answer depends on how you are going to pay for the new home. Various lenders have their own guidelines on if/when they will approve someone who has had a foreclosure on their record. Securing a FHA loan in particular requires three years after the foreclosure for eligibility, with no missed payments of any kind. More >>

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Usually, yes. Most foreclosures are purchased with few minor repairs needed. You can find properties, though, that are in poor condition or have been vandalized. These properties must be repaired before they can be deemed safe to live in. More >>

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Freddie Mac Foreclosures

There is no standard guideline. Sometimes Freddie Mac is fairly quick to accept your offer, within a week or two. Other times it may take longer. Consult with your real estate agent for more specific guidance.

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You can begin by going through a registered HUD broker and submitting an offer. You and Freddie Mac will negotiate the terms of the contract, supported by any required documentation, and you will gain possession upon successful completion of the final written contract.

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Theoretically, most major banks are able to refinance Freddie Mac loans. However, whether or not your bank is participating depends on the bank itself.

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Freddie Mac does not provide home loans (mortgages) to individual homebuyers or investors. Instead, Freddie Mac is in the business of buying loans issued by private lenders, such as banks, so that the bank can then issue more loans – thus creating a liquid mortgage market. As a result, Freddie Mac owns the mortgage for roughly $261 billion worth of homes in America, as of 2010. Freddie Mac purchases a wide variety of loans from lenders, ranging from traditional 30-year fixed mortgages to ARMs and other types of conventional loans. So, while Freddie Mac does technically own the mortgage on many homes, it does not directly lend funds to homeowners looking for financing and does not originate home loans.

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Theoretically, you can offer as low an offer as you want on a Freddie Mac-owned foreclosure. Practically, though, you should price your offer based on the condition of the property, the surrounding market, the time the property has been on the market, and what you suspect other bidders might offer. Consultation with real estate brokers is highly helpful because they can provide insight into the surrounding area and the local market, which plays a role in whether or not your bid for a Freddie Mac owned foreclosure is accepted. Purchasing in cash also gives you more room to submit a higher offer. Conventional wisdom states that, depending on the above factors, an initial offer of 10-20% below asking price is acceptable, with room to negotiate further. If the listing agent is asking for highest and best, though, a low-ball offer probably will not work.

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Government Foreclosures

There are a number of different reasons why it is a good idea to get involved with Government foreclosure investing, but like any type of foreclosure investing, is just a matter of buying something at a lower price than what you can sell it. The real key to getting started in doing this type of gov investing is to find the site that contains a new database of these listings. If you simply search on one with an old listing, you're not going to have the time that is necessary in order to prepare for auction. You can always rely on foreclosuredeals.com for this, as our database is updated regularly.

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Yes, it is possible to buy government foreclosed homes with significant discounts below fair market value or list price. The government routinely repossesses thousands of homes per year for a variety of reasons, including failing to pay the mortgage on a loan backed by a federal agency (such as VA, FHA, USDA, etc.), failing to pay income or property taxes, or having property seized as a result of civil or criminal proceedings. Since the government is not interested in owning a real estate portfolio, it is interested in selling as many of these properties as quickly as possible for a reasonable amount. Therefore, investors and homebuyers routinely purchase homes from the government at significant discounts from the original list value.

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Investors or homebuyers interested in buying foreclosures directly from the government must go through the government-sanctioned bidding process operated by HUD. HUD lists its homes online via its HomeStore website. Each home listing is available during a specific timeframe, called the bid period. During the bid period, you can submit written bids via a HUD-approved real estate broker, who communicates your offer to HUD. At the end of the bid period, you will be informed on whether or not you won the bid by HUD. In order to buy foreclosures from the government in this manner, you need to meet certain requirements, such as being an owner-occupant. Investors or those looking for second homes need to wait until the bid period expires and no winning bids are delivered; they will then be allowed to bid on the property.

