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Do you love bargains? For the thrifty investor, investing in HUD foreclosures-residential properties owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-appears to be exactly what the doctor ordered.  The possibility that HUD foreclosure homes might become increasingly available in the coming years should pique renewed interest among investors; however, be aware of limitations in the process of purchasing HUD foreclosures that may or may not fit your aims for your personal investment.

A HUD foreclosure, or HUD home, is a single family or multi-family residential property acquired by HUD as a result of a foreclosure action on an FHA-insured mortgage.An increase in the number of FHA-insured loans distributed to homebuyers is likely to be accompanied by an eventual increase in HUD foreclosures. As a result, investors could stand to reap high profit margins resulting from the affordability and availability of HUD homes on the market.

Most HUD properties are almost never found in high-cost urban areas. All HUD homes are sold as is, and selling prices are discounted based on the extent of repairs and renovations that need to be done. The process of buying a HUD foreclosure is significantly different than that of purchasing a traditional home. HUD homes are sold through a bidding process that puts investors in line behind intended owner-occupants. During the first 10 days that a HUD home is listed for sale, only owner-
occupants are permitted to place bids; if a successful bid is not accepted by the time the initial priority period has elapsed, bidding is opened to investors as well.

In addition, HUD will pay for some closing and sales commission costs. According to Harrington, Moran and Barksdale, Inc. (HBMI), HUD will pay up to 5 percent for broker commission costs and up to 3 percent for standard closing items, excluding the closing agent fee. Consumers must provide an earnest money deposit to their real estate broker by the time of electronic bidding as low as $500 for properties selling for less than $50,000.Once a bid is won, the purchaser must close within a time period specified by the closing agent and the correct sales contract must be submitted quickly-within 48 hours for most states. A strict settlement deadline is set, usually 30 to 60 days from the date of the accepted contract.

Investing in HUD foreclosures offers affordability and potential for good returns, but investors, as always, should do their research and exercise patience when dealing with a bidding process that generally caters to owner-occupant buyers. For more information on purchasing HUD homes and internet listing sites, visit
hud.gov/homes
Tips for Buying HUD Foreclosures......