Looking for the right property for a client is always a challenge. Normally, if I ask the right questions I can find a place for just about anyone in pretty quick order, unless they want a "bargain".
There are bargains to be had. Banks have foreclosed on so many properties and are selling them at rock-bottom prices. Some of these properties are really bargains. They don't last long. Most however, are in poor to bad condition; They are missing appliances, hot water heaters, furnaces, fixtures and plumbing. These are just the problems you can see. Sometimes the structure is so bad, the building should be leveled right away.
You have to be so careful when buying a foreclosed property. Most of the time you really don't get a chance to inspect before you make an offer. The bank wants you to buy it "as-is". You can have an inspection after your offer has been accepted, but they won't let you back out if you find a problem.
Everyone needs an agent who knows what he's doing. ( Shameless plug alert! ) I have 15 years of construction experience and a home inspectors license. As a Realtor, I cannot preform home on any transaction I represent. I feel this insight has saved my clients a few headaches by pointing out problems and knowing what properties to avoid.
In short, buyers need an agent who will educate them on the whole process. So you can decide if such a property is right for you. Even if you've bought a home before, the REO and short sale market is completely different. Next week, we'll talk about financing.