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Real estate agents and brokers do hold government foreclosure listings, which have properties owned by the government because the owners defaulted on loans secured by government agencies. These listings contain properties that can also be found at HUD HomeStore, but a real estate agent is likely more knowledgeable about the property. You can consult with a real estate broker in regards to finding these listings and properties, or can find them online through the government website or a foreclosure listing service. By and large, the information is public domain and should be readily available.

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There are multiple types of auctions that you can attend in order to buy government listings, but these in-person auctions mostly involve tax foreclosures and property seized by state and local government. The federal government sells its homes via an online auction of sorts through the HUD HomeStore. Buyers register with HUD and view properties online. These properties are open to bidding during a certain bidding window, and transmission of any written offers (or bids) must take place via a registered and certified HUD real estate agent (a private broker or agent who has registered with the agency). For these homes, you do not have to attend any auction in person.

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Yes, there are government-funded programs to help senior citizens make needed repairs to their homes on various levels of government. The most utilized program is the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, funded and operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered through state and local government. It is a block grant to state and local government that helps lower-income citizens aged 62 and up make necessary home improvements to their properties and ensure that they meet local housing codes. These improvements can be used for a wide variety of repairs, including making a home accessible to the handicapped or modernizing plumbing, wiring, and structural components. Approximately $2 billion each year is granted to states and local communities for this purpose.

State and local governments typically have additional programs that vary according to the area, ranging from grants to low to no-interest loans for repair purposes.

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You can obtain lists of government foreclosures from foreclosure listings services as well as the official webpage of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, located at the HUD HomeStore. This website lists single-family and multi-family properties for sale from several government agencies, including the Federal Housing Administration, VA, FDIC, IRS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Customs, U.S. Marshals Service, USDA, and General Services Administration. Local real estate agents and brokers registered with HUD may also have listings available. All official listings from government agencies of foreclosures they own are directed through the HUD HomeStore. State and local governments may also supply lists of foreclosures in their jurisdictions, and this information – if available – can be found through the state's department of housing.

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Government Tax Foreclosures

A government tax foreclosure is a property that has a tax lien from a government agency for failure of the property owner to pay taxes. A lien is an ownership claim or right to receive payment from the value of a property. The federal government, through the IRS, frequently places tax liens on homes if their owners do not pay their income tax as required. State governments and local governments can also levy tax liens, particularly if the homeowner does not pay property taxes for one or more years. These properties are then sold at auction to recoup the taxes that are owed, similar to how a bank places foreclosures in an auction to pay off the remainder of a home loan.

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Yes, government tax foreclosure auctions are great ways to find cheap properties for pennies on the dollar. Government tax foreclosure auctions exist to auction off homes that were sold as a result of tax debt. This tax debt can be accumulated as a result of a failure to pay income taxes, property taxes, or other taxes. Often, the debt is in the form of a tax lien, and therefore the purchaser of the property merely has to pay for the tax lien itself – meaning an investor can walk away with a property worth far more than what he or she paid for it at auction.

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Government tax foreclosures are most commonly bought at government tax auctions held all across the country at the federal, state, and local level. County sheriff's sales are the most common form of tax auctions. At these auctions, you can review properties that are being auctioned off due to owed taxes. The purchase process is the same as with a normal foreclosure auction; the winning bidder receives documents that are called tax lien certificates. Typically, owners of the properties being auctioned have the right to pay off any owed taxes before you take possession. If they do not, however, within a certain period of time, you can then take possession of the home as the lawful owner. Note that properties purchased with government tax liens may also have additional liens, such as mortgage liens. You would then be liable for those as well.

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It is technically possible to find and buy government tax foreclosures for $200 and up – after all, you are purchasing the tax lien on the home and with it the right to take possession in the event that the homeowner does not pay their taxes. In some instances, the tax lien on a home may be extremely cheap, and there may not be much – if any – interest in the property at a government tax foreclosure auction. If this happens, there will not be much competition to bid up the price of the tax lien. However, most government tax foreclosures are sold for much more than $200 because other investors recognize the value and discounts inherent in the property. While it is technically possible to purchase homes for less than pennies on the dollar, it is more likely that you will pay significantly more – although still with considerable discounts from list value.

