How to Buy Foreclosures

Notice of ForeclosureConsider buying foreclosed properties if you are looking for real estate bargains. Foreclosure is a legal process in which the insurer or lender repossesses the property from the borrower who defaulted on their loan. Foreclosures are easy to find with just a little work.

Here are nine tips to help you find the best foreclosures:

  1. Find a real estate agent: The first step is to get a reliable and trusted real estate agent. Never try to purchase a foreclosed property by yourself.
  2. Get pre-approved for a loan: If you’re not paying cash, pre-approval is a must. It means you have met with a loan officer and he or she has “pre-approved” you for a certain amount you can afford.
  3. Locate foreclosed properties: You can locate properties scheduled for foreclosure sales by checking classified newspaper ads for listings under Foreclosure Notices, Auction Sales or Sheriff’s Sales. But your real estate agent is your best source!
  4. Check with local lending institutions and government agencies: The FHA (Federal Housing Administration), HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) and local banks are also good places to find information about foreclosed properties.
  5. Inspect: Have the foreclosed property inspected to determine its condition and market value. There may be problems that you and your agent can’t see.
  6. Determine ownership: Identify potential ownership problems and find existing liens by having a title search conducted on the foreclosed property.
  7. Contact the trustee: Contact the trustee of the foreclosure sale to inquire about the minimum bid the lender will accept.
  8. Make an offer: Follow the submission guidelines carefully. Many offers are rejected due to incomplete paperwork or missing signatures.
  9. Obtain Title Insurance: Once you have purchased your foreclosure property, you must purchase title insurance, have the deed signed into your name and transfer the utilities.

Foreclosures can be complicated, so make yourself aware of your state’s legal procedures for acquiring foreclosed properties. Call or email me with any questions.

Definition and Obligations of a Dual Real Estate Agent

Another important step in their life togetherWhether you’ve decided to purchase a new home or list yours for sale, you’ll need to hire an experienced real estate agent. Selling and buying homes can be stressful, so you need to be able to trust and rely on your real estate agent to do what’s in your best interest, even if they’re acting as a dual agent.

While ‘dual agent’ might be a confusing term, it’s quite simple — the real estate agent is working for both the buyer and the seller of the home. As both parties will have a lot at stake, this could be perceived as a conflict of interest. Below are some of a dual agent’s obligations which are put in place to prevent a conflict of interest.

  • An agent should disclose dual agency – As soon as a real estate agent realizes that a buyer is seriously interested in a property on which they have a signed contract, they should immediately be honest with both parties about the possibility of dual agency.
  • Dual agents should represent both parties fairlyreal estate agents are ethically obligated to treat both the buyer and the seller equally should a dual agency occur.
  • Duel agents cannot disclose personal information – A dual agent cannot tell the other party about any personal issues associated with the selling or buying of the house, such as a divorce or financial distress. This is important because one party should not have the upper hand during negotiations.

If two agents within the same agency represent the buyer and seller, the transaction is still considered a dual agency.

It’s completely normal to be wary of a dual agency when it comes to selling or purchasing a home with a real estate agent. However, it is fairly common, and as long as all parties are treated equally, it usually works out quite well.

If you’re not comfortable with a dual agency arrangement, tell your real estate agent that you prefer to have him or her work exclusively for you. If he or she is unwilling to do that, find a new agent.

If you’d like to work with a professional real estate agent who always puts your best interests first, please give me a call or email me today.

Renting versus Buying a Home

HomeJust because you can buy a home does not always mean that you should. It’s important for you to consider if it is better for you to own or rent a home.

Here are five reasons you might want to rent:

  1. You may be moving within five years. It usually takes five years to break even on your home purchase or investment.
  2. You don’t want the responsibilities associated with being a homeowner. It can be expensive and time consuming to maintain a home.
  3. You have a bad credit report. If your score is below 620, you will not get a good interest rate.
  4. You have a high debt ratio. A high debt ratio means you may not qualify for a loan.
  5. You have job instability. If your job is not secure, it’s not a good idea to buy.

Here are four reasons you might want to buy:

  1. You want to build equity. The longer you own your home the more equity it will build. When you pay rent, that money goes down the drain.
  2. You get a tax break when you deduct mortgage interest.
  3. You want the emotional satisfaction of owning your own home.
  4. It’s an investment. With low interest rates and home prices, buying investment property is a wise decision.

Seek Professional Advice When Buying a Foreclosed Home

Foreclosure Warning Sign - Stock Image_iStock_000054397588_LargeWhen driving through local neighborhoods, you might notice many “For Sale” signs that have foreclosure banners attached to the top. While this distressed financial situation is unfortunate for the owner, a home in foreclosure could be a great investment for you.

Purchasing a foreclosed property might seem extremely complex. If you’re interested in a great real estate deal, but feel a little overwhelmed, it’s important to cut the confusion and contract with professionals who are experts in distressed properties. They can walk you through the process, eliminate foreclosure frustration and get you the best deal.

Here are a few tips to help you successfully buy a home in foreclosure:

  • Find a good real estate agent. When interviewing real estate agents, you want to make sure you find one who specializes in foreclosures. Then ask for referrals from clients who have been through this process with them — you can gain a lot of insight from people they’ve worked with.
  • Have the house thoroughly inspected. Most banks are selling foreclosed properties “as is.” This means the house could be in bad condition if it’s been stripped and abandoned. Make sure you have a good home inspector go over every inch to ensure there are no major issues.
  • Get quotes on renovations. After the inspector has given you a list of problems and needed updates, find a good contractor or two to take a look and give you an estimate on what they would charge to renovate. You’ll want to determine if the renovations are worth the investment.

