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REO / Real Estate Owned

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Real estate owned or REO is a class of property owned by a lender, typically a bank, after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction.[1] A bank will typically set the opening bid at a foreclosure auction for at least the outstanding loan amount. If there are no bidders that are interested, then the bank will legally repossess the property. As soon as the bank repossess the property, it is listed on their books as REO – Real Estate Owned – and is categorized as an asset (non-performing).

As soon as a property goes into a distressed status (the borrower/home owner misses mortgage payments) the bank will want to determine the amount of equity that the property has. A popular method to determine the equity is to obtain a Broker Price Opinion BPO or order an appraisal. Based on the amount of equity that is determined from the BPO, the bank will decide to try for a short sale or to allow it to go through the foreclosure process. If the bank is able to sell the property through a short sale or at a foreclosure auction, then the property will not become a REO property.

After repossession and the property becomes classified as REO, the bank will go through the process of trying to sell the property on its own. It will remove some of the liens and other expenses on the home and try to resell it to the public, either through future auctions or direct marketing through a real estate broker (REALTOR). Generally speaking, bank REO properties are in poor shape in terms of repairs and maintenance; however, real estate investors will often go after these properties as banks are not in the business of owning homes and so, in some cases, the low price can more than compensate for the condition of the property.[2]

Once a property is REO, the bank or lender will try to get rid of the property by either selling it directly themselves or through an established broker. Many larger banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo have REO/asset management departments that will field bids and offers, oversee upkeep and handle sales. The majority of REO properties that are on the open market are listed in MLS by the broker/REALTOR that performed the BPO.

Short Sale

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property's loan.[1] It often occurs when a borrower cannot pay the mortgage loan on their property, but the lender decides that selling the property at a moderate loss is better than pressing the current debtor. Both parties consent to the short sale process, because it allows them to avoid foreclosure, which involves hefty fees for the bank and poorer credit report outcomes for the borrower.

Notice of Default (NOD)

A non-judicial document filed by a trustee that starts the foreclosure process. More about NOD

Lis Penden (LIS)

Notification of pending lawsuit. A judicial document filed by an attorney or trustee that starts the foreclosure process. More about LIS

Auction / Notice of Trustee's Sale (NTS)

A filing by notice announcing a public auction. More about NTS

Notice (Judgment) of Foreclosure Sale (NFS)

An order signed by a judge directing to sell the property at public auction. More about NFS

Real Estate Owned (REO)

The final step in foreclosure process in which property ownership returns to lender. More about REOs


The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

Tax Consequences of a "Short Sale" of Real Estate vs. Foreclosure

When it comes to Loan Modifications and Short Sales, education is the key. We highly recommend that you always use an attorney to review your short sale approval letter from your mortgage company.

Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines

Other options and terminology

Understanding Loss Mitigation and Bankruptcy

Georgia Foreclosure Law

$8,000 Tax Incentive / over now.

Other terminology:

Capitalization rate, annual loan constant, loan-to-value ratio, operating-expense ratios, etc..

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Toxie, Planet Money's pet toxic asset, died this week. She was killed by one of the worst housing busts in U.S. history.

This video explanes how we found ourselves in such a mess, see video.