It's an interesting time to be shopping for a new home. First-time home buyers will have the benefit of not having to sell a home in a down market in order to buy their new home. Current homeowners will have a slightly more difficult time, as they will be receiving less value from their home than they originally expected, but will also be able to get into a new home for less than expected. Find a good real estate agent, and they will go a long way toward steering you through the potential minefield of the modern housing market. Your real estate agent may also be able to put you in touch with a good mortgage broker. You'll be enjoying your new house before you know it!
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Buying at Public Auctions

Banks want to get rid of distressed properties hastily, as it hurts the bottom line when they languish on the market. As the real estate owned (REO) inventory grows, banks are selling at auctions to decrease supply, so such auctions are gaining popularity. At bank auctions, homes are sold to the highest bidder. These auctions usually happen during public sales at county courthouses. Bank auctions give investors an opportunity to buy properties for less than market value.

The starting bid at an auction is based on the amount owed to the lender. The winning bidder wins the property in the same legal condition it was in before the mortgage was written. Prior to making a bid, be sure the amount you are willing to pay is similar to the costs of other homes in the area.