Buying a foreclosure can be an amazing deal. And with the right professionals on your side, you’ll minimize your risk and come away with a great investment.

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Importance of a Good Credit Score

Credit report - Stock Image_iStock_000021963828_Large

If you’re contemplating purchasing a home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, you need to do everything you can to boost your credit score. This will make it more likely that you’ll qualify for a loan and will help you secure a lower interest rate. Below are a few steps to get you started:

  • Get a free credit report. There are many free credit report websites available that will give you all of the information that you will need to get you headed in the right direction.
  • Check your credit score. A score of 780 is excellent; however, you should be able to secure a loan with a score of around 720. If your score is low, you might want to consider renting for another year while you work to improve it.
  • Ensure there are no errors. If a credit card company has you defaulting on bills for a card you never opened, you could be a victim of identity theft. Start working to have any errors removed immediately — they’ll be more difficult to fix the longer you wait.
  • Pay down debt quickly and on time. Paying off your debt as quickly as possible and on time will help to steadily increase your credit score.

Working to maintain and improve your credit score will make purchasing a new home, or refinancing your existing one, much easier on your pocketbook and your sanity. Also, shop around and check with multiple loan agencies, such as a national bank, a local bank and a credit union because they might yield very different interest rates based on your credit score.

Where Are Home Prices And Interest Rates Headed

Is it a good time to buy or sell a home? In this video, I will discuss my opinion on this topic as well as some statistics that will help you make an educated decision.

Real Estate Agent Acronyms

Group Of Businesspeople Holding Model HouseWhether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, finding the perfect real estate agent can be tough. The process is often overwhelming and you want to ensure that you have the right person by your side — someone who’s trustworthy, hard-working and knows what they’re doing!

That is why it’s extremely important to do your research thoroughly when it comes to real estate agents. You need to interview several agents, follow through on referrals and ensure they have the proper credentials.

All the acronyms after agents’ names can be confusing, so here are a few that describe specializations you might need:

  • SRES – This stands for Senior Real Estate Specialist. The SRES designation is for agents who work with buyers and sellers over the age of 55. If you’re over the age of 55 or are helping your parents who are over the age of 55 buy or sell, you may want to find an agent with an SRES designation.
  • NAR’s Green Designation – This designation means the agent has had training in green building qualifications and sustainable business practices. Look for an agent with these acronyms if green living is on your home checklist.
  • SFR – This acronym stands for Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource – As the certification indicates, these are agents who specialize in short sales and foreclosures. With the economy forcing many homeowners into one of these categories, it could be valuable to have an expert with this designation to help you successfully navigate the tricky processes.
  • CDPE – This acronym stands for Certified Distressed Property Expert. These agents specialize in short sale and bank owned properties.

Just because agents have an acronym or two or three after their names doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for you. However, the designations can give you some clues as to their level of knowledge and areas in which they specialize.

If you have more questions about real estate acronyms and designations or are looking for a qualified, professional real estate agent, please call or email me today.

For Sale: 23W706 TURNER AVE ROSELLE, IL. 60172

This home is offered for sale by Sharon Falco of RE/MAX Central in Roselle, Illinois.


Sharon Falco
RE/MAX Central
455 N. Roselle Rd.
Roselle, IL. 60172
(630) 307-2760
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(847) 670-1060

It’s Time to Buy Real Estate

House of paper in handRight now, homes in America are the best value they’ve been in many generations. And right now, mortgage rates are off-the-charts low. In short, now is the time to buy real estate.

The reasons to buy now are incredibly basic:

  • S. home prices are more affordable than ever – by far.
  • Mortgage rates are down to record-low levels.
  • You can often pay below-market prices on short sales and REOs.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this is the bottom. But with prices this low and with very few other great places to invest your money, now’s the time to seriously consider buying real estate. If you can buy now and hold on to it for a few years, it could be one of the lowest-risk, highest-reward investments you ever make.

If you’re still not convinced real estate is one of the best values out there right now, please give me a call or email me. I will share specific numbers with you about your real estate market.


Group of friends moving into new home smilingIf you’re considering sharing a home with others, here are some of the benefits you could reap:

  • Lower monthly payments: Whether through divorce, widowhood or empty nest syndrome, many people are left with too much house and way too much mortgage debt. One solution is to invite a compatible friend or two to move in and split that mortgage payment. It will also mean splitting the utility bills: win-win.
  • Companionship: Sure, you have friends, but after hanging out with them, it can be a bit lonely to come home to an empty house late at night, if not downright scary. Most people enjoy sharing a meal rather than eating alone. And if you get sick, it’s really nice to know somebody will be around to check on you and take care of household basics until you get back on your feet.
  • Shared responsibilities: This runs the gamut from cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, yard maintenance… you get the picture. Being the sole proprietor of your home can be very demanding; it can be a real relief to share the chores and decision-making with others.
  • Better health: Studies show that loneliness leads to higher rates of anxiety and depression. Even if you don’t feel lonely, psychologists say that having less interaction with others can raise stress hormones and blood pressure. These are measurable physical effects of social isolation.
  • The chance to live in a nicer home or neighborhood. When you split the bills, you can afford a nicer place than when you’re on your own.

If you’re looking for the perfect home to share with friends, I can help! Contact me today.