First Weber Group REALTORS®

Short Sales/Foreclosures (REOs)

A Non-Traditional Buying and Selling Process

Buying or selling a home in foreclosure or a short sale can be a complicated process because each situation is unique. It is therefore advisable to seek the expertise of a professional real estate agent who holds the SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource) certification or a Real Estate attorney.

See all First Weber SFR-certified agents

Foreclosure is:

a legal process by which a mortgage lender sues to regain possession of the property after the owner has defaulted on mortgage payments. The lender commences a lawsuit and obtains a judgment against the owner. The judgment sets a period of redemption during which the owner can pay off the mortgage. In Wisconsin, for owner-occupied residences, the most common length of the redemption period is 6 months, but it can be shorter in certain circumstances.

If the owner redeems the property by paying off the mortgage, for example by refinancing or selling the property, the foreclosure is dismissed. If the property is not redeemed, it goes to Sheriff’s Sale (auction.) The lender bids the amount it is owed and then other parties can make higher bids. A purchaser at a Sheriff’s Sale buys the property “as is” and usually sight-unseen. If the lender is the highest bidder at Sheriff’s Sale, it adds the property to its REO (Real Estate Owned) inventory, and markets it for sale. An REO property is often in distressed condition, but a buyer may have more control over the buying process and will be able to view the property. It is imperative to seek expert advice from a real estate attorney or a real estate professional who has experience dealing with the non-traditional home buying and selling process.

See all First Weber SFR-certified agents

A Short Sale is:

a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds are less than the amount owed on the mortgage loan. The contract of sale between the seller and buyer cannot go through unless the lender consents and agrees to take less from the sale than it is owed. This can be very time consuming and involve extensive negotiations. A short sale does not necessarily release the seller from having to pay the remaining loan balance, but it may not have as big an effect on his or her credit score as a foreclosure would.

Consider these factors:

  • Non-traditional home selling processes take time.
  • REO (real estate owned) homes are usually purchased in “as is” condition and may require updates and repairs.
  • The owner of a property being foreclosed may live in the home until the Sheriff’s Sale is confirmed by the judge. The owner in a short sale may live in the home until the short sale process is complete.
  • A foreclosure remains on a borrower’s credit history for 7 years—negatively impacting the borrower’s credit score.

Before deciding a short sale is right for your situation…

contact your lender and inquire if there are any programs that will allow you to keep your home—including a loan modification which may include:

  • negotiating a payment plan that will help you catch up on payments,
  • receiving a forbearance period if your situation is temporary,
  • or refinancing your loan at a lower rate.

Before deciding to purchase a short sale home…

  • inquire extensively about the home and its financial status, about any obligation for unpaid bills, property taxes, and thoroughly investigate the cost of needed upgrades and repairs.

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