I admit it – in over 30 years as a real estate broker, I have never represented either a buyer or seller in a transaction involving a “distressed property,” i.e., an REO (real estate owned by banks) or a short sale. The reason is simple: dealing with banks under these circumstances can be worse than water-boarding torture. Some sellers may have no choice other than to succumb to this process; buyers in the Oakland/Berkeley market almost always have, in my opinion, better options.
The folks who usually benefit most from foreclosures are the small cadre of professional investors who seem to live on the courthouse steps. They pay all cash, get a seriously discounted price, and have the greatest margin for error. Non-professional buyers, who venture into short sales and/or REOs, however, tend to be unaware of how big a risk they are taking. Instead of getting a bargain, you might end up with more grief than you ever imagined.Read More