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Maui

Buying Hawaii REO Properties – For Real Estate Investors

Find your REO Realtor, find your REO.

REO (Real Estate Owned)—This acronym is used to label homes and properties taken back by banks and lenders after foreclosure.

This spectacular Hawaiian plantation-style residence is a direct beachfront home

Hawaiian plantation-style residence located on Baby Beach in Lahaina

Foreclosures: Introduction for Novice Investors, Part 1

As financial institutions tighten their credit policies and REO real estate inventory shrinks, opportunities flourish for those savvy investors who are prepared and have ready cash. Unless you have between $5M to $10M in your pocket, bankers won’t talk to you about bulk purchases.

To purchase REO properties in Hawaii, your ONLY course of action is to contact a real estate agent. Here’s how to find your very own REO agent and those coveted REO properties on Maui. (See my blog on Foreclosures: REO Buying Tips, Part 2)

Banks and lenders take back properties through the foreclosure process. Usually, at that very moment lenders and banks entrust their properties to a local real estate agent who has proven themselves effective in liquidating their assets in a timely manner at the reduced prices set by Asset Managers.

Hawaii Life Real Estate Services developed the #1 residential real estate website in the state of Hawaii. We are the only real estate firm to manage over 6 offices, located on all major Hawaiian Islands, locally owned and operated. Within these offices we have an extensive team of REO agents who cover the scope and breadth of REO properties within the state of Hawaii. Contact us to be placed on our exclusive list of pre-approved buyers to become eligible to view pre-foreclosures that meet your needs in the neighborhoods you choose.

When all legal requirements have been met for each pre-foreclosure, they are ready to show. (See my blog titled Hawaii Home Foreclosures – Maui on Sale for more details on pre-foreclosures.) Additionally, we do extensive research to find REOs within Hawaii that are owned by local and national banks. We work with our investors to fine-tune their goals and strategies based on properties available in the islands, and in consideration of our unique market.

Here’s the secret to finding a good REO agent who knows the biz. Do your homework! Meet the agents up close and personal to see who resonates with your personality style and goals. Conduct an initial interview on the phone to eliminate a needless in-person meeting, for both you and the agent. Which agent has the time, energy, and ambition to research properties and help you build your fortune?—not just one who is pushing exclusively their own inventory.

Find the agent who will listen to your needs and show you properties that will meet your real estate goals. Don’t look for the REO agent that has the most listings. Chances are they are too busy to work with buyers, too cranky due to a payout of 30% to 50% referral fees, and they probably do not possess the people skills buyers need. The smart REO agent diversifies as a buyer’s agent and a listing agent, and knows more about inventory in the marketplace.

Experience is important, but playing the game to win by getting the offer to the Asset Manager immediately upon making your decision is key. This requires an expedient and knowledgeable agent with self-confidence and great work ethics. No wimpy agents please!

With short sale listings driving the market today, REO listings have fallen exponentially. On the island of Maui, there are 87% more condo short sale listings, and 34% more single family short sale listings than the respective REO. (See my Maui Short Sales gallery.) One can honestly say there is a shortage of REO properties on Maui compared to last year. The decrease in REO listings could be due in part to the hold back of REO inventory caused by the recent need to revamp REO procedures within financial institutions.

Last week, I began to see more REO inventory released into the marketplace on Maui. These new REO properties are greatly sought after and very difficult to acquire if you are not connected to the right people in the know. Everyone recognizes a great deal when they see it. The islands are small and the new REO properties are already being dogged by savvy investors, and aware buyers seeking a home for their family. Be prepared!

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Beth Robinson R(B)

February 28, 2011

Kathleen, over here on the Big Island we have also seen in several markets that successful short sales have kept properties from going to foreclosure and becoming REO. But in the Kohala Coast and North Kohala markets I track, there also do seem to be some lenders holding on to inventory. Most people think that’s a bad thing, but if it creates a more orderly market maybe non-distressed sellers should be grateful. What do you think?

Beth Robinson R(B)

February 28, 2011

Kathleen, over here on the Big Island we have also seen in several markets that successful short sales have kept properties from going to foreclosure and becoming REO. But in the Kohala Coast and North Kohala markets I track, there also do seem to be some lenders holding on to inventory. Most people think that’s a bad thing, but if it creates a more orderly market maybe non-distressed sellers should be grateful. What do you think?

Tara Kelly

February 28, 2011

Great Realtor/REO tips and information…

Tara Kelly

February 28, 2011

Great Realtor/REO tips and information…

Kathleen Wilson, RS

March 1, 2011

@Beth … Interesting comments, greatly appreciated coming from an expert such as yourself! I agree that if strategically released REO properties create a more orderly market, it is absolutely better on many levels. Las Vegas has never recovered from the massive amounts of REO properties first released there … which continued over and over again. I am certainly not comparing our market to Las Vegas. However, I am thankful they were among the first, and that banks saw “what worked” and “didn’t work” for releasing REO properties before they hit Hawaii.

Kathleen Wilson, RS

March 1, 2011

@Beth … Interesting comments, greatly appreciated coming from an expert such as yourself! I agree that if strategically released REO properties create a more orderly market, it is absolutely better on many levels. Las Vegas has never recovered from the massive amounts of REO properties first released there … which continued over and over again. I am certainly not comparing our market to Las Vegas. However, I am thankful they were among the first, and that banks saw “what worked” and “didn’t work” for releasing REO properties before they hit Hawaii.

Kathleen Wilson, RS

March 1, 2011

@Tara … Thanks for your comment … much appreciated, and I read your BIO and saw that you suba with your German Shepard ‘Bella’… wonder where I can have my Golden Retriever fitted for his mouth piece and tanks … ;o)

Kathleen Wilson, RS

March 1, 2011

@Tara … Thanks for your comment … much appreciated, and I read your BIO and saw that you suba with your German Shepard ‘Bella’… wonder where I can have my Golden Retriever fitted for his mouth piece and tanks … ;o)

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