I have been extraordinarily blessed, in a number of different ways. By the grace of God, I saw this foreclosure mess coming and started tuning my business in that direction over 5 years ago. Because we were working with Gatlinburg foreclosures before they were all the rage, I have been the leading listing agent for foreclosures in the county for several years. In fact, in 2010 I sold more Fannie Mae, CitiBank, and other foreclosures than any other agent – well over 100 foreclosure properties in 2010 alone. This is no small part of the reason that I was in 2010 the number one RE/MAX agent (out of nearly 900) in the entire state of Tennessee. With all of this being said, for many reasons, sometimes foreclosures AREN’T the best deals to be found.
One reason this can be true is that although some Smoky Mountain vacation home foreclosures are sold furnished this is the exception. More often, the foreclosure properties have been stripped of everything of value that could be removed or at least the furniture and appliances have been removed. This is perfectly legal because in Tennessee, the deed of trust (which is the legal document that permits foreclosure if the borrower is behind on their payments) does NOT cover the contents. Similarly to the fact that a regular residence is rarely sold with the seller’s furniture remaining, it is entirely permitted for the soon to be former owner to remove all of the furniture and appliances. The cost of replacing the furniture, appliances, and decor items is considerable even if you choose to take advantage of the brisk market for used furniture that has been created by the increased pace of foreclosures of Gatlinburg area real estate.
Another reason why foreclosures aren’t always the best value is because the bank doesn’t always get the price right. Like any other seller, sometimes the banks simply overprice properties. This misplaced optimism usually just delays a sale until the seller “gets their heart right” but occasionally someone thinks that because it is a foreclosure it must be a great deal and they unfortunately overpay for the bank owned property. This doesn’t happen often but it does take place.
A third reason why foreclosures aren’t always the best bargain is because the banks are professionals and rarely will they panic during a negotiation. Sometimes you will fare much better with an individual seller who is motivated than with a bank that doesn’t feel any pressure. Of course, if the bank auditors are in the area the bank’s real estate owned department personnel may be just a little more aggressive in ridding the bank’s books of non-performing assets.
For these reasons, it is important to consider ALL properties that meet your specs, not just foreclosures and short sales. While foreclosures and short sales can offer remarkable values the traditional non bank owned properties here in our Gatlinburg area can also offer excellent real estate value.