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Handyman Specials

A handyman special means that you will have to invest time and money in significantly repairing and renovating the home before it will be livable. While this may sound like a lot of work, it is likely the reason why you were able to get the home for a good price.

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Handyman specials are in need of major renovations and repairs. For this reason, they are often cheaper than other homes, but are also harder to get financing for from lenders.

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Conventional wisdom says that a handyman special is more of a bargain in a strong housing market, because the relative price difference is greater. But, a handyman special property is probably easier to find in the current market. In any case, it is usually the right time to buy one because of the strong discounts available.

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One option available to those who want to include the purchase price and the cost of renovating the home is to pursue a FHA 203(k) loan. Talk to your lender to see if they participate in the program.

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Land Foreclosures

You do not have to go through the lender, since the land has not yet been foreclosed on and repossessed by the bank. The homeowner might be more willing to sell to you because they want to avoid foreclosure and keep the equity they've built up over time.

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One risk of buying foreclosed land is that some of it is undevelopable. If you want to put a commercial building (or even a residential property) on the premises, zoning laws may prevent that. Another risk is that tax liens may be on the property, which could allow state or federal agencies to claim the land even after you buy it.

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If you can pay for it, you can built it wherever you like. If you can't pay cash for the home, though, getting financing for building the property – even on your own land – can be problematic if your foreclosure is less than seven years old.

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Lenders

It depends. If there is equity in the second mortgage, they can include it in a foreclosure. If not, which is mostly the case these days, they will leave out the second mortgage in a foreclosure, which frees them up to pursue collection in civil court.

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Some states are recourse states, which means lenders in those states can sue you for the difference between what you owe and what the foreclosure nets at auction. Some states are non-recourse states; in these states, once you are foreclosed on, the lender has no legal recourse to sue.

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The best way to buy a foreclosure from a lender without it going to auction is to use your real estate broker. Have him or her contact the lender about the property and inquire as to the asking price. If you can provide the payment and spare the bank the hassle of going through foreclosure, they may be willing to work with you.

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Only if the lender can prove the property is abandoned. If you still live there, you can remain on the premises until the auction has been held.

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Lis Pendens

A notice of lis pendens is public record and alerts a buyer that the property is in foreclosure. This is a huge benefit because the buyer can virtually name their price as the homeowner tries to avoid foreclosure.

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Lis pendens foreclosure varies by state. In some states the law may allow the process to take up to a year. Others are within 90 days.

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If a notice of lis pendens also called a notice of default in some states, will be served to you once it is filed. You may also check county records.

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For a buyer, lis pendens could be a dream come true, because the buyer or investor will have the opportunity to purchase property from lis pendens list anywhere in the USA at rock-bottom prices. For a homeowner a lis pendens foreclosure is a nightmare.

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Mobile Foreclosures

Basically, you will set up a contract for deed. This is, in essence, a way you can pay 'rent' for a certain number of months/years to the owner of the mobile home that covers their mortgage payment but also counts toward the purchase price. At the end of this term, you will need to secure a loan to pay the difference between the amount owed and the sum of the payments you've made.

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Repo Homes

Technically, if the home is being repossessed due to property taxes owed on the property by the owner, you could pay off the balance of the taxes and take possession. This process is very difficult, though, and usually doesn't happen.

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Banks are allowed to hold repossessed homes as long as they wish, but most want to unload their properties as soon as they can. Every month that a foreclosure remains in the bank's possession is a month of lost mortgage payments, so it is in their best interest to push sales along.

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You can buy a repo home just like you can a regular home – by buying from the owner (the lender) through a real estate broker. You can also buy a repo home at a local county auction, but you have to generally pay in cash.

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To many investors and prospective homebuyers, the answer to this question is yes. Depending on the property and circumstances surrounding the listing (such as the condition of the home, the neighborhood, the asking price, etc.) a HUD repo home can be an incredible deal, above and beyond what one can find with typically non-foreclosed, non-repossessed homes on the market.

