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How to Buy a Foreclosed Home in Florida

When the real estate market is “down,” that is your chance to take advantage of the situation and buy foreclosed homes. While it is certainly unfortunate that many people wind up losing their homes to foreclosure, the fact remains that a foreclosed home is usually a bargain purchase for those who have the money to buy.

Florida presents many opportunities for buying a foreclosed home. This is especially true because until the past few years, people were moving to Florida in droves and buying real estate left and right. Builders responded, and single-family homes, condominiums, and town homes sprung up like palmetto plants left and right.

What eventually resulted after the real estate market cooled off is a glut of housing. What else happened? Those who did not move into a fancy new home bought a fine pre-owned home – and many could not afford that, either. Now, there are thousands of new and pre-owned homes on the market standing abandoned, vacant, and ready for a new owner. So how do you buy a foreclosed home in Florida?

There are several ways to look for and buy foreclosed homes in Florida.

Be sure to check foreclosed home listings. These are numerous and usually collect available listings referenced from local banks, brokers, and realtors. These lists of foreclosed homes usually cost a small amount of money – typically $5-50, depending on the number of listings or length of time you want access to the listings.

Do be sure you try and seek out free lists of foreclosed homes. Free foreclosure listings are helpful. But it is important to check back often, as any website you visit for foreclosed home listings will likely be updated daily or even more frequently.

One of the best free sources for finding foreclosed homes in Florida is using The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other government agencies, like Fannie Mae, which typically offer information about some foreclosed homes in a given area.

Once you find listings you like, contact the agent(s) responsible for the properties you would like to learn more about. Prepare to act quickly, as many of these foreclosed homes are prime listings, well priced, and may have several people interested in purchasing the home. It is vital that you have an agent assist you with the purchase, because real estate agents dealing with foreclosed properties can help you maneuver some of the legal and “messy” hurdles in the foreclosure purchase, such as:

  • Finding out about possible tax liens on the property.
  • Arranging the transaction between the seller and purchaser.
  • Assist in obtaining all necessary documents needed to complete the purchase.
  • Help first-time buyers learn more about the home buying process.
  • Represent you in a situation where the seller prefers to deal only with prospective buyers shopping with a professional representative.
  • Working through the stacks of paperwork often associated with buying a foreclosed
    property.
  • Before buying the foreclosed home, be sure to have it inspected. Normally, the buyer must pay for a home inspection.

Some Laws and Information About Foreclosures in Florida:

  • Notice of the foreclosure sale should last at least 3 weeks.
  • The last day of sale notice should be no less than 5 days before the sale.
  • Foreclosure auctions will generally be held 30 days after filing of the legal judgment.
  • The bidder who wins the foreclosed home needs at least 5% down. The balance on the property must be paid by the end of that day.
  • Once the property has been paid in full, a certificate of sale is issued to the person(s) who has purchased the property.

Remember that the process of buying a foreclosed home in Florida essentially requires that you have already cleared the financial hurdles of buying a more conventional property. Make sure you are pre-qualified, have money for a down payment, inspections, documentation, and the hiring of professionals who will help guide and advise you throughout the purchase.

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