When bad things happen to good people sometimes the reality is they just can’t keep up with their mortgage payments. While Canadian mortgage defaults are amongst the lowest in the world at just 0.31%, foreclosure still happens.
In BC, if a lender forecloses on a homeowner they are required to give the borrower a 6-month Redemption Period – time granted to bring their mortgage up to date or find another lender. If at the end of this period the borrower is unsuccessful the foreclosing lender can ask for a Court-Ordered Sale. Once granted the property will be appraised and then listed by a realtor for sale at a price that will get the bank their money back in a reasonable amount of time. This usually translates into a lower asking price than if the seller that could hold out for the best the market has to offer.
If you have found a property in foreclosure listed at a great price there are a few things to consider before submitting an offer.
First, as soon as an offer is made and accepted a court date is set for about two weeks after. At court other parties can attend and make their offers and it can turn into a bidding war with the Court approving what they feel is the best offer.
Another point to consider is that you have to come to court with basically a condition-free offer. This means if you need financing to buy it you can only have one condition left on the mortgage approval – the Court accepting the offer. If you have less than 20% down and need mortgage insurance (CMHC) some lenders won’t take it to the insurer before your offer is accepted so your options may be limited somewhat. You have a much stronger bid if you have more than 20% to put down.
The rest of the financing conditions are pretty much exactly what to expect but again, all conditions need to be satisfied before presenting an offer. This means the cost of an appraisal and house inspection are upfront costs that may be a waste of money if you don’t get the property in the end.
Once the Court approves your offer the completion date is set usually for two weeks after that so you had also better be prepared for a hasty move if that proves necessary.
The last thing to note is that once the sale completes at lower than true market value you have now effectively established a new value for your place. Over the next 6-months or more likely a year an appraisal on this property will have its own sale price factored into its appraised value so if flipping is your game you could have a longer than normal investment period before seeing it’s true market value reflected.
Buying a foreclosure is a step up in the complexity of buying real estate so always seek the professional advice of a Dominion Lending Centres agent before jumping in.