Foreclosures become hot commodities

Posted May 12, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2010 7:37 p.m. EDT

— With many homeowners struggling to make ends meet, more homes are ending up on the foreclosure list. Some Triangle real estate agents say those homes are becoming hot commodities for buyers.

Debby Stroman bought a condominium in Chapel Hill for a low cost, then fixed it up and re-sold it for a significant profit.

“Banks obviously don’t want to hold on to a great deal of inventory – real estate – so they’re looking to find someone who has the cash and the cash right away to make it happen,” she said.

Realtor Mary Ellen Holleran said it's no wonder more clients are looking at getting in on the foreclosure market.

“We’re flooded with short sales and foreclosures,” Holleran said on Wednesday.

Timing is important when it comes to buying a foreclosed property, she said. Holleran said she tells clients to look at buying pre-foreclosure or properties at the short sale stage.

“You can go in and get a really good deal on a home because you have the banks willing to short the sale, meaning they’ll take less money for the home than the owners have borrowed on,” she said.

Experts say deals can be found at other times, too.

Once the home is in foreclosure, it can be sold at a sheriff's auction or as a real estate owned or REO property by the bank.

But, buyers should be cautious. As with any house sale, Holleran says, people need to do their homework, especially when it comes to getting the house inspected.

“It’s worth it to save tens of thousands later on,” she said.

Real estate experts also caution against getting caught up in a bidding frenzy for a property. At any stage, they recommend consulting a professional.