Bank owned or REO properties represent ideal opportunities for international investors, as they are sold at heavily discounted prices and all outstanding liens are paid by the bank.
The benefits of REO properties are that bank will ensure that all liens are paid when they take title. This will ensure good title without added expenditure for the investor.
The strategy used by REO investors is simple. Firstly, they purchase the property at a substantial discount. Secondly, they fix up the property and then re-sell it at an affordable price to attract first time buyers. First time buyers in Detroit are able to take advantage of the tax credit and other government backed schemes to get first time buyers on to the property ladder.
Unfortunately, some investors get it this simple strategy wrong by overlooking the obvious. Investors that do not perform the correct due diligence or use a reputable investment agency can suffer the harsh consequences.
For example, a foreign investor brought a REO property for $7,500, renovated the property by spending another $5,000 and placed it on the market for $20,000 for resale. But, after several weeks of unsuccessful marketing, the property was reduced to $15,000 and it still remained unsold. However, a quick drive through this neighbourhood pointed out that in just one street there were eleven boarded properties, three fire damaged property and numerous abandoned buildings. What this investor failed to appreciate was that when considering Detroit for property investment you capitalise the first three rules of property 1) LOCATION, 2) LOCATION, 3) LOCATION.
Location is the first and foremost factor especially when considering Detroit neighbourhoods and do not get blinded by the low prices for REO properties.
In contrast, there is a successful foreign investor who owns several properties in the various good neighbourhoods around Detroit. However, he used a different investment strategy - buy to hold to cashflow.
This particular investor purchased good quality properties for around $25,000. Rather than selling it, he rented the properties at around $900 per month. This allowed the investor to successfully cashflow the properties and potentially resell it until the market spiralled upwards.