Better to Buy Bank Owned or Short Sale or Traditional Sale: Diary of a Rookie Real Estate Investor

Third in a series of occasional articles tracing the experience of a newbie real estate investor who began as an accidental landlord and is now attempting to expand his horizons and portfolio. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Just a quick recap…

At this point I’ve pretty much established my team. I have a very reliable general contractor who I plan to use on future projects, I’ve established relationships with good reputable Realtors to help me find properties and tenants. My accountant has experience with investment property, and I have a number of good lawyers at my disposal.

With the family home occupied, it’s on to San Diego. My son is set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in mid-May, so I have to find something soon — preferably a discounted bank-owned home for sale or short sale — if I want to be ready for him to move in by the end of June when his lease at the fraternity house ends.

Bank Owned Homes and Traditional Sales the Focus
Since it leaves me no time to wait around for a short sale — which contrary to its name can take a long time to close — my Realtor and I have focused on the geographical areas of interest to my son when it comes to living arrangements, and we’ve stuck to looking at bank-owned homes and traditional sales of both single family homes and condominiums.

My son already has two or three of his fraternity brothers lined up who expressed an interest in moving in with him, so securing tenants shouldn’t be an issue this time around unlike the house in Los Angeles.

In addition to finding a place to live for my son I’m using this opportunity to teach him about the entire real estate purchase process and what being a landlord is all about. There’s no time better than the present!

I have a Realtor (whose firm is a member of the RealtyTrac Agent Network) to assist me in the property search. His firm represents a number of lenders in selling their bank-owned properties. I’ve also looked to the RealtyTrac website for potential bank-owned foreclosures and even checked out available repo homes owned by HUD.

Contacting Lenders with Largest Bank Owned Inventory
In the past few weeks my wife and I — along with our son — have toured a number of properties (mostly condos). My Realtor also has email alerts coming to me almost daily on the latest listings (new and those with recent price reductions). At his suggestion I contacted the three major lenders who have a lot of bank-owned real estate inventory in San Diego — Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase — and now have pre-approval letters from all three so I can streamline the process of making offers on their repo homes.

Next time: we found two condos to our liking and have submitted offers on both.

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