Last updated on September 6th, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Quick Facts

  • The average foreclosure sale price is approximately 20% lower than the market value of the home. (Source: RealtyTrac)
  • The average time it takes to complete a foreclosure sale is 8 months. (Source: RealtyTrac)
  • Approximately 1 in every 10 foreclosed homes is sold with a down payment of less than 5%. (Source: RealtyTrac)
  • To buy a foreclosed home with no money down, buyers must have excellent credit and be able to prove that they have the financial ability to make the purchase.

Are you in the market for a new home and looking to score a deal? Have you considered buying a foreclosed home?

While it may seem like a risky investment, this type of distressed home can often result in significant savings.

We will cover everything you need to know about buying a foreclosed houses, including the pros and cons, where to find them for sale, how to buy with no money down, and financing options available.

We will also detail the foreclosure buying process, potential bargains and trustee sales, and frequently asked questions that every homebuyer should know before making an offer on a foreclosed property.

What is a Foreclosed Home

A foreclosed home is one that has been taken back by the bank or lender after the previous owner defaulted on their mortgage payments.

These homes are often sold at a discount to recover losses. We buy houses companies also can acquire them through auctions, agents, or banks, but must inspect and research the property before buying.

Be aware of the cons associated with buying a foreclosed home.

The process involves dealing with liens and paperwork and going through the legal process.

There is plenty of risk, strategy, and problems that accompany property in distress like this.

historical foreclosure activity in U.S.

Foreclosure Statistics

According to ATTOM, foreclosure activity was up 115% in 2022 compared to 2021. There were a total of 324,237 properties that had foreclosure filings. In 2021 there were only 151,153.

According to RealtyTrac, the average time to foreclose in the U.S. in 2019 was 602 days, a decrease of 4% from 2018. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Foreclosed Property

Buying a foreclosed property can provide many benefits but also comes with its own set of challenges.

Foreclosed homes usually sell below their market value which makes them an attractive option for those looking to get a good bargain in the real estate market.

However, it’s paramount to have an experienced real estate agent or broker who knows the ins and outs of the foreclosure process and can guide you through the legal process.

Moreover, financing options such as VA loans facilitated by HUD can help you purchase your new home at a lower price compared to other listings in the housing market.

Finding Foreclosed Houses for Sale

Looking for foreclosures? Check out online foreclosure listings on popular websites like Zillow and

Alternatively, consider contacting a agents well-versed in foreclosures who can guide you through the process and even help you find properties otherwise not available on public listing services. 

Local foreclosure auctions or sheriff sales may also be worth attending.

Be sure to also investigate any bank-owned properties or those in preforeclosure that could offer you a bargain price. 

Remember to conduct due diligence before making any offers.

Lenders give owners ample time to try and stop a foreclosure before they take the home away. 

Pre-Foreclosure Homes

Pre-foreclosure homes can be an excellent way to get a good deal. 

These properties are being sold by the owner to avoid foreclosure and often come at a lower price than fully foreclosed homes.

Buyers should note that negotiating with the homeowner and dealing with any outstanding debts or liens on the property can be challenging.

Additionally, obtaining a pre-approval letter from a lender and conducting a home inspection are recommended steps before making an offer.

USDA loan programs are also worth considering when purchasing these types of properties.

Short Sale Homes

Short sale homes are pre-foreclosure properties where the owner owes more on their mortgage than what the property is worth. Lenders agree to accept less than what is owed, allowing buyers to purchase short sale homes at a lower price than market value.

The process of purchasing a short sale home can be complicated and lengthy as it requires approval from both the homeowner and lender.

Auction Foreclosures

Purchasing a foreclosed home can be a great way to get a bargain deal but requires thorough research before proceeding. One of the cheapest ways to buy is through public auctions.

The auction process involves researching properties listed for sale by hud, freddie mac or banks in local newspapers or mls listings service.

The IRS seizes homes and auctions them off. 

Set your budget and prepare for competition from other bidders.

Before bidding, inspect the property thoroughly as most homes sold at auction are sold “as-is” with no warranty or guarantees. 

The houses typically will have a number of repairs and their homeowners have left the properties in a state of disrepair.

Get financing options ready beforehand since if you’re the highest bidder at the foreclosure sale, you’ll have to pay in cash and close the deal quickly.

Government-Owned Foreclosures

If you’re looking to buy a foreclosed property without breaking the bank, consider government-owned properties. They’re also known as HUD homes and often offer buyers substantial discounts compared to traditional home sales.

These properties are owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after being foreclosed on by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

To find these bargain deals, check out online listings or work with a realtor who specializes in foreclosures. Keep in mind that there may be additional paperwork and inspections required during the purchasing process.

How to Buy House in foreclosure with no Money Down

If you’re wondering about the cheapest way to buy a foreclosed home without money down, it won’t be easy, but it is possible. 

One of these options is to explore government-backed loan programs such as those offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or Veterans Affairs (VA). 

USDA and VA Loan Programs

USDA and VA loan programs offer financing options for buying foreclosed homes. With the USDA loan program, eligible borrowers in rural areas can obtain 100% financing at low-interest rates.

