REO FORECLOSURE: How to Buy an REO Foreclosure & How it Works 

Reo Foreclosure
Photo Credit: The balance

When people hear the word REO foreclosure, they often mistake it for condemned houses. But this is not true, although looking for an REO foreclosure property to buy can be stressful. And that is why in this article we will educate you more on what REO foreclosure is and how to find & buy REO foreclosures properties using free listings without stress. 

REO foreclosure is a property that belongs to banks or loan lenders. These properties are usually taken from individuals who lend money from the bank and find it difficult to pay back. REO foreclosure properties are normally secure to purchase because the original owners would have given the bank the original paperwork before the bank can auction it for sales.

REO foreclosure buildings are a big deal in the U.S. market, simply because they are usually cheaper than buying directly from the market. Although they are difficult to come across, there are reliable sources where you can buy an REO foreclosure property and we will list some in this overview.

What Is REO Foreclosure? 

REO foreclosure is a building/property legally collected by the bank or lender from a borrower who has failed to make payments on time. REO means “real estate owned”. When a property is listed in REO foreclosure, it means both the bank and the borrower have concluded to sell the property. Although it does not matter whether the borrower has agreed, as long as the property is in REO foreclosure, you can buy the property by dealing with the bank directly.

When it comes to foreclosures, this happens when a borrower refuses to meet up with making payments on a loan he/she collected from a mortgage lender. When a borrower fails to pay some of the agreed sums, the borrower may risk losing the property used as collateral. 

Understanding Reo Foreclosure

An example of REO foreclosure properties are lands, companies, an apartment, condos, mansions, detached houses, commercial buildings, townhouses, etc. 

When the original owner of an REO foreclosure building cannot complete the mortgage payments in the agreed time frame. The bank or lender can offer other options to help complete the payment of the loan. These options may be through auctioning the building or via quick sales. 

If during the auctioning of the property, no bidder can buy the building at the set price for the property, the bank may claim legal control of it. Since the bank can not sell buildings directly, an estate agent will list the building for sale.

In some states in the U.S., the bank/lender has to get legal consent from the court before selling an REO foreclose building, and during this period, the borrower can get another chance to pay up. And if they do not meet the conditions, the bank/lender can sell the property.

They often label REO foreclosure properties as cheap, but not so cheap. The main idea of selling an REO foreclosure building is for the lender to get the initial amount loaned to the borrower back. The reason most of the REO properties are cheaper is that you get to buy them as they come, ‘as in’, cobwebs, and in what do ever conditions they are.

How to Buy a Reo Foreclosure

REO foreclosures are difficult to come by because they get a buyer quickly, unlike the typical house listing. To buy an REO foreclosure, you need to follow these step-by-step procedures:

#1. Do Your Research on Available Reo Foreclosure Properties:

To buy an REO foreclosure, you need to make your research on the available REO properties. You can do this by browsing through bank websites and through reliable real estate agents that are known for selling REO foreclosure.

#2. Check Various Bank-Owned Properties:

From the bank websites, you can check out the properties available for REO foreclosure. You must check various sources and that way you can make your decision on the offer that suits your interest.

#3. Get In Contact With the Bank:

When you find the best offer on the website, get in contact with the bank and make your options known for the offer. By contacting the bank, you will find more information on the property and how available it is for sales.

#4. Employ an Experienced Real Estate Agent:

You must employ an experienced real estate agent for the negotiations. With a real estate agent, you can get a better offer and also get to understand the terms of the deal. Real estate agents are usually employed and used to REO foreclosures, so using the services of an experienced one will help you in different ways.

#5. Get the Home Appraisal by a Professional:

Before proceeding to make the first down payment, get the property appraised by a professional. This will help you know the value of the property without paying extra for the house.

#6. Inspect the Property:

REO foreclosure properties always come with a risk. However, you must inspect the property before making the purchase. This way, you will know what damages or tax you will have to pay. Do not buy an REO property without inspecting the building.

 #7. Make Your Offers Known to the Bank:

Once the property suits your interest, the next step is to make your interest known to the bank. The bank will explain the requirements needed for the completion of the property.

#8. Negotiate and Make a Down Payment:

If the sales contract is not suitable for what you have as a budget, you can negotiate the offer. You can also negotiate with the help of a real estate agent or a lawyer for a better deal.

#9. Complete the Paperwork:

Furthermore, You should complete the paperwork and sign the documents. 

#10. Provide the Last Payment:

You should make the last payment of the house and Sign the transfer of home-ownership documents. 

How to Find Reo Properties

Finding an REO foreclosure property is not as difficult as most people think. We may not easily find REO properties like the normal house listing, but it is easy to find as you can find most REO Foreclosure properties on bank official websites. 

