Friday, November 9, 2007

How do you buy bank owned property in Chicago?

A customer wrote last night and asked:

How do you buy bank owned property in Chicago? Do you know a REO agent and how do you contact them?

Lots of ways.

Many banks list their homes with Real Estate agents for sale. Lots of those properties DO make it into the MLS. Experienced agents know what brokerages specialize in the sale of bank owned properties. I know that I keep a prospecting search for properties that come on the market from these agencies so I can get quick notice of properties that come up for sale.

For example, the most recent property to catch my attention was a new listing that I received notice of this morning. It's a single family home in the West Loop - three beds with one bath - listed for $149,900. Before being taken back by the bank, this house was listed for $325,000. Could be a great deal if it's not in too bad condition.

A year ago, I sold a condo owned by Chase Bank to a home buyer in a well known high rise in Edgewater. This condo was purchased by a rehabber who ran out of money and couldn't make the payments on the condo. My client bought the condo for a nice discount and renovated it completely and he has a spectacular and comfortable home in a desirable lakefront location now.

These homes are not always a bargain, however. But careful examination of the listing data and a tour of the property will usually reveal a few diamonds in the rough. Do hire an experienced agent to guide you. A good agent will be able to sift through the mountains of data and suggest properties that represent good values as well as point out the pitfalls that may be present in other properties.

Keep in mind that the foreclosure process takes a long time. By the time a bank actually owns a property, it could have been neglected for many months. Some properties are in good condition, but others are waiting their date with the wrecking ball.

The process of bidding on a foreclosed home takes guidance and patience. Many levels of bureaucracy can be involved in the sale of a bank owned property. If you submit a bid on a property, the paperwork goes through a maze of bank departments and mid-level administrators before a decision can be made. It often takes weeks to hear about the status of an offer. These nerve-wracking waits are not for the faint of heart.

One last reference for the determined do it your selfer: Check out the Chicago Foreclosure Report at This website offers a web and magazine subscription to properties that are just entering the foreclosure process. You'll be doing all the legwork yourself, however. No experts are guiding you here, so be very careful. But if you can get a jump on a property before everyone else does, the effort could be worth it. Lots of Realtors read the foreclosure report, too, because it's a great prospecting tool. Properties listed in the Foreclosure Report are not yet bank owned and are often still in good condition. The owners usually still live in the properties. Smart sellers who are in financial trouble are wise to list their homes for sale with a broker at this stage in order to perhaps sell the property at full retail price.


Chuck said...

Buy properties from a bank? Talk to a banker!


Bob said...

Chuck, is there a way that I - along with our distinguished readers - can view your bank's properties for sale?