By Michele Lerner
If you have the cash, a steady job and the desire to become a homeowner, you may be tempted by the thought of buying a foreclosure. While there are some bargains to be found, you do need some education and some professional guidance before you jump into making an offer.
Types of Foreclosure Purchases
The term “foreclosure” gets tossed around a lot, and generally refers to properties that have been repossessed by the lender because the homeowners were unable to pay their mortgage. Some foreclosures are owned directly by a bank, but others are owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD. Some foreclosures are sold through real estate agents, while others are sold at auction.
The first step you should take if you want to buy a foreclosure is to consult with a lender. No matter which method you use to buy a foreclosure, or who you buy it from, you will need financing. Be prepared to document your income and assets, and to have your debt-to-income ratio and your credit history reviewed. If you are purchasing the home as an owner-occupant, you may have more financing options than if you are purchasing as an investor, since there are some special financing incentives from government agencies to encourage buyers to purchase a foreclosure and live in it. Investors generally need to make a higher down payment when purchasing a home, often as much as 25% or more.
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