As OREOs Flood the Market…

“Buyer Aware” home shoppers can still find great deals Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 4.55.32 PM

Banks continue to flood the market with residential properties that were foreclosed upon or repossessed during the recession. Many of these “Other Real Estate Owned,” or OREO homes, are falling off banks’ balance sheets with every passing quarter of financial reporting.

Though conventional wisdom holds that these homes are supposed to sell for pennies on the dollar, their prices are going up as the economy improves. As banks lighten their property holdings, they’re less anxious to sell off overstocked inventories. Nevertheless, a home that hasn’t been lived in for some time carries a stigma of greater risk of hidden damage and neglect. Though the deals aren’t as lucrative as they were, these OREO homes can still be bargains if you can reduce the risk by doing your own research before making an offer.

“The best first step in checking out a bank-owned home for sale is to get a Housefax Property History Report,” said Eddy Lang, CEO of Housefax. “Since there’s no tenant or owner in place to validate or verify any questions you might have on the house, you can at least check for ‘red flags’ such as past fire and flood damage. Also, the building permit history in a Housefax Report can give you a clearer picture of the roof and exterior condition, and how long ago it was that vital replacements were made to the existing structure. Soon we’ll be including historic insurance claim information in our reports as well.”

There are still deals out there, but Lang recommends doing as much due diligence, up-front research before you make an offer on a home, and before you pay for a professional Home Inspector to conduct an evaluation on the current condition of the home.