Questions About Phoenix Bank Owned Homes

avatarthumbnail.jpgIt’s been an interesting couple of days’ worth of questions on Trulia Voices. Look for just a moment at the Arizona buyers’ feed and you’ll see question after question about problems trying to purchase a bank owned home.

I’m not going to try and answer these questions here – more often than not there’s more to the story than what is posted here or than what the buyer may be aware of. But they ought to serve as a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about purchasing a bank owned home on your own, or even through the listing agent as we see here:

“Listing agent shows me a bank owned house. I make an offer on the spot that is over the listing price and I offer cash. Three weeks later I’m still waiting to hear from the bank. A friend calls the listing agent about the same house and is told there haven’t been any bids that have met the asking price so the bank hasn’t accepted an offer.”

Here’s another:

“What is a reasonable amount of time to wait for a bank to accept/reject an offer of cash that is higher than the listing price?”

Or this:

“I am looking for information on a house that was/is owned by IndyMac. I had put an offer on it, they accepted and then everything fell through.”

Or this:

“I recently had my offer accepted on a bank owned property. I filled out the Addendum contract which they canceled by accident. I resubmitted it and am waiting to hear back. Does anyone know how long this could take?”

As useful a resource as Trulia Voices can be for getting multiple opinions, rarely do these opinions exactly meet what the buyer either wants or needs to hear for one very simple reason – no one answering the questions has any first-hand knowledge of what really happened.

Every transaction is different in some way, shape or form. And that’s even more true on bank owned homes, where communication from the listing agent and asset managers (who are working on behalf of the bank) often is negligible. It’s not uncommon to not know there’s an issue on a bank owned home until almost the closing date, whether it’s a question of clear title (been there), HOA dues owed in arrears (done that) or asset managers who aren’t able to sign their docs in a timely manner (got the T-shirt.)

There are two basic issues I see with the questions above:

1) If you’re trying to purchase a bank owned home on your own through the listing agent, you’re better off slamming your own head with a kitchen cabinet door for a while. At least then the pain will wear off when you pass out from the bludgeoning. The person above said they went through the listing agent thinking they’d get a deal because both sides of the commission wouldn’t have to be paid; they do have to be paid, to the listing agent himself because the listing agent has a contract with the bank for “x percent” and that “x percent” will be paid by the bank whether there’s one or two agents in the deal. Period.

2) None of these folks seem to trust what their buyers’ agents are telling them, so they’re looking for validation of their suspicions in a public forum. And they’ll probably find that validation from someone, even if that person is wearing an aluminum foil hat.

Simply put, get a buyers’ agent to help you purchase a bank owned home and manage the process on your behalf. And if you don’t trust the agent with whom you’re working, find an agent you’re willing and/or able to trust. Without that, this process is going to be more stressful and painful than it really ought to be.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, bank owned homes[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Aimee Ghimire 8 years ago

    So true. Most buyers we see looking at buying a bank-owned home without an experienced buyers’ agent simply end up NOT buying. One massive headache!

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