There are a lot of pre foreclosure houses available on the market, many that have excellent investment potential. However, like with any investment, there are some risks associated with purchasing pre foreclosure houses. By knowing what to look out for and what to avoid, investors can reduce the risk of having what looks like a great investment turn into a liability.
The key concepts to keep in mind when buying pre foreclosure houses and properties include:
• Location – no matter how good of a deal you may get on pre foreclosure houses or properties, if they are in remote areas or in neighborhoods that are traditionally hard to sell, they are not really a bargain. If you can afford to hold on to the property for a longer period of time and have reason to expect the area will transition into a desirable neighborhood due to new expansions, subdivisions, shopping centers or other attractions location is not as critical. In some cases the pre foreclosure properties are located in other high pre foreclosure areas, which means the area will be saturated with investors trying to sell homes they have purchased. This will make resale options less and will also decrease the profit you will make on the property.
• Condition – some pre foreclosure houses will be maintained in excellent condition, but generally expect some type of repairs. Since the homeowners have been financially strapped, they are less likely to have painted, upgraded or added to the value of the property, especially if they knew they were heading for a foreclosure. In some cases the owners may have actually contributed to the poor condition of the house, although this is relatively rare.
• Back taxes – in some cases pre foreclosed houses and properties will also have large amounts of back taxes that need to be cleared up in conjunction with the transfer of the title. This can add thousands of dollars to the cost of the property, so make sure you are aware of any taxes owing or other liens against the property.
• Upgrades – if you are considering pre foreclosure properties that are older homes, they will need to be upgraded before they can be put on the market as rentals or properties for sale. Often rental properties are only upgraded with new paint and carpet, but a house for sale may need the fixtures changed, flooring upgraded, windows and roof replaced and even the kitchen or bathrooms remodeled. If you can do some or all of the work yourself this can save costs, however it will still take time and money.
If you are new to buying pre foreclosed houses, consider taking a weekend course or completing an online program to help you become aware of both the benefits and the risk to this type of investment.