As you know, perfect timing – not just "location, location, location" – is critical when it comes to purchasing a new home and/or investment property at the right (lowest possible) price. That's because competition drives prices up. At Foreclosure.com, we target low-priced distressed deals – bank-owned homes, government foreclosures (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, etc.) preforeclosure listings, real estate owned (REO) properties and foreclosure auctions, among others – and pass them (and huge savings) onto smart homebuyers (that's you!).
Both mortgage (re)possession and foreclosure are quite similar, with the main differences being the treatment of any funds that exceed the amount borrowed and liability for any shortfall. In the case of mortgage possession or repossession, if the home is sold or auctioned for a price that exceeds the loan balance, those funds are returned to the consumer. If the proceeds from a mortgage possession are insufficient to cover the loan then the debtor remains liable for the balance, although in most cases this will become an unsecured debt and the mortgage company will be treated on an equitable basis with the debtor's other unsecured creditors (particularly if the debtor simultaneously or subsequently becomes bankrupt or enters into a voluntary arrangement with creditors). By contrast, in the case of foreclosure the mortgage company retains all rights to proceeds from a sale or auction but the debtor is not liable for any shortfall.
Historically, the vast majority of judicial foreclosures have been unopposed, since most defaulting borrowers have no money to hire counsel. Therefore, the U.S. financial services industry has lobbied since the mid-19th century for faster foreclosure procedures that would not clog up state courts with uncontested cases, and would lower the cost of credit (because it must always have the cost of recovering collateral built-in).[citation needed] Lenders have also argued that taking foreclosures out of the courts is actually kinder and less traumatic to defaulting borrowers, as it avoids the in terrorem effects of being sued.[citation needed]
Recent housing studies indicate that minority households disproportionately experience foreclosures. Other overly represented groups include African Americans, renter households, households with children, and foreign-born homeowners. For example, statistics show that African American buyers are 3.3 times more likely than white buyers to be in foreclosure, while Latino and Asian buyers are 2.5 and 1.6 times more likely, respectively. As another statistical example, over 60 per cent of the foreclosures that occurred in New York City in 2007 involved rental properties. Twenty percent of the foreclosures nationwide were from rental properties. One reason for this is that the majority of these people have borrowed with risky subprime loans. There is a major lack of research done in this area posing problems for three reasons. One, not being able to describe who experiences foreclosure makes it challenging to develop policies and programs that can prevent/reduce this trend for the future. Second, researchers cannot tell the extent to which recent foreclosures have reversed the advances in homeownership that some groups, historically lacking equal access, have made. Third, research is focused too much on community-level effects even though it is the individual households that are most strongly affected.[29] Many people cite their own or their family members medical conditions as the primary reason for undergoing a foreclosure. Many do not have health insurance and are unable to adequately provide for their medical needs. This again points to the fact that foreclosures affects already vulnerable populations.[30] Credit scores are greatly impacted after a foreclosure. The average number of points reduced when you are 30 days late on your mortgage payment is 40 - 110 points, 90 days late is 70 - 135 points, and a finalized foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu is 85 - 160 points.[31]
The process of foreclosure can be rapid or lengthy and varies from state to state. Other options such as refinancing, a short sale, alternate financing, temporary arrangements with the lender, or even bankruptcy may present homeowners with ways to avoid foreclosure. Websites which can connect individual borrowers and homeowners to lenders are increasingly offered as mechanisms to bypass traditional lenders while meeting payment obligations for mortgage providers. Although there are slight differences between the states, the foreclosure process generally follows a timeline beginning with initial missed payments, moving to a sale being scheduled and finally a redemption period (if available).[citation needed]
Watch out for lease-purchase contracts. With these, you could be legally obligated to buy the home at the end of the lease – whether you can afford to or not. To have the option to buy without the obligation, it needs to be a lease-option contract. Because legalese can be challenging to decipher, it’s always a good idea to review the contract with a qualified real estate attorney before signing anything, so you know your rights and exactly what you’re getting into.

The mortgagor may be required to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, for as long as the principal of his or her primary mortgage is above 80% of the value of his or her property. In most situations, insurance requirements guarantee that the lender gets back some pre-defined proportion of the loan value, either from foreclosure auction proceeds or from PMI or a combination of those.

Just remember, you will need to get the seller to agree on not only the rent to own agreement, but the terms of the agreement. i. e., length of the agreement, usually, one to two years; the percentage of the rent which gets applied to the sales price or closing costs, etc. If you get lucky, the seller may also be interested in doing Seller Financing with you. Just be sure to have a lawyer review any agreement before you sign it. A little legal cost upfront could save you thousands of dollars down the road.
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