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Pre-Foreclosure… listings are where the seller is an individual owner who is not able to stay in and/or afford the property any longer and has placed the property on the market in hopes of selling it before they lose it to the bank. These are very motivated sellers trying to save their credit and usually willing to price below market value if there is equity. Seen more often these days, there may be negative equity, therefore the seller asks the bank for a short sale and/or brings money to closing due to the declining market and owing more than the appraised value. With a short sale, bank or “3rd party” approval is required and may take a little longer to close. The asking price is only an estimate of what they feel the bank will approve. Patience here can mean major savings as a buyer!
Foreclosure… properties that are bank owned "REO" and have already underwent the foreclosure process. This means that you are making an offer to purchase directly to the owner/bank. This process is much quicker and smoother, but are offered as-is only. The bank has no way of disclosing any defects or problems.