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Buying a Foreclosed Home: Worth the Hassle?

by Rebecca Alwine - September 22nd, 2021

Buying a Foreclosed Home: Worth the Hassle?

You found a house at your new duty station, and it’s perfect! Then you learn it’s in one of the stages of foreclosure. Should you continue pursuing it? Maybe cut and run? Is buying a foreclosed house really worth the hassle? There are several types of foreclosures, each with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.


This begins when the owners are more than 90 days late on payments and the lender has started the foreclosure process. The owner may not be ready to sell, so patience on this purchase is key. There is still time for the owner to pay up and keep the house. At this point, it is important to communicate with your real estate agent and research the foreclosure process. Ask questions so you know what to expect. 


  • The seller is usually motivated for a quick sale, which may increase the buyer’s negotiating power.

  • The buyer can do all the standard inspections during the contingency period.


  • A lender may not approve the price or closing cost credits.

  • Sellers still have to move out, which can cause issues for everyone’s timeline.

  • A short sale may still take 45-90 days to close.

Auction property

After a property owner is notified of their house going into pre-foreclosure, and they do not make the back payments, the lender will frequently sell it in an auction. This is a unique way to purchase a home, and comes with its own set of challenges. Nicole Perez and Megan Laycock both have considered purchasing a foreclosed home. They were outbid multiple times throughout the years. Cianna McEver was successful in purchasing two foreclosed homes, one of which went to auction. She highly recommends a knowledgeable real estate agent. “Our agent explained everything, did plenty of research and was very accommodating,” she said. McEver admits the process was a bit stressful, “It was fun when we went to auction, but there was definitely high tension.”


  • The auction property can be sold for a low price because the lender sells for the outstanding mortgage balance owed (not the property’s actual value).

  • Cash payment requirements drastically reduce your competition.


  • No mortgage is allowed to finance an auction property.

  • Inspections are not allowed during the auction process, so homes are purchased “as-is.”

  • The buyer may owe back taxes and mortgages, in addition to their auction offer. 

  • The bank cannot provide information about the property history, so you won’t know when major items were last maintained or replaced.

  • The bank may purchase the property themselves.


Real Estate Owned, or REO, is often what industry professionals call a foreclosure property that is repossessed by banks or lenders. When a bank or lender buys it at auction or no one bids at auction, it reverts to the lender, who will want to sell. In the right situation, this may be an excellent opportunity to get a great deal on your next home. But use caution and discuss your options with your real estate agent. There may be a good reason why the property did not sell yet!


  • The bank is motivated to sell and will negotiate almost all terms.

  • The title will be clear.

  • Home inspections are allowed

  • The house is vacant, so you don’t need to wait for a tenant to move out.


  • The property is sold as-is, and the bank will not agree to any repairs.

  • The bank cannot provide information on the property history.

  • The bank will usually require extra paperwork.

It’s always important to do some research into incentive programs for home buyers and sellers. PCSgrades offers a Real Estate Rewards program (in states where allowed by law) and discounts on closing costs from select Mortgage Lenders. As with all home purchases, a trusted real estate agent is important. At PCSgrades, you can read reviews left by fellow military and veteran families on local agents to find one to help you through the home-buying process.

Rebecca Alwine

Rebecca Alwine is an Army wife, mother of three and lover of her adorable pirate dog. Over the past 15 years, she’s discovered she enjoys coffee, lifting weights and most of the menial tasks of motherhood. Her days consist of working out in her garage gym, audiobooks and pretending to cook while her Instant Pot and Air Fryer do all the work. Her motto: work smarter, not harder.