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How to Buy Foreclosed Homes in Florida


floreclosed sign on florida home

Buying a foreclosed home in the Sunshine State of Florida can be an excellent investment for rental investors or the average homebuyer. Not only do you receive a home at a massive discount, but you get to close sooner than you would on a traditional home sale.

If you are curious about how to buy foreclosed homes in Florida, then you came to the right spot. In this brief Florida foreclosed home buying guide, we will go over the foreclosure process and a great alternative to buying or selling a foreclosed home!

What Is a Foreclosed Home?

A foreclosure is when a property has gone through a process where the lender tries to recover some of the past due payments from the property owner who defaulted. The lender will then sell the property at a foreclosure auction for a lower price to recoup their loss and get the home loan off their books. If you want to know how to buy foreclosed homes in Florida, you will need to understand the foreclosure process.

How to Buy Foreclosed Homes in Florida

The foreclosure process for buying a foreclosed home in Florida starts through the judicial process. This means that the lender files a lawsuit in the state court, and depending on the size of the court docket, it could take between 180 to 200 days to force the foreclosure. The timeline can take even longer if the homeowner contests the foreclosure.

Just like any lawsuit, there are court filings, preliminary hearings, summons, and other court etiquettes that can slow down the process even more. Once a summary judgment is in place, the foreclosure sale is scheduled within 30 to 60 days.

Banked Owned Properties

Bank-owned properties or real estate-owned properties are foreclosed properties that have failed to sell to a third party at the auction. There are several different reasons why a property might not sell at an auction.

For example, if a bid fails to cover the foreclosure judgment, then the sale falls through. When this happens, the banks will hire a real estate agent to sell that property.

Florida Foreclosed Home Buying Tips

During the pre-foreclosure process, it is best to try to reach out to the seller’s representative or the homeowner. Although this may be an uncomfortable conversation to have with the homeowner during this challenging time, talking to the homeowner directly will help you understand the home’s current condition.

You also will most likely have a better understanding of what is owed on the property as well. If you have a real estate agent, they can reach out to the homeowner or seller on your behalf. There is a chance you may receive a discounted price when reaching out to the seller directly.

Inspect the Property

If the seller’s real estate agent or the homeowner is willing to entertain your interest in the property, you should try to set up a time to inspect the location. Although this is not always guaranteed, it is worth a shot.

If the homeowner is motivated to sell now and they are still early in the pre-foreclosure process, the homeowner may allow you to bring your own inspector to have a look. With your inspector on-site, you will have a much better idea of the exact condition the house is in.

Have Financing Ready

If you reach out to the homeowner early enough in the pre-foreclosure process, you might be able to make them an appealing offer. Before you make that offer, make sure that you have the proper financial means in place so you can close quickly.

If you close quickly, be forewarned that you will forego any repairs made by the seller. If the homeowner accepts your offer, make sure that you reach out to a real estate attorney right away to ensure that there are no complications.

How to Buy a Foreclosure in Florida at an Auction

When properties are sold at a public auction in Florida, the auction must be advertised to everyone in the general public. The advertisement must include the place, time, and date of the auction. The highest bidder will win the auctioned property.

Although winning property at an auction is an exciting time, you must consider the risks that you will now bear. At the time of sale, you will need to pay for the property.

Any issues with insurance, taxes, or the title, will be your responsibility. If any tenants or people live at, on, or in the property, you will also need to take responsibility.

Benefits and Risks of Foreclosures

One of the main benefits of buying a foreclosed home is the cost-saving benefit. Depending on the current market conditions, you can expect to purchase a home for considerably less than other homes on the market.

The risk of buying a foreclosed home is the condition of the house. All foreclosed homes are sold as-is, and you won’t be able to walk through the property before the purchase.

If you have a seller or a homeowner who allows you to walk through, take advantage of that. As mentioned earlier, most foreclosed homes don’t allow walk-throughs.

Another risk of purchasing a foreclosed home is the possibility of vandalism. These houses may sit unoccupied, without any air conditioning or heat for weeks which leaves them susceptible to vandalism or squatters.

Ensure that you have more than enough funds to bring the home back up to code and make sure it is ready to move in.

These types of homes may sound like a better idea for real estate investors who do a lot of fix and flip projects. First-time homebuyers can also benefit from purchasing a foreclosed home, but a lot of work may need to be put in.

Where to Find Foreclosed Homes

There are several different resources available for you to use when looking for foreclosed properties. For example, you can check out bank websites for their list of REO properties.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, also has lists of homes available for purchase. HUD houses have available foreclosures and homes available from different government agencies. There are also a few real estate companies that list their available foreclosures online.

First-Time Homebuyer Foreclosures

If you are a first-time homebuyer considering buying a foreclosed property, you will want to know about it. For example, you will want to ensure that you follow the steps that anyone wishing to purchase a foreclosure would follow. For example, obtaining the proper funding.

Make sure that you have a pre-approval letter or cash available to make an offer on the home. You will also want to conduct a title search on the house to ensure there is no second mortgage.

People who face foreclosure may take out a home equity line of credit, also known as a HELOC, to help pay their bills or catch up on payments. With these lines of credit, the home is the collateral.

This means that you may have to give up the home even when the house sells because of a previous obligation. Ensure that you have a real estate agent on your side to help you work through this process so that everything goes smoothly.

Alternatives to Florida Foreclosed Homes

Regardless of whether you are looking to purchase a foreclosed home in Florida or face foreclosure, there are other options available for you. You have the opportunity to sell the house as-is to an interested real estate investor, or you can try to sell the home on the market yourself.

It is crucial that you exercise great care if you try to sell a home on your own. If you run out of time, you may face foreclosure from your lender. If you are in a rush to buy or sell a home, you can also reach out to an iBuyer for additional help.

What is an iBuyer?

An iBuyer, also known as an instant buyer, is a company with significant financial backing and resources to give you an all-cash offer. They use artificial intelligence and big data to generate an offer based on the valuation of your property and any information you input in the application.

Wondering what your home’s worth in the current market? Get a free online home valuation!

You typically will hear back within a couple of days from the iBuyer, and they may have additional questions about your home. They may ask about any renovations, updates, or if your home has a pool. The type of questions they ask depends on the iBuyer you decide to partner with. 

Sell Your Home Today!

Now that you know how to buy foreclosed homes in Florida, it’s time to look into the alternative. If you are interested in selling and buying a home as quickly as possible, you can reach out to an iBuyer!

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