We can also find REO properties at these locations:

#1. How to Find Reo Properties:

You can find an REO foreclosure property on the website of the department of agriculture. The department of agriculture usually lists some REO foreclosure properties on its website. The reason, this is an interesting place to find properties is because it is reliable.

#2. Department of Housing and Urban Development: 

Another safe source for looking for an REO foreclosure property is the department of housing. The department of housing is all getting people’s homes, and that includes REO properties.

#3. Department of Veterans Affairs:

You can also find an REO foreclosure property on the official veteran’s affairs. This is a federal website that is safe.

#4. HomePath ReadyBuyer (Fannie Mae): 

Homepath readybuyer also known as Fannie Mae, is a unique program created by Federal National Mortgage Association. If you are looking for the best place to buy an REO foreclosure property, consider Fannie Mae. Buying from them comes with lots of advantages such as educational courses that will give you more information on how to buy an REO property.

#5. HomeSteps (Freddie Mac):

Homesteps, also known as Freddie Mac, offers financial help to individuals looking forward to buying a house from them. 

#6. IRS Properties:

You can also buy REO foreclosure properties from IRS properties. You can check out their official website for the REO properties available for listing.

#7. Multiple Listing Service (MLS):

MLS is an official database that offers complete detail on REO properties. Although online real estate brokers can see the listings. 

REO Foreclosures Free Listings 

They often list REO foreclosure properties on the bank websites, and also on some federal government websites. Here is a list of REO foreclosures free listings:

Some famous bank websites:

  • Bank of America REO.
  • CitiMortgage REO.
  • PNC Financial Services REO.
  • Wells Fargo REO.

Best websites for REO properties:

  • RealtyTrac
  • HomePath
  • Housing and Urban Development 
  • USDA-RD/FSA: rural development and farm service agency 
  • Tampa Realtor
  • Trulia, and also
  • Zillow

Banks that offer REO properties:

  • 1st National Bank of Scotia- Official page 
  • Bank of America: Official page 
  • Branch Banking & Trust-Official Page 
  • California Bank & Trust-Official page 
  • Chase Bank-official Page 
  • CitiMortgage-official page
  • First Northern Bank-Official page
  • US Bank-Official Page
  • Virginia Housing Development Authority-Official Page
  • Fifth third bank-Official page
  • PNC financial services- Official page
  • Suntrust mortgage- Official page
  • Walls Fargo – Official page

How Do REO Foreclosures Work? 

REO foreclosure property is a property that is seized by the bank from a loan defaulter. During the seizure, the borrower can always get their building back if they can complete their loan on time before the official sales. But how does an REO foreclosure work? Follow our guide on how REO works:

This has three major stages and includes a default, a notice of default, and an auction. 

Loan Default:

When there is a loan default in mortgage payments, the borrower(homeowner) risks losing the property to the lender/bank. For there to be an REO foreclosure property, the borrower would have failed to make several payments. Usually, the borrower would have been given several opportunities to pay up and even a ‘last chance’ offer that lasts for 30- 90 days. 

When there is a loan default, the borrower should get in contact with the lender, and if they do not want to lose their property, they can always request more time. If the borrower still finds it difficult to make payments, the foreclosure process will begin.

Notice of default and sales:

When the borrower cannot make the repayment of the mortgage loan, the lender will issue the borrower a notice of default (NOD). If thereafter the borrower could not still pay up, a notice of sales will be issued. 


Once the notice of sales has been issued to the defaulter, the next stage is the property being auctioned. The highest bidder will get to buy the property in the house’s condition.

Is it Bad to Buy a REO?

Yes, Real estate-owned (REO) homes can be an excellent option for those on a tight budget who aren’t afraid to put in a little work.

Which Bank has the Most REO Properties?

National banks such as Wells Fargo, BMO Harris, and Bank of America all have a significant number of real estate owned (REO) properties in their portfolios.

How Do I Find REO Properties in my Area?

Single-family homes owned by the federal government are listed on HUD Home Store. This website allows the general public, real estate agents, state and local governments, and charitable groups to easily browse available HUD properties.


REO foreclosure properties are one of the best deals you can get your hands on. Although they come with risks, that is why you have to make your necessary research before making payments on foreclosure properties. We hope with this article; have gained more insight into not only what REO foreclosure is but also how to find and buy REO foreclosures properties using free listings without stress.

Reo Foreclosure FAQs

Who can buy an REO foreclosure property?

Anyone interested in REO properties can buy a foreclosure property and they are often cheap.

Are REO foreclosure properties safe to buy?

Yes, they are safe to buy.

Is there a free listing for REO foreclosure properties?

Yes, there are free listings for REO foreclosures properties

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