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Zombie properties are homes that have been visibly abandoned but actual ownership has not. The term became popular in the housing industry during the 2007-08 housing crisis when people being unable to make their mortgage payments reached a catastrophic point.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions, a firm that tracks different types of real estate data, zombie properties made up about 3% of all foreclosures in the U.S. in October 2019. These homes can be a good buy, but there are some challenges you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
How Does a Property Become Classified as a Zombie Property?
A zombie property occurs when a homeowner is told they are being foreclosed upon, and they leave their home believing they must immediately vacate. The zombie scenario arises when a bank either abandons or inadvertently never completes the foreclosure process, and the house is left in limbo with no one caring for the property.
Zombie properties can be very lucrative investments because they are often able to be purchased at rock-bottom rates. The problem is there are some risks involved with buying this type of property because they’ve essentially been abandoned for often long periods of time which sets the condition for many unfortunate events to occur.
Homes Have Been Trashed
In many foreclosure situations, a home is already left in poor condition. In many cases, the homeowner couldn’t financially keep up with upkeep, or they’ve purposely destroyed the home before they left. Any of these problems or others are further exasperated in zombie situations because there is a high probability more destruction has been heaped up upon the original neglect or damage.
Squatters May Have Created Uninhabitable Conditions
Once a house is recognized as a zombie property, squatters or vandals often decide the property is fair game. They might simply come inside to be destructive, or they may use it for their own purposes.
Additionally, if vandals or squatters leave doors or windows open, animals, including feral cats might have taken up residence.
Locating The Title Holder
Once a homeowner has abandoned a property, they can be difficult to locate. Some may have gone off the grid or others have no clue they are still listed on the property deed. The name of the previous occupant who owned the home will need to be removed from the title so this will be a legal detail to address before a purchase can move forward.
Purchasing a zombie property can be a very lucrative investment, but it’s essential to carefully evaluate the condition of the property before deciding to buy it. You might find the effort and expense involved in bringing it up to be habitable might be more than it’s worth.
The process of buying a house may prove to be long and complicated. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take before you pursue a home to streamline the homebuying cycle, and these include:
1. Create a Homebuying Checklist
It helps to start the homebuying process with a homebuying checklist in hand. This checklist will enable you to differentiate between home must-haves and wants, resulting in a fast, efficient homebuying journey.
Think about what you require from a home. For example, if you need a house that is located close to your office in the city, you should include this information in your checklist.
Also, if you want a house that features a built-in swimming pool, you can include this information in your homebuying checklist. But keep in mind that a swimming pool likely is a non-essential item. And if you find a home that is virtually perfect but lacks a swimming pool, it may still be a good idea to pursue this house.
2. Establish a Budget
How much can you afford to spend on a house? This question frequently plagues buyers as they proceed along the homebuying journey. Luckily, you can determine how much money is at your disposal if you develop a budget.
To budget effectively, it helps to meet with local lenders. Banks and credit unions generally offer a wide range of mortgage options and can help you make an informed mortgage decision.
In addition, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to entering the real estate market. Because if you have a mortgage, you can pursue houses that fall within a specific price range and reduce the risk of overspending to acquire your dream house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it is beneficial to have a homebuying expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands housing market patterns and trends and can help you plan ahead for a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying queries as well.
Furthermore, a real estate agent acts as a guide throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and help you finalize a home purchase. By doing so, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to prepare. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can get the support you need to plan ahead for the best- and worst-case homebuying scenarios. That way, you'll be able to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles before they escalate.
Ready to buy a house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to pursuing your dream residence.
Are you an experienced homebuyer? If so, you may be better equipped than others to enjoy a quick, worry-free homebuying experience.
Ultimately, a veteran homebuyer can learn a lot from his or her past experiences, including:
1. How to Avoid Paying Too Much for a House
The housing market offers many opportunities for veteran and first-time homebuyers alike. However, a first-time homebuyer may struggle to pounce at an opportunity to acquire a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. On the other hand, an experienced homebuyer likely knows what it takes to acquire a house at a price that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.
As an experienced homebuyer, it generally helps to think about how you narrowed your price range when you most recently searched for a home. This experience may guide you as you look to establish a price range for an upcoming house search.