To investors and prospective homebuyers, buying a HUD repo home usually represents a significant discount in price from traditional, non-repossessed homes on the market. In some cases, the discount can be as much as 50-60%. Of course, one thing to consider is that HUD repo homes are sold as-is. This means any repairs or renovations that need to be completed are at the expense of the buyer, not HUD. Also, HUD does not finance any repossessed home purchases.

If the investor or homebuyer has financing or cash available, is willing to possibly renovate or repair a home, and has price as his or her main priority, then buying a HUD repo home makes sense and would be a wise purchasing decision.

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For any foreclosure, the amount that the home 'costs' (i.e. the price you will have to pay) is determined by a variety of factors. Banks primarily base their asking prices for homes off of the amount owed on the loan. For example, with a home that has an overall mortgage of $200,000, with $50,000 in principal paid down by the original homeowners, the asking price will be at least $150,000 - plus extra for legal fees, foreclosure filing fees, etc.

Most foreclosures sell at auction for less than the asking price. A discount of 5-10% is not uncommon, and in some cases, the discount can be far greater – particularly if the area has a glut of foreclosures. In areas with fewer foreclosures than average, the final sale price will be higher. But, as a general rule, in any case the asking price will be based off of the amount still owed on the loan, plus expenses incurred by the bank.

In the case of real-estate owned properties - or REO homes - the asking price will typically be even lower. REO homes are homes that did not sell at foreclosure auctions, meaning the bank has an extra incentive to sell the property to a bidder with a reasonable offer. Discounts of 10-20% are common with these properties. In some cases, the purchase amount that the buyer pays will not cover the cost of the remainder of the loan.

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Residential Foreclosures

You do not have to pay the property tax if you walk away from a home that is going to be foreclosed. A tax lien will be slapped on the property, but that will not be your concern. A foreclosure hits your credit record, though, so a short sale may be preferable. Consult a real estate attorney first for more specific guidance.

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Sheriff Sales

Sheriff sales are held when a lender files suit to recover losses sustained when a homeowner defaults on a loan. If the court rules in favor of the bank a judgment is issued and the property is scheduled to be sold at public auction. The sheriff sale is scheduled to take place in the county where the real estate is located. Usually, a list of foreclosed properties at a sheriff sale is advertised in the local newspaper 6 to 8 weeks prior to the sale. Listings of foreclosed properties are also made available at the county courthouse. Once you make the decision to attend a sheriff's sale, do your homework. There are no guarantees or warranties and you will not have an opportunity to inspect the property before you bid. Do some research of the property listing before the auction to make sure it is the home you are interested in. Keep in mind that during the auction, most of the real estate is bank owned and other banks or individuals looking to invest will also bid. There will be a minimum bid usually set by the bank or Mortgage Company.

If you win a bid prepare to pay with a cashier's check because you will be awarded the deed to the real estate very quickly if not immediately. Once you sign the deed you will be expected to pay the full amount of your winning bid.

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Sheriff sales are held in the county where the property is located. Usually taking place at the courthouse.

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A Sheriff sale is the process of selling the property of an individual or entity who has defaulted on a mortgage. The lien holder of the property must file a writ or court order in an attempt to end the homeowners right of possession thus, authorizing the sheriff sale to recover their investment. The court order is proof that the lender or bank owns the rights to sell the property. Once approved, on a specified date the property is put up for auction. The Sheriff sale is then conducted by an official of the county or city government, usually the Sheriff, although laws vary state by state. A Sheriff sale may include homes or commercial property. A sheriff sale is different from a Sheriff tax sale. The difference is, a county government may impose a tax lien on a property that is delinquent on property taxes. After sufficient notices or warnings from the governing entity, the property may be seized by the governing entity and sold at auction or a tax deed sale for the amount of taxes owed. An individual may buy by bidding on the property at auction.

