Searching for foreclosure-type properties in the Baltimore area? You can use the following links to review listings of Baltimore-area properties currently offered for sale by HUD, VA, MHF, and others.
HUD sells foreclosure properties throughout the US, and lists properties for sale on the web, with a new list of available properties appearing every Friday afternoon. The newest listings include a date on which HUD will evaluate bids received during the initial bid period (it is within a week of the listing date, so you need to move quickly on the new listings). Bids on the carryover listings (that were not sold during the initial list period) are reviewed daily. If you are unsure of the location of a specific property listing, just note the Zip Code and street address, and click here to call up a map that will identify the specific location.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development helps Baltimore Area homebuyers. They have several programs that provide assistance to homebuyers, like the "live near where you work" program that provides up to $3000 assistance to aid in purchasers in selected areas to help purchase a home near the office. And they also have some listings of properties currently for sale in and around Baltimore by the Maryland Housing Fund (MHF), mostly in Baltimore City. Most of these houses are priced from $35K - $85K, and some feature special financing.
We like working with the folks at MHF since they are usually willing to repair and redecorate their properties to meet a buyer's requirements. For example, they are usually willing to paint, replace carpet, install new appliances, etc. to make the deal work. Or if you like a specific MHF property, but think that is could use some additional work to meet your specific requirements, we sometimes recommend going in with a higher offer price in exchange for having the seller (MHF) make the repairs prior to settlement. This works out great for the buyer, since the cost of these renovations are ultimately financed within the mortgage, and not paid for after the sale using credit cards or cash from a bank account.
And here are a few more links to lists of foreclosure sales:
ForeclosureFreeSearch.com is a new site that allows searches of foreclosed bank and government owned property nationwide. It gives you the community and street names, but not the number. Once you identify a specific property of interest, they require you to fill out a form, and then they forward that data to an area agent, who pays them a 25% commission. We've found that their service does not provide a comprehensive listing of foreclosures in Maryland, but it is convenient, and may help you to identify some suitable properties. If you use their site, note the street name of suitable properties and call us to get more information on the specific properties.
Offer Prices - The prices quoted on the HUD, VA, or MHF lists are sometimes at the high end for a specific property and the current market. These sellers anticipate receiving less than full price offers, and will accept reasonable offers, but there does not appear to be a consistent guideline for how much less than list price they will accept.
To determine an appropriate offer price for a specific property, we recommend the standard practice of reviewing the sale prices of similar properties in the same area that have sold within the last year, along with the current sale prices of similar properties. Information on recent sales of similar properties, called "comps" or "comparables" in the real estate business, is used to determine a fair market value for a particular property. This type of information is the best method of determining the appropriate offer price for a property, especially the data on recent sales in the immediate area of the property in which you are interested. We always provide buyers working through us with a complete breakdown of current listing prices and recent sale prices. You can also visit the State of Maryland tax assessment and sales information database on the web.
As with most types of property sales, if the property does not move during the initial sale listing period, the seller often decreases the asking price to make the property more salable. So if the property is overpriced, keep checking the updated listings to see if they have lowered the asking price, stay tuned, and wait a month or two before making a lower offer.
We have sold a large number of foreclosure properties offered for sale by HUD, VA and other agencies, and have a number of recommendations and general information about the process of selecting a HUD or VA foreclosure property and placing a bid.
A note about searching Real Estate company listings on the web - Every real estate company in town now lists their properties on the Web. When you search for properties on a specific Real Estate Company web site, you receive the listings that the company is currently attempting to market. You don't get a comprehensive listing of the available properties. The only way to find out about about properties that are available from the widest range of sources is to have an agent do a listing search. The agent can immediately access the listings from all of the real estate companies, along with other unlisted properties that they know are available.
We usually don't focus on listing properties. We focus on selling properties that are listed by other real estate companies (and other private and corporate sources), so we have no vested interest in marketing a specific property. That is one of the most valuable advantages of using a Buyer's broker when searching for a property to purchase.
Properties listed by Realtors are also posted on the Internet.
Maryland Realtors post and search property listings using the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS) (usually pronounced "Maris", like Niles Crane's former wife on the TV show Fraiser). MRIS now provides consumers with limited access to their database of listings via their website, located at homesdatabase.com. This listing search does not provide street addresses, requiring you to call the listing agent to find out the actual location. Or we suggest that you search through these listings, note the MLS number for each property in which you are interested, then call us with the list. We will save you time by arranging to show you all of the properties listed through the different Realtors during one trip.
Realtor.com is another excellent resource. It provides access to a substantial portion of the properties listed on the Maryland-area multiple listing systems used by Maryland Realtors, and it provides access to general information on the neighborhood, such as school districts and financial data. You can also call us for a detailed data profile of a neighborhood (or even an individual street). We subscribe to an excellent service that analyzes property locations based on census data and other government databases.
It is a good idea to become as well informed as possible on the range of current issues related to buying a home. Educate yourself on mortgages, the buying process, potential pitfalls, etc. To help you get started, here are some links for more information of interest to real estate buyers: The Home Buyers Information Center, Homefair.com, About.Com's Real Estate page, the Real Estate Library, and Realty Times. Also, Creative Real Estate Online is an interesting site, with general and specialized information primarily focusing on Real Estate investing, but homeowners can also benefit from some of their articles. And MSN's HomeAdvisor has lots of easy to understand information and resources for home buyers.
Auctioneers are another source for below-market price properties.
If you see a property that is coming on auction in which you are interested, call us and we can help you to evaluate the market value of the property, and determine the maximum bid amount you should offer.
You can also try checking out on-line versions of the local newspapers for real estate advertisements.
And be sure to search the paper versions too. If you find a property, note the MLS number (if it is included) or any other identifying information, and give us a call. We can find out the specifics on the property, and as a buyers broker, we can give you specific guidance and information to help you make the best deal. Remember that since the listing agent works for the seller, they are required to put the sellers interests ahead of the buyer (you).
Did you know that you can finance renovations to a property in your initial mortgage? It is called a HUD 203K loan, and it is easy to set up. Call us for information about this loan program and other general information about financing the purchase of your property. We can set you up with a mortgage broker that is experienced with financing the specific type of property purchase that you are planning.
You should be pre-approved for a mortgage prior to beginning your property search. HUD and VA (and most other sellers) typically require a pre-approval letter that confirms that you qualify for a mortgage loan at a sufficient amount. We can recommend lenders that we have worked with successfully in the past, or you can contact a lender directly. And here are some links for the latest mortgage rates. The Baltimore Sun lists statewide rates, the Annapolis Capitol lists rates for Anne Arundel County, and the Washington Post lists D.C. area rates.
It is a good idea to check out what is on your credit report/history prior to beginning your home search. Your lender will obtain a copy when you apply for a pre-approval, or you can contact the major reporting agencies directly to get a free copy of your report (one free copy per year). Contact Equifax at (800) 685-1111 or Experian (formerly TRW) at (800) 397-3742.
The best way to locate a great deal on a perfect property is to have us do the property search. Call us at (410) 258-6620 and we will search for suitable properties. We know the greater Baltimore-area market, including the suburbs and outlying areas. We are in touch with private, government, banks, and corporate sellers. We continuously search listings to keep current on what is available. Let us know what you are looking for, and we will find you the best deal...
Browse through these links to learn more about buying real estate, but make sure that you contact us when you are ready to begin your home search. Call Rose at (410) 258-6620, or send us an email letting us know what you are looking for...
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