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When buying a foreclosure, do you REALLY need a real estate agent? Before answering that question, let's discuss what exactly is a foreclosure. When a property has been foreclosed on, it means the lender has confiscated the property from the owners (usually because the owners did not pay their mortgage over a period of time). Now, the lender wants to recover their losses by selling the property, making the lender the official seller of the property.  

Back to our question; do you need a buyer's agent if you're buying a foreclosure? Answer; YES, you do. Here's why...

1. A Buyer's Agent Is Familiar With The Process

Unless you're in real estate, it's safe to say you're not an expert in buying foreclosed homes. Having an agent who has years of experience working with foreclosures is only going to benefit you.

According to Chuck Vosburgh, a real estate agent at NextHome Gulf to Bay in Tampa, FL, “Negotiating with a bank is very different than negotiating with an individual, and a real estate agent who has worked with banks before understands the bank’s processes and can anticipate the bank’s needs to make the transaction go smoother.”

2. A Buyer's Agent Protects The Buyer's Interest

Remember, banks want to recover the money they lost so, they are going to look out for themselves. “When purchasing a foreclosure, banks often set the rules by insisting upon certain contracts and conditions, and often, the contracts are 20-plus pages long and designed to protect the bank, with no benefit to the buyer,” says Melissa Zavala, a broker at Broadpoint Properties in San Diego.

So if you have banks protecting themselves, wouldn't you want to have someone in your corner as well?

3. The Buyer's Agent Knows The Inspection Process

According to Will Friedner, broker at Montana Life Realty Team, who has listed and sold a number of foreclosures, “The bank has no idea what has happened in the house, or when and if anything was updated or repaired.”

When you have an agent on your side, he/she has experience recognizing problem areas. They also can connect you with home inspectors who can then perform a professional assessment of the property.

4. A Buyer's Agent Knows The Market

By purchasing a foreclosure, there is a potential to save some money, however, a good deal doesn't always mean a good buy. This is where your skilled agent steps in. “An agent can give you market knowledge that you may not be aware of, like location, condition, and comparable sales,” says Brett Ringelheim, a real estate salesperson at Compass in New York City.

This really comes in handy when you think of the resale value of a property, whether it be your primary or an investment.  Harkes Realty & Associates has over 15 years of experience with listing and selling foreclosure properties.  Let one of our Associates guide you through the process.