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What is Bank-Owned Property?

Bank-owned property, also known as real estate owned (REO) property, refers to properties that were not sold during a foreclosure sale and are subsequently acquired by the foreclosing bank. These properties become part of the bank's inventory and are designated as bank-owned or REO properties. When a homeowner defaults on their mortgage and fails to repay the outstanding loan, the lender initiates foreclosure proceedings. The property is then put up for auction to recover the outstanding debt. If the property does not sell at the foreclosure auction, it becomes the property of the foreclosing bank. The bank adds the property to its inventory of bank-owned properties.

Advantages and Considerations of Bank-Owned Property

Buying a bank-owned property can offer potential advantages for homebuyers and investors. However, it is important to consider the following aspects:

  1. Discounted Prices: Bank-owned properties are often sold at discounted prices compared to current market values. This discount accounts for the fact that buyers may need to invest in repairs or renovations.

  2. Lower Interest Rates and Down Payments: Banks may offer favorable financing terms, including lower interest rates and down payments, to attract buyers for their bank-owned properties.

  3. Property Condition: Bank-owned properties are typically sold "as-is," meaning that the bank does not make repairs or improvements before selling the property. Buyers should carefully assess the property's condition and factor in the potential costs of necessary repairs.

  4. Title Verification: Before proceeding with the purchase, it is essential to verify the title of the bank-owned property. Buyers should ensure that the title is clear and free of any liens or encumbrances that could create legal issues in the future.

  5. Professional Assistance: Working with an experienced real estate agent or a specialist in foreclosed properties can be beneficial when navigating the complexities of purchasing a bank-owned property. They can provide guidance on the unique characteristics of these properties and help negotiate with the bank.

  6. Extended Timelines: Buying a bank-owned property may involve longer timelines compared to purchasing a non-bank-owned property. Due to the complexities of the foreclosure process and the bank's internal procedures, it can take additional time to finalize the transaction.

  7. Additional Costs: Buyers should be prepared for the potential need for repairs or renovations, as banks typically do not invest in the improvement of bank-owned properties. Conducting a thorough inspection and engaging a home inspector can help identify any safety or structural issues.

Finding Bank-Owned Properties

Potential buyers can find listings of bank-owned properties through various channels. Online services like RealtyTrac provide access to a database of bank-owned properties. Additionally, large national lending institutions often have loss mitigation departments that sell bank-owned properties.

Navigating Bank-Owned Property

Bank-owned properties, or real estate owned properties, offer opportunities for buyers to purchase properties at discounted prices. However, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the property's condition, assess the costs of repairs or renovations, and ensure clear title ownership before proceeding with the purchase. Seeking professional assistance from real estate agents familiar with bank-owned properties can help navigate the intricacies of the purchasing process. By considering the advantages and considerations associated with bank-owned properties, buyers can make informed decisions and potentially find attractive opportunities in the real estate market.


If a bank forecloses on a home, and it does not sell at auction, it becomes bank-owned-property.

Bank-owned property, also known as real estate owned (REO) property, was taken over by a bank because the owners did not pay their mortgage obligations, and it did not sell at auction.

After a foreclosure, an auction is announced in the paper, and a company who contracts with the fe to sell the property money and recoup some of the lost to bad debt. If no one buys it at auction, it sits on the bank’s books as REO.

An experienced real estate agent, or one that specializes in foreclosed properties, can help a potential buyer navigate some of the unique characteristics of buying such properties and negotiating with a bank.

Banks also do not attempt to dress-up such properties, so the buyer will bear the financial burden of any repairs needed, and it would be wise to enlist the help of a home inspector to make sure there aren’t significant safety or structural issues with the building.

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