Foreclosures

Many home buyers are interested in buying a bargain by getting a good deal in today’s Charleston real estate market. One of the ways to do that is to buy a foreclosure which generally sells for approximately 20 percent less than typical market value.

Since lender owned properties is not a required field in the Charleston MLS, there may be other foreclosures available for sale that are not displayed if the listing agent did not indicate the property to be a foreclosure. Please contact me for additional information and for help with the purchase of any home that is of interest to you.

Please note that listings of foreclosed homes generally do not include as many pictures and detailed information as homes that are being sold by homeowners. A low price is generally the most important marketing strategy.

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  • Charleston foreclosures up to $100k
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  • Charleston foreclosures for $500k and higher

About Distressed Property

There is a lot of talk about foreclosures, short sales and bank owned properties so here is a brief overview of each to help you understand the difference between them.

Foreclosures: A foreclosure property is one where the owner is behind on their payment and the bank has issued a lis pendens or pending lawsuit and scheduled a day for a sale. During the time between the issue of the lis pendens and the sale, the homeowner can sell their home to pay off the loan (or loans) or take other measures to avoid foreclosure. At the sale, the home is sold in a bidding environment at the County Courthouse and the purchaser must pay for the home with 5% down in cash with the balance payable within 30 days. Buyers have very little time available to research title, have a home inspection or to arrange for financing so you need to take great care to know exactly what you are purchasing. There may be other liens on the property. While foreclosure auction sales are interesting to attend, very few properties actually sell on the Courthouse steps and the lender does not have to accept the high bid.

Please note that South Carolina is a judicial foreclosure state and that the foreclosure process varies from state to state.

Short Sale: If a homeowner wants to avoid foreclosure by selling their home but can’t sell it for what is owed, they may attempt what is known as a short sale. A short sale is where the bank agrees to accept less than what is owed when the home is sold. In a short sale, the homeowner can accept your offer but that offer is contingent upon 3rd party lender approval so it doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal. The lender or lenders must also accept the offer. In most cases it can take several months for this approval to take place so don’t start packing your belongings if you plan on buying a short sale unless you have 3 to 6 months minimum for the process to take place. In purchasing a short sale, you do have time to have a home inspection and arrange for financing.

Bank Owned (REO): When a home is not sold at the Courthouse sale, it goes back to the bank or mortgage lender and becomes Real Estate Owned or REO also known as Lender Owned or Bank Owned property. Most of these homes are sold “as is” and are listed with a real estate agent in the Charleston MLS for sale. These homes have had the outstanding liens and additional mortgages removed so they can be a much cleaner transaction than buying a foreclosure at the Courthouse. The acceptance time typically takes days, not months like with short sales. In many cases, bank owned properties can be in very distressed condition but I’ve also seen many that are in reasonably good condition. As with short sales, you do have time to have a home inspection and arrange for financing but in many cases, the seller will require you to be pre approved for financing with their representative (or provide proof of funds if paying in cash) before considering your offer although you may still use your preferred lender to complete the transaction.