Furthermore, a veteran homebuyer may know exactly what types of housing market data to examine before entering the real estate market. By evaluating the prices of recently sold houses and available residences in cities and towns where you'd like to live, you can use assorted real estate market data to accelerate your home search.
2. How to Get Home Financing
If you struggled to get a mortgage for your first home, there is no need to deal with home financing problems once again. Instead, a veteran homebuyer can allocate the necessary time and resources to get pre-approved for a mortgage and enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
To receive pre-approval for a mortgage, it usually is a good idea to meet with various banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can educate you about myriad mortgage options and help you select the ideal mortgage based on your homebuying needs.
3. How to Differentiate a Buyer's Market from a Seller's Market
Regardless of whether you previously bought a house in a buyer's or seller's market, you can use your past homebuying experience to help you assess the current state of the housing sector. Then, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
If you notice houses are selling quickly at prices above their initial asking figures, you may be preparing to enter a seller's market. In this scenario, you may need to act quickly to acquire a great house.
Comparatively, if you find that homes are lingering on the housing market for many weeks or months, a buyer's market may be in place. In a buyer's market, you may be able to purchase a stellar house at a discounted price due to the sheer volume of houses that are available.
Before you launch a home search, it is important to note that even a veteran homebuyer may need help at times. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support throughout the homebuying journey. In fact, this housing market professional will make it easy for you to discover a superb house in no time at all.
If you want to buy your dream house in the near future, you likely will need to put together a competitive offer to purchase. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an immediate "Yes" from a property seller after you submit your homebuying proposal.
Ultimately, it helps to know what differentiates a competitive homebuying proposal from a lowball one. If a homebuyer understands what to offer for a residence, he or she should have no trouble purchasing the right residence at the right price.
To better understand how to acquire your dream house at the lowest-possible price, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine what to offer for a residence.
1. Study the Housing Market Closely
The housing market experiences ebbs and flows. Therefore, a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. And if you fail to learn about the current state of the real estate market, you may struggle to put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.
Analyze the prices of available houses in your area, the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns and other housing market data. With this information in hand, you can find out whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can craft an offer to purchase your dream residence that accounts for the present state of the real estate market.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Your Dream Home
No house is perfect, and even your dream home may have its fair share of flaws. Fortunately, a homebuyer who assesses the pros and cons of a house may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
If you view a house multiple times, you can learn about all aspects of this home and assess any property damage. After you obtain these home insights, you can create a competitive offer to purchase that accounts for the house's current condition.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house at a price that matches your expectations, it generally is beneficial to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will do everything possible to help you buy your dream home at a price that fits your budget.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and can help you map out a successful homebuying strategy. He or she first will offer insights into available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Next, when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will make it easy to navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey.
Ready to streamline your quest for your ideal house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your chances of acquiring your dream home at a price that you can afford.
A buyer's market typically is a dream come true for those who want to find a high-quality and affordable house. In fact, there are many things you can do to capitalize on a buyer's market to ensure you can purchase a house that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the most out of a buyer's market.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
Consider where you want to live and what you want to find in your dream home – you'll be glad you did. If you hone your house search, you can avoid wasting time and resources on homes that fail to meet your expectations.
As you evaluate potential home destinations, think about your day-to-day activities. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to search for houses that are in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have kids, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.
In addition, it often helps to make a list of home must-haves. Once you know what features you want in your dream home, you can conduct an in-depth search to discover a house that will suit you perfectly.
2. Get a Mortgage
A mortgage is crucial, particularly for individuals who want to take advantage of a buyer's market. Because if you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you can map out your home search based on your budget.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage generally won't take long. Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you everything you need to know about home financing and help you select the right mortgage. Furthermore, these financial institutions employ mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing concerns and queries.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to streamline your search for a home in a buyer's market, you should work with an expert real estate agent. That way, you can receive homebuying tips and recommendations you may struggle to receive elsewhere.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to complete a successful house search in a buyer's market. As such, he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true.
For instance, if you want to purchase a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to buy a house at a low price, a real estate agent can help you discover a terrific residence that matches your pricing expectations.
As you get set to enter a buyer's market, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can simplify your home pursuit in a buyer's market. As a result, you can find a wonderful residence that is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.