It looks easy on TV: buy a foreclosed house, fix it up, and sell it at a profit. But in reality, the process is more complicated than many people think. If you want to know how to buy a foreclosed home in Georgia, this guide is for you.
Buying a foreclosed home is all about getting a great deal. The typical foreclosed home sells for significantly less than it would have if it were sold under normal circumstances.
In most cases, the bank is just trying to pay for what remains on the home’s loan. Their priority isn’t selling the home at market value, but to not lose money on the mortgage they extended to the homeowner.
Considering the process is less rigorous than buying a regular home on the market, you can save time and money buying a foreclosed home. But you can only get such great deals if you know who to work with and how the process works.
What Is a Foreclosed Home?
Foreclosed homes, or the closely related real estate owned properties, are repossessed by the lender because the previous owner defaulted on the loan. The lender could be a bank, a mortgage company, or another lienholder.
Foreclosure is a complicated process that doesn’t happen overnight. But in general, these are the steps:
When a homeowner defaults on loan payments for several months (typically up to four) they receive a notice of default (NOD). Their lender requests them to pay what’s owed or risk having the home auctioned so the lender can recoup their money.
The homeowner is free to sell the property through a short sell to avoid a huge loss from a foreclosure sale.
2. Foreclosure Auction
If the homeowner is unable to pay the amount they owe, after a grace period of one month, the process proceeds to a foreclosure auction. Here, cash buyers are given priority so the lender can recoup their money fast.
3. Bank-Owned or Real Estate Owned (REO)
If an auctioneer fails to sell the property, the lender takes over ownership of the home, making it real estate owned. They will usually work with a real estate agent to sell the house.
Interested in buying a foreclosed home in Georgia?
A Clever Partner Agent will find you a great deal on a property.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Foreclosed Home in Georgia
- The seller may offer closing cost credits and several concessions in order to sell the home fast.
- The seller is legally required to provide a full history of the home’s condition, repairs, and problems.
- Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state. That means the auction can take place without going through the courts — a good thing for speeding up the buying process.
- You can use standard mortgage financing.
- Foreclosure sales happen frequently (about once a month) creating regular opportunities for real estate investors.
- Foreclosed homes are sold “As Is” so may be in poor condition.
- Buyers don’t get to inspect the house before buying it at a foreclosure auction — a major risk if you go in blindly.
How to Buy a Foreclosed Home in Georgia
Foreclosures can be profitable investments and great deals for those looking for fixer-uppers to move into or resell for profit. But some come with issues you don’t want to be caught up in. If you’ve decided buying a foreclosed home in Georgia is right for you, you’ll need to know what to expect throughout the process.
Get a Pre-Approval Letter in Advance
One mistake many buyers make is to first find a foreclosed home then seek financing options. Do the opposite to avoid losing out. Foreclosure sales happen fast and you can’t wait for weeks to get a mortgage approval, not when there are buyers willing to pay cash at an auction.
Go to an Auction
Most foreclosed homes are sold at auction. While you can’t always see the house beforehand, this is your chance to get the home at a low price. If the lender has set a reserve price that isn’t met or the home doesn’t sell, it becomes a bank owned property.
In this case, your realtor would have to work directly with the lender to purchase the home.
Work With an Experienced Real Estate Agent
Some buyers prefer to go at it alone to try and save money but end up getting a raw deal. Foreclosure agents help buyers find properties that are in the process of or already been foreclosed.
Whether you want to find a metropolitan home or an off-grid home in Georgia, a foreclosure agent can help you choose from the 20,000-plus foreclosed homes. An agent is also vital if you want to find an investment property in the form of a foreclosure property.
These agents have people on the ground so they hear about pre-foreclosures or REOs before other buyers. This means less competition. Often your agent finds out about properties with enough notice you can drive by to get an idea of the home’s condition.
Plus, a Georgia foreclosure agent understands the legal processes necessary for acquiring a foreclosed home in the state. You’ll get expert technical help with paperwork. That way, you can avoid lawsuits that drag on for months or years, which may cause you to lose your investment thanks to a clause you never knew existed.
If you want to get a great deal on a foreclosed home in Georgia, a Clever Partner Agent can help. They work directly with banks, mortgage companies, and other lienholders and know about good deals long before they hit the market at pre-foreclosure.
The best deals never show up on the listings. So, team up with a top realtor to tap into their network. That way, you can find the right foreclosure property to buy.