Purchasing Occupied Foreclosures In Today’s Market

Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments by forcing the sale of the property in order to use the asset as collateral for the loan.

During a foreclosure, the highest bidder at an auction becomes the new owner of the property, free and clear of interest of the former owner (though there is a possibility of encumbering liens). In some instances, former occupants fail to voluntarily vacate the property and further legal action, such as eviction, may be necessary. More than 23 million older U.S. adults are economically insecure and many of them are homeowners who struggle with their payments.

A recent study estimates that as much as 47% of foreclosure properties are still occupied.

If you’re planning on purchasing an occupied foreclosure or bank-owned home, you need to be careful early on in order to avoid stressful, financial, and potentially even legal issues down the line. Here are a few secrets for buying an occupied foreclosure:

Stick to a budget

The first step to buying any kind of property is to develop a realistic budget. It’s best to divide your budget into three segments: cost of the property, cost of repairs needed, buying and selling expenses. Your monthly housing costs should represent no more than 30% of your monthly net (after tax) income. Additionally, since remodeling costs for foreclosed properties can be quite expensive, you need to ensure you’re financially secure prior to any renovations. Even replacing vinyl or wood windows in a home can cost $11,316 and $12,299, respectively.

Develop a strategy for vacating the property

If the property is occupied by former owners who refuse to sign a lease, your best bet is to consult with a real estate attorney. Depending on the situation, however, you might be able to simply ask them to leave. If not, an attorney can help you throughout the eviction process.

Purchase the title report

Another important step is buying the title report. You need to be fully aware of any liens on the property ahead of time because if the previous owners refused to pay their taxes, there could be dues that you face once the property is in your name. Many investors don’t want to spend the money on a full title report, but it can end up saving you a significant amount of money down the road.

According to a new Forbes housing crisis study, there are 10 U.S. cities that are on the brink of a serious housing crisis. This years study was revamped and featured a more robust methodology than the past, incorporating the percentage of homes with negative equity, delinquency rate, homeowner and rental vacancy rate, and foreclosure rate.

Here are 10 cities on the brink of a housing crisis in 2019:

  1. Montgomery, Alabama — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 28.2%. Median home value: $83,100.
  2. Dayton, Ohio — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 27.6%. Median home value: $52,500.
  3. Fayetteville, North Carolina — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 26.8%. Median home value: $108,100.
  4. Cleveland, Ohio — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 25.9%. Median home value: $55,900.
  5. Paterson, New Jersey — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 24.7%. Median home value: $253,100.
  6. Hartford, Connecticut — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 22.4%. Median home value: $130,900.
  7. Baltimore, Maryland — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 26.5%. Median home value: $119,200.
  8. Bridgeport, Connecticut — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 26.9%. Median home value: $176,200.
  9. Detroit, Michigan — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 34.4%. Median home value: $161,300.
  10. Newark, New Jersey — Percentage of mortgages underwater: 27.9%. Median home value: $252,000.

Whether you’re considering purchasing a foreclosure property, are planning on listing your home, or are just curious about the future, make sure you’re regularly monitoring the housing market.

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