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That depends on several factors. First, you must determine the purpose of your bid. The obvious reason would be an eventual return on investment (ROI). If you are a novice at investing in real estate, sheriff sales could be a great place to start. Consider this: buying foreclosed property sold at a sheriff's sale or auction are, by and large, priced way below market value because lenders are only attempting to recoup losses on their original investment. Because sheriff sales are largely ignored by the general public, competition is minimal and it's a safe bet that you will be able to find some great properties at an incredible price. However, sheriff sale homes come without warranty. Due diligence is paramount. Beyond that, a great find could be realized not just locally, but at sheriff sales across the USA.

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Stop Foreclosure

The simple answer to this question is yes, bankruptcy can avoid foreclosure. However, depending on the type of bankruptcy that you will file - either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 - there is a possibility that the mortgage company can do a work around and still foreclose your home.

Filing for Chapter 7 or 13 means that the foreclosure proceedings on your home will be temporarily suspended. Keep in mind, however, that the bankruptcy will be on your financial records for 7 to 10 years. Among the two, filing for Chapter 13 is typically more powerful since it rearranges your financial life in such a way that not only can you avoid foreclosure - but get back on your feet as well. After filing for bankruptcy, a plan will be proposed to repay the amount which you feel behind on your mortgage.

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Foreclosure is one of the most dreaded scenarios that homeowners have to face. The good news is that there are several ways that you can prevent foreclosures - or at least delay it within a time frame that will allow you to get back on your feet financially.

Job loss, death in the family or a sudden illness are some of the reasons why you will fall behind your mortgage payments in the first place. If you are going through any of these, talk with the lender so that they will not file a Notice of Default which typically signals the start of the foreclosure process. You can either ask for more time to make up your payments, forgive a payment or two, spread out the missed payments over a longer term or completely change the terms of your loan.

Considering a short sale, deeding the home back to the lender and if all else fails - filing for bankruptcy - are the other ways for you to stop foreclosure to your home.

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Yes, there are many lenders who can help prevent foreclosures. When you go online to look for solutions to stop foreclosed homes from being re-claimed, you will stumble upon realtors who specialize in helping homeowners prevent foreclosures on their real estate property. Basically, the process to stop foreclosed homes involves loan modification. The one condition required for a lender to help you stop foreclosure is that the real estate property should be your primary residence. Once your mortgage loan and your finances are assessed, the lender will help modify your loan in such a way that the interest rate and the monthly payment will be reduced so that you can prevent your home from being foreclosed.

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Yes, loan modification is one of the few ways that you can use to prevent foreclosures on your home. Basically, you as a homeowner will negotiate a deal with a lender to have your existing mortgage loan modified. To avoid foreclosure on your home, what the lender will do is offer you better terms for the mortgage loan - which includes lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. No matter what type of financial difficulty it is that you are facing which prevents you from making regular payments for your mortgage loan - this can easily be resolved by having a talk with a lender who specializes in loan modification. As a result, you can avoid foreclosure and save your home.

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Most homeowners have the misconception that lenders or even banks like to have people's homes foreclosed. It is a long and arduous process that they would rather not deal with - only when absolutely necessary. As such, you actually have great chances to avoid foreclosure by negotiating as early and diplomatically as you can with the lender. In order for you to experience great results during the negotiation process, make sure to not wait until the last minute. If you know that your payment will be delayed for this month because you lost your job, they should give you a good financial leeway. You can either be "forgiven" a payment, given more time to make your payments or spread out the missed payments over a longer term. Otherwise, you can always opt for a loan modification so that you will get lower interest rates and more borrower-friendly monthly payments.

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Tax Credit

In simple terms, a tax credit reduces the amount of tax you pay on your income. The amount of housing tax credit that you can obtain is based on the contributions that you make and also on your credit rate. The credit rate can be anywhere between 10% and 50%, which depends on your adjusted gross income. In other words, the lower your income, the higher the credit rate. The credit rate also depends on your filing status. If you don't owe any taxes, the IRS will send you a check for the amount of the tax credit you are owed. There's also what's called an Investment Tax Credit, which is an incentive that allows individuals or companies to deduct a certain percentage of investment costs from their tax liability besides the normal allowances for depreciation.

