With the current economic conditions the number of foreclosures properties on the market is significant, making it an ongoing issue for many REALTORS®who may not be as experienced with the process and have the unenviable task of clearing these sales as efficiently as possible. The challenges of buying foreclosures and short sales are numerous. Unresponsive lenders, lost documents that require multiple submissions, inaccurate or unrealistic home value assessments and long processing delays can cause buyers to walk away.

Here’s a list of tips to help REALTORS® navigate the space and offer the best possible services to their clients.

7 Tips When Buying Foreclosures

Patience is a Virtue Agents and sellers tend to establish a low asking price to attract buyers. Banks can be unaware of the asking price and since they have the last word on whether to accept or reject offers, and since properties with low initial asking prices can spark feeding frenzies, buyers need to remain patient throughout the process, which can take months.

Don’t Get Caught in a Bidding War Some foreclosures and short sales are put on the market at cut-rate prices to avoid expenses like property taxes, insurance, upkeep and utilities. Lowball prices attract dozens of buyers who can bid the property from a bargain to overpriced in short order. Help your clients calculate how much they want to spend and don’t exceed that price.

Know What the Bank Wants Some banks want strong buyers and some want strong offers. Build a relationship with lenders directly by getting to know asset managers at banks. Some banks prefer large down payments, some want the highest price and there’s always the possibility for deeper discounts with all-cash offers.

Don’t Count on Repairs Keep your clients’ expectations in check – the reality of the situation is that home repairs on short sales and foreclosures are seldom completed. The good news is that buyers willing to absorb repair costs are usually more attractive to banks.

Tour the Property Foreclosed and short sale properties can be in deficient shape, making it important to tour the property with a qualified contractor to spot major problems and add repairs to the overall budget. Some issues can be minor, but others can be deal breakers. Help your buyers know what they’re getting themselves into.

Get Your Paperwork in Order for Short Sales In short sales, there’s no leniency with the closing escrow date. Take care of all loan paperwork immediately after opening escrow and be prepared a few days before the closing date. Then, if unexpected delays occur, a request for an extension can be made early enough for banks to consider them.


Rob Longo, Sales Representative    ABR, GREEN, RSPS    Magic Realty Inc.    805 N. Christina Street    Sarnia, Ontario    www.roblongo.ca    www.magicrealty.com