Foreclosure is a Process not a type of Sale


“I want to buy a foreclosure”

If I had a nickle for every time someone said that to me, I could retire. Many home buyers today want a deal! The news media is full of stories about foreclosures and home buyers lock into their head that they want to buy one too! They come with stories of friends and family members that were able to purchase homes this way.

They are convinced that if it is a foreclosure, you can purchase it pennies on the dollar and get a great deal. Right?! All the media says we can! I have a question for you do you really believe everything the media tells you?

My friend Thesa Chambers in Central Oregon wrote a post about this and in it she wrote:

You Can’t Buy a Foreclosure! Foreclosure is a process not a status of a home. As an experienced real estate agent in Central Oregon, I don’t correct my buyers when they say they want to see foreclosures, I show them Bank Owned Homes or homes that are also known as REOs (Real Estate Owned). A foreclosure is the process that a bank, homeowner and property go through when the homeowner is behind on the payments.

Why the confusion?

Since she wrote this post, we have had dozens of conversations about the topic and we figured out why Foreclosure became the buzz word. Foreclosure has become the sexy word that the media has used. Bank Owned, Government Owned, Short Sale or Distressed Sale — well those words aren’t as sexy as the word Foreclosure. The media needs a sexy word to sell headlines. It is a single word while the others are two words.

Then you have consumer websites that have followed the media and instead of creating separate categories for these type of sales they have grouped them into the term Foreclosure. These listings are really somewhere in the foreclosure process as Thesa explains in her article:

At some point during this process your lender will turn the information about the default out to the public. That is where websites like RealtyTrac, Zillow and Trulia (Zillow and Trulia appear to actually get this information through RealtyTrac) pick up homes that are listed as FORECLOSURES. These homes are often listed on these sites with a price of half what other homes are selling for or obviously great deals.

Types of Distressed Sales

In order to reach consumer’s, I have even had to use the Foreclosure word when talking about distressed real estate sales. I too lump them together with Short Sales and even auctions. It is what the consumer has become comfortable with, and I have adapted much like Thesa has in Oregon. Each call I have to explain to home buyers and investors that what they really want is a distressed sale.

Bank Owned

The owners have lost the house and the bank now owns the house. Bank Owned homes are usually listed with Real Estate Professionals. These listings are often referred to REO (Real Estate Owned). The reality of these homes is that they have been vacant for a long time (often years). Before they were vacant the home owners were in distress, they may have not maintained the home prior to being foreclosed upon. These homes are targets for thieves and often stripped of valuable components. Or worse squatters move in and destroy the home in the process.

Read Also: What is Shadow Inventory

HUD or Government Owned

These homes have been reclaimed by Government Entities and are being sold via Real Estate Professionals, you can also view these homes on HUD.Gov website. The minute they are no longer available they are removed from this website. Sometimes Realtors do not remove as quickly on the MLS, so the most accurate place to find out the status of a listing. Some of the problems listed in the Bank Owned homes apply to these homes as well.

Read Also: What is a HUD Home?

Short Sale

The owners are either under water or behind in their payments. They are trying to sell the home before it goes into Foreclosure. They are working with the bank to negotiate a short sale, where the home will sell for less than what they owe the Bank. These sales can take a very long time to pull together and it is not uncommon to hear of listings taking longer than a year to close. If you want to be moving into a home sooner than later, these homes are not so appealing.

Read Also: What is a Short Sale

These are the most common terms you see when discussing a home that is a distressed sale. They sound too good to be true, and you know that those kind of deals are few and far between. Instead of looking for Foreclosures in WNY you should be looking at the follow when considering your next home:

  1. Homes that may above your price point in a community that is selling in your price point
  2. Homes that have been on the market greater than 90 days on the market
  3. Homes that are what we call “tired”; needs a new kitchen, flooring and fresh paint.

You may be able to find a diamond in the rough, or find a home that an owner is coming to the realization that they are unrealistically priced. Call us today and we can find you the right home at the right price for you!


For more information call Colleen Kulikowski

(716) 650-0051


Thinking of selling your Western New York home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call at (716) 650-0051 to discuss what is happening in today’s Western New York Real Estate Market.

Selection of Homes for Sale


Care to Comment? Leave a reply here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What Is My Home Worth?

Get a free expert analysis of your home or any home you may have interest in today! We can show you comparable sales & market trends and help you do the fact finding.

We specialize in providing you with the information you need... and want in a timely manner.