Over the years, just as many first-time buyers are looking into purchasing government-owned properties as seasoned investors. So what exactly is a government-owned property, and how can you find one for sale? Is it worth the extra time, or does it even have to be a timely process?
Read on for a quick and helpful intro to purchasing these properties.
What is a government-owned property?
Literally, government property is any land or asset owned by federal, state, or local government or government-sponsored organizations (like libraries or parks) and government agencies. However, for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on properties that became government-owned
through purchases or foreclosure.
A property may be foreclosed on for many reasons, like failure to pay income or property taxes or mortgages, or the owner may have defaulted on a government loan used to finance the property. Oftentimes, owners may default on a government loan used to finance their property. Prior to the mortgage crisis of 2007-2009, only true real estate bargain hunters were privy to purchasing foreclosed properties. However, nowadays, it's just about the same as making any other property purchase.
Something important to know about these properties is that there are also a high number of scams associated with properties in foreclosures. The U.S. government has a helpful list of common scams
and how to avoid them.
How can I find government-owned property for sale?
There are tons of different methods for buying a foreclosed property, with one being from the government. Government agencies like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Veterans Affairs all sell foreclosures on loans they guaranteed.
Here's where and how to find these listings:
- Find an agent who specializes in foreclosures: This approach is the definition of "Work smarter, not harder!" Consult an expert who already has the knowledge and experience to find foreclosed properties.
- Scan public records: If you have the time, doing some digging through the County Recorder's Office may yield results as the foreclosure process is a long and bureaucratic one that requires various legal notices to be filed.
- Online searches: Just about everything is online now! Some government agencies sell items to the public through live and online auctions. These auctions let you buy government-owned assets from across the U.S. and its territories. You can find an updated list of online resources directly from the government online. Important: You must work with a real estate agent to make an offer.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: These government-sponsored enterprises buy loans from banks, and sometimes those loans may go into foreclosure. If these properties don't sell at auction, then they may be sold on sites like HomeSteps.
- Drive around: The simplest and most laid-back option is to drive around neighborhoods that you're interested in and see if any properties have signs that say "Foreclosure" or "Bank Repo" outside of them. Additionally, if you're feeling really savvy, you can look for homes that appear to be vacant and search their status online through local records. This method is best for people who are interested in buying a property in a particular area.
Purchasing a government-owned property can be a great option for those looking to save money or even invest in a fixer-upper property. Whatever reasoning you may have for searching for a government-owned property may be, we hope these tips were helpful. You can start your search for property by browsing Land Hub’s current listings
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