Similarly, the VA loan program offers eligible veterans competitive interest rates with potentially no down payment required.

Borrowers may also be eligible for an FHA loan backed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

What is a loan assumption in real estate

A loan assumption in real estate is a process where a home buyer takes over, or “assumes,” the home seller’s mortgage generally as written.

The new homeowner takes on the existing loan, including the remaining principal, interest rate, repayment period, and other terms.

If you ever wanted to buy a home without putting any money down, this would be the way to do it. 

There are two main types of loan assumptions in real estate:

  • Simple Assumption: Also known as “novation”, a simple assumption involves the purchaser of the property assuming the mortgage, and the borrower transferring all rights and obligations to the new owner. The lender releases the original mortgagor (borrower) from liability. In this case, if the new borrower defaults on the loan, the original borrower isn’t held accountable.
  •  “Subject-To” Assumption: In a “subject-to” assumption, the buyer takes over the payments, but the original loan agreement stays in the seller’s name. However, the property title is transferred to the buyer. This implies that if the new owner defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess the property, but the original borrower can still be held liable for the unpaid debt.

What are Bank REO Properties

Bank REO properties, also known as real estate owned properties, are properties that have been acquired by a bank or a lender through the foreclosure process. 

REO stands for “real estate owned,” indicating that the property is now owned by the bank or lender after the borrower has defaulted on their mortgage and the foreclosure process has been completed.

When a borrower fails to make mortgage payments, the lender initiates foreclosure proceedings to recover the outstanding loan amount. 

If the borrower is unable to resolve the delinquency, the property is eventually sold at a foreclosure auction. If the property does not sell at the auction, it becomes a bank REO property.

Bank of America has their own Reo’s. Wells Fargo has their own website too.

Similarly, bank-owned REO Properties are sold at discounted prices post-foreclosure. 

The Foreclosure Buying Process

Researching potential properties to understand the foreclosure buying process. To start, identify properties using online listings or public records from your local newspaper or MLS service.

Once you’ve found a property, conduct a thorough home inspection and consider liens that may impact market value before submitting an offer.

Keep in mind that competition from other buyers is common at public auctions, so it’s vital to have financing options like preapproval letters ready.

Get a Mortgage Preapproval

When considering how to buy a foreclosed home cheaply, obtaining a preapproval should be one of the first steps. 

Make sure that you have all the relevant documentation required by the lender such as your credit score and history.

A preapproval letter can also give you an edge over other buyers when making an offer on a foreclosed property.

By being preapproved for a mortgage with a reputable lender, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA), you may be able to acquire properties with little or no down payment.

Can you use a 203(k) loan to buy a foreclosed home

Yes, an FHA 203(k) loan can be used to purchase and renovate a foreclosed home, as long as the home meets the FHA’s eligibility requirements.

Get an Inspection and Appraisal

To make a sound investment when looking for foreclosure properties, ensure that you get an inspection and appraisal before depositing the money in escrow.

The inspection will reveal any potential issues with the property that might not be visible during a walkthrough. 

An appraisal will help you determine the market value of the house and avoid overpaying for it. 

People can use this information to negotiate with a real estate investor or banks that own such properties.

To find more deals like these in your area, check your local newspaper’s editorial content or listing service like MLS. 

For those who qualify for FHA loans, remember to familiarize yourself with their closing process.

Closing and Paperwork

When purchasing a foreclosed property, closing and paperwork cannot be overlooked. 

Closing on these homes can be more complex than a typical purchase.

Title insurance and financing acquisition are necessary during this time, in addition to prorated property taxes and HOA dues at times.

 It’s an imperative part of the foreclosure process that shouldn’t be neglected.

Potential Bargains and Trustee Sales

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to buy a foreclosed house, consider potential bargains and trustee sales.

Foreclosure properties offer opportunities for buying real estate at lower prices. 

To make sure you get the best deal, do your due diligence and research the market value, any liens or outstanding debts on the property, and its condition before making an offer.

Two common types of foreclosure sales are bank-owned properties and trustee sales.

Make sure you have financing secured before bidding at public auction or negotiating with private sellers.

Final Take-aways

Buying homes in foreclosure can be an excellent way to score a deal, but it’s important to do your research and understand the potential risks involved.

With various types of foreclosures available and financing options such as no-money-down and government loan programs, there are plenty of ways to make this investment work for you.

However, get pre-approved for a mortgage, and thoroughly inspect the property before making an offer.

What are the benefits of buying properties in foreclosure

Lower Purchase Price: Foreclosed homes are often priced below market value, as the lending institution or bank selling the property is primarily interested in recovering their investment quickly.

This lower purchase price can translate into significant savings for cash home buyers.

Opportunity for Equity: Buying a foreclosed home at a reduced price can provide an opportunity to build equity faster. If you purchase a foreclosed property at a discount and the market value increases over time, you can potentially sell the place for a profit or use the gained equity for other investments.

Potential for Renovation:  Buyers should also consider the cost of repairs and renovations that may be necessary to make the home livable.

This can also be an advantage for buyers who are willing to invest time and money into improving the property. By renovating, you can customize it to your liking and potentially increase its value.