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Simply put, the way a tax credit works is by reducing income tax liability on a dollar for dollar basis. Housing tax credits can be claimed on your income tax return. In this particular case, the US Congress has created a tax credit for first-time home buyers, allowing them to obtain a certain amount of money when buying a property. Eligible home buyers have to claim the credit on the appropriate IRS form. It's definitely a good opportunity for enterprising home buyers as this investment tax credit can be used towards buying any single-family residence (including a condo, multi family home, or townhouse), provided it will be used as the home buyer's principal place of residence.

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In order to be eligible for a first-time home buyer tax credit, first of all, you must be at least 18 years old. The housing tax credit is for first-time home buyers (if filing jointly, this applies to both husband and wife) who have not owned a principal place of residence within the last three years. Also, if you own a vacation house or have rental property, you are not disqualified from obtaining a tax credit. As a first-time home buyer, you may also be eligible for an investment tax credit, which is an incentive that can allow you to deduct a percentage of the initial investment costs from your tax liability.

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Tax Lien Foreclosures

Taxes, in general, cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. If you have an income tax lien, you will be responsible for it even after the bankruptcy. A property tax lien on your property, though, is usually taken care of when the home is sold to another owner. It follows the property, not you.

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If the owner never pays the property taxes owed, you have the legal right to take possession of their property. This is because tax lien certificates are backed by real estate.

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The negative equity will more than likely increase due to the costs incurred by the lender through the foreclosure process. Unless you agree to a deed in lieu of foreclosure from your lender, you could be sued for what you owe if you live in a recourse state.

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The mortgage will follow the property and the owner. A tax lien certificate – which is what you get when you purchase a property's back taxes - is only a right to purchase in the event that the homeowner fails to pay the property tax for a certain period of time (determined by the jurisdiction). The mortgage is still under control of the lender, and if the owner declares bankruptcy, the mortgage owner takes precedence over the lien holder.

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Foreclosure Auctions

General Questions

A bank foreclosure auction is an event at which homes that have been foreclosed on are sold to the highest bidder. These are usually sold by county sheriffs, and bidders are subject to local laws and regulations on who may register and what the process entails.

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County courts regularly publish schedules of their foreclosed home auctions. Consult these lists to find when these auctions will be held and what requirements there are in order to bid.

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The initial payment required usually depends on the seller and how much the property is worth. It could be as little as $500.00, or deposit of 10% of your offer amount required by some banks. The deposit must be paid immediately after the auction; and the balance is due within 30 days (depending on the state).

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The greatest advantage for buying properties at auctions is the money that will be saved. Investors and homebuyers can purchase properties well below market value, which can result in a tremendous return on investment.

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Two important things to note for foreclosure property auctions:

  • Arrive early and be prepared for quick transactions;
  • You must have cash or a cashiers check to finalize the deal;
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Auction Process Questions

You need to bring cash or a cashier's check to most auctions, or enough for a down payment (usually 10% of the purchase price, but this varies from auction to auction). It also helps to bring a valid form of identification, or a pre-approval for a bank.

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A cashier's check is required because it basically represents guaranteed funds. A regular check drafts on your checking account and is not guaranteed. Auctions prefer guaranteed funds to ensure that money will be there for earnest money or down payments.

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No experience is necessary, but it helps to have a good idea of what is going on before you bid. Feel free to ask questions, attend tutorials, and observe proceedings to get a feel for the process.

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Having a broker or an agent can be incredibly helpful as you go through the process. It makes the process easier and less complicated, and can also result in commissions being paid to your broker/agent for their assistance.

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Watching is permitted and even encouraged, especially if you are new to the process. You do not have to bid on anything. Space limitations may restrict access to registered bidders only.

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Auction lengths vary, depending on the speed of the process and how many properties are being sold. Most auctions move pretty rapidly, and usually publish a schedule for you to review before the auction begins. Auctions can last anywhere from an hour to an entire day or even a weekend.

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Yes. Auctions allow you to purchase multiple properties, but sometimes require that you register beforehand as someone who will be bidding on multiple properties. Check your auction terms and conditions before you register.

