H/T Contrarian for posting the link to today's Washington Post article on buying foreclosures, which in typical Post fashion, finds two or three anecdotal stories and tries to freak its readers out. There's always an obligatory bad guy du jour -- this time, the banks.
First, we are set up with this:
"Bargain Hunters Flock to Bid on Bank-Owned Homes, but Settlement Is Often Delayed.""Often" -- is that twice as often as when dealing with a regular seller? Or three times as often? Or just "oftener?"
"As bargain hunters turn their attention to foreclosures, many are discovering the toughest challenge is dealing with the banks that repossessed the homes"."Many" -- is that like one quarter? One half? If Northern Virginia sales are any indication, the banks are getting this done to some degree.
Next there's the quintessential victim story -- in this case a buyer who can't figure out why the bank's delaying closing. After four months, they got proactive and went to the courthouse -- and realized that "all the bank needed to do was submit paperwork to the court confirming that it had foreclosed on the house prior to the bankruptcy filing".
Did they have a real estate agent? Wouldn't an experienced agent know to look up the court records immediately, and not four months into it?
"But that letter didn't materialize until their congressman, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), intervened".Did his staffers use Google to make a phone call to the right people? Or did he threaten to take away their bonuses? What did he do?
"Things go wrong, and it takes the bank a lot longer to deal with them," said Vivianne Couts, a Virginia real estate agent. "There are a lot more people involved, many more layers. The Realtor can't always call the bank and say, 'What's going on here?'"Actually, you can. We bought a bank-owned property last autumn. When I had an issue, I discovered it was because of the bank's local real estate agent not getting her job done fast enough. I called some very-surprised ladies at Wells Fargo, and they impressed me with their efficient competence and instant e-mailing of a needed document. (Google was our friend -- it took me about five minutes to find the right person to call).
Next up, Foreclosure Buying Success Stories. (Do you think the Post would dare?)