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Important details about buying foreclosed properties

Georgia residents who are looking for a home could find themselves interested in a foreclosed property. However, they should be aware that with fewer houses on the market today, foreclosures could cost just as much as any other home listed for sale. There were 676,535 foreclosure filings in 2017, and that was down 76 percent from roughly 2.9 million in 2010. The 2017 figure was also 27 percent lower than the number of filings in 2016.

What buyers ultimately pay for a foreclosed property could also depend on what point in the foreclosure process the home is in. As a general rule, buyers want to purchase the home in the pre-foreclosure stage or when the home is sold at auction to get the best deal. During pre-foreclosure, there may be less competition for the home, and it is possible to buy it without the need for a real estate agent.

The downside to buying at foreclosure is that a buyer generally can't inspect the inside of the property. Those who want to buy a home that has been foreclosed upon will need to be ready for mold or other issues common with vacant properties. Theft and vandalism can also be problems that a buyer should be ready to confront when buying a foreclosed property.

Whether a person chooses to buy residential real estate with or without an agent, it may still be a good idea to handle the transaction with an attorney. The attorney may be able to review the status of a title, verify that the home is available to be purchased and help a buyer understand the different foreclosure stages and how they could impact the purchase of a home. This may allow a transaction to close in a timely manner.

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