Want to Buy a Foreclosure? Might Be Good to Wait


Foreclosures in Portland, OrIf you're hoping to buy a foreclosed property because you hope to get a great deal, you may have noticed there aren't a ton of them on the market in Portland these days. Concentrated in the far corners of the metro, foreclosures remain some of their lowest levels in years, with filings down 67% from 2011. 

The incredible dip in foreclosures is mostly credited to new legal processes put in place to slow the process. I've written already about the local mediation program and its positive effects for struggling homeowners-- this program and other new regulations have had dramatic impact on reducing the number of foreclosed homes on the market now.

But slowing the process isn't the same as stopping the process when it comes to foreclosure. RealtyTrac, dedicated to tracking the nation's distressed properties, expects a backlog of such properties to make their way onto the market this year. The Oregonian reported on RealtyTrac's VP, Daren Blomquist's caution that "A backlog of delayed foreclosures will likely build up in those states as lenders adjust to the new rules, with many of those delayed foreclosures eventually hitting down the road."  

We could look to Washington State, Oregon's close neighbor, for a potential preview of what's to come. Similar mediation programs helped push foreclosures down in July of 2011 but in September of this year, new foreclosures had jumped 60% from their September 2011 level.

What does this mean to buyers hoping to buy foreclosure?  In the future, you'll have more to choose from, which could make banks more competitive and receptive to negotiating their sale. But don't expect the process to be an easy one: a deluge of such properties won't suddenly make buying them simple. As always, but especially when it comes to foreclosures, speak to a local Realtor(R) who specifically assures you she or he can help you with buying distressed properties. That's also the person who can help you get the inside track on "coming-soon" listings that fit your needs.

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Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.

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