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Wells Fargo and Foreclosures

Sep 10, 2013 - 3 Min read
Real Estate Expert

Each lending institution handles its bank-owned REO properties differently. Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, outsources its real estate owned properties, or REOs, to an outside vendor called Premiere Asset Services. The Wells Fargo REO department has a website where it lists all of its bank-owned foreclosures. Investors seeking Wells Fargo REO properties can also find bank-owned foreclosures on RealtyTrac. Wells Fargo bank has thousands of REO properties for sale.

Wells Fargo, which was founded in 1852 by Henry Wells and William Fargo, became synonymous with the opening of the American West. The San Francisco-based banking company opened its doors around the time of the gold rush in the Western United States. Keeping with its western tradition and the expansion of the American West, the history of Wells Fargo is also tied indelibly to the growth of the overland Pony Express mail delivery system and the development of the Transcontinental Railroad, which linked northeastern cities with the rapidly expanding west coast frontier towns. This history is so foundational to the bank’s identity, that even today the corporate symbol of Wells Fargo is the stagecoach.

Over the decades, Wells Fargo has evolved with the changing tides of American history. The bank weathered the Great Depression and became one of the world’s largest banking institutions when it was purchased in1998 by the Norwest Corporation, a Minneapolis-based banking titan. Instead of changing the name, the new owners decide to keep the famous brand — and its famous stagecoach logo — and even moved their corporate headquarters from Minneapolis to San Francisco.

As the financial crisis of 2008 unfolded, Wells Fargo stayed largely on the sidelines as its rivals were being either bought by larger competitors, or in the case of IndyMac, being taken over by the U.S. government. But on Oct. 3, 2008, Wells Fargo wrestled troubled Wachovia from Citigroup, engineering a bold strategic move that pushed Wells into the top three financial institutions in the United States.

The number of bank-owned properties in the Wells Fargo portfolio will continue to grow, and some investors are taking advantage of the bargains. Foreclosure investors can look to Wells Fargo’s distressed property vendor — Premiere Asset Services — to buy foreclosed properties.

Wells Fargo has a huge supply of REO properties — and it needs to sell them. Investors and home buyers seeking foreclosure property owned by Wells Fargo can find those properties on Premiere Asset Services’ website or Premiere Asset Services, which handles Wells Fargo REO bank-owned properties, is headquartered in Frederick, Md., and has regional offices in San Bernardino, Calif. and Des Moines, Iowa.

REO investors can purchase a wide variety of bank owned foreclosures from Wells Fargo. REO seekers on RealtyTrac can choose Bank Owned under Property Type on the search page, and then simply select a state and a county and click the search button — and a list of bank-owned properties appears — including Wells Fargo REO assets. Buying a Wells Fargo repo is similar to a traditional real estate transaction. Offers are submitted to the listing agent. Wells Fargo reviews the offers from the listing agent and either accepts the offer, submits a counteroffer or rejects the offer in writing. The listing agent will inform buyer’s agent as to the status of the offer. Generally, Wells Fargo repos are priced in accordance with the local market, but remember that banks tend to be more motivated than traditional sellers — especially if they are saddled with a large REO inventory. Buyers should speak with the listing agent to understand the terms of the listing. Generally, all bank-owned repos are sold “as-is,” meaning the buyer is responsible to inspect the property and factor in any and all repairs.

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