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Earnest money is also called a "good-faith deposit". It shows that you are serious about purchasing the property. This money is held in escrow and is applied to the buyer's costs upon fulfillment of the contract.

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Most auctions accept cash, cashier's checks, or personal checks (depending on the venue and the jurisdiction). Check with your particular auction before you arrive.

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This depends on the auction. Most auctions have a set requirement for what is due in earnest money through a cashier's check. If this happens, the difference will be refunded to you.

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Yes, it does, because you are purchasing multiple properties, which involves a larger capital requirement than just buying one property. The auction needs to know that you are intent on committing yourself to such a large purchase.

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No, transferring contracts to other entities is not permitted. All entities must be registered at the auction in order to participate in the process.

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Once a decision has been made and the auction closes, the winning bidder is responsible for paying for the property. No cancellations are allowed, so make sure you definitely want the property before you place a bid and have it win.

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Auction results themselves are not published due to disclosure laws. However, property transactions do become public record upon completion.

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Finance Questions

You can finance your purchase through a wide variety of major lenders, including banks and lending companies. These auctions offer a selection of pre-selected national lenders who have experience with financing auction purchases and offer competitive rates and fees.

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You can choose to have your purchase financed by a lender of your choice, but most auctions require you to apply with pre-selected lenders. These lenders are advised because of their experience and the fact that they have been pre-approved by the auction holders.

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Yes, you may, but be advised that the sale and escrow both are not dependent on financing. If you finance using financing you have obtained yourself, you have to show proof of unconditional approval from the lender at the time of purchase. You may also be subject to additional applications or other disclosures in order to purchase.

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These properties require the winning buyer to have cash deposits capable of paying for the property, not financing through a bank or mortgage company. Acceptable sources of deposit include checking and savings accounts, stock portfolios, certificates of deposit, 401k accounts, and other related sources.

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Most auctions do not require you to have the full amount on hand. You have to pay a deposit and be able to pay the remainder through escrow within a month.

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You will need government-issued ID plus the earnest money deposit. You will also need proof that you can supply the balance of the purchase amount within 30 days. This can be satisfied through legitimate account statements from your bank or investment company, or paystubs for the past month.

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These are costs that are charged to the buyer by various entities within a particular jurisdiction, due at the time you take possession of the property. These can include lenders insurance fees, title fees, loan and document processing fees, escrow charges, and other costs.

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Pre Auction Questions

The term refers to a bidder giving the seller his or her top bid before the auction occurs, separate from the bidding process for the auction itself. The seller can then accept or deny any of these bids.

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Pre-auction bids can apply to a multitude of property types – virtually every type, such as single-family homes, condominiums, multi-family homes, and others.

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Properties up for sale at an auction are owned by lenders, such as banks or mortgage companies, who have had to repossess the properties because the former owners failed to make regular and timely payments on their mortgage loans.

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Generally, the value is based off of the remaining balance on the defaulted mortgage loan, plus interest, fees, and other amounts, which is typically the asking price. They can also be based off of appraisal values or price assessments. Typically the highest value is used.

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Yes. Anyone interested in a property at auction should first inspect the property. You should check for needed repairs, the state of the home, the location, plus any legal or financial issues associated with the property.

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All inspections typically must be accomplished prior to the auction. Each auction has an inspection period that allows interested buyers to examine the property, but no such periods are allowed after the auction closes.

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Yes, contractors are allowed to go with you when you inspect the property. In many cases it is recommended, particularly if you do not have a lot of experience with inspecting homes.

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Title Questions

The properties being auctioned off are devoid of liens and have been guaranteed by the seller to have clear titles.

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These properties are owned outright by the bank, and do not have right to redemption. Therefore, previous owners are not allowed to pay off any delinquent debt after the auction has concluded.

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You will have to use the title company selected by the seller of the property you are purchasing, and may not choose your own.

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Most properties are closed within one month of the purchase at auction. Any variations depend on the individual circumstances of the transaction and may be subject to delays.

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