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It’s a process by which a bank, a mortgage company or other lien holder seeks to take a property from an owner to satisfy a debt. The bank or lender may actually take ownership of the property or have the property sold to pay off the debt. The debtors lose all rights to the property and all of the investment they’ve put into it. Foreclosure is also an ugly mark on your credit report. For these reasons, understand that if you’re dealing with the previous owner, emotions can run high.

On the other hand, for the lender, a foreclosed property may be one of dozens or hundreds on the books. You may be dealing with an officer who knows little about the property and for whom selling the property is a low priority. The lack of urgency can drive a buyer crazy.

For you, “foreclosure” can mean different things as the process moves through three different stages.

For you, “foreclosure” can mean different things as the process moves through 3 different stages.

Stage 1: Pre-foreclosure

At this point, the property owner has been given legal notice that the foreclosure process is about to begin. If the owner can’t cure the default and get the loan back into good standing, the only way to avoid foreclosure is to sell the property before the mortgage holder takes it away.

Buying a property in pre-foreclosure involves approaching the owner — usually before the property is listed for sale — and offering to buy it outright. The right buyer at the right time can salvage a terrible situation, giving the owner something to show for his equity and saving his credit score from that foreclosure hit. Time, and a smooth transaction, are of the essence.

Stage 2: Foreclosure auction

If the owner can’t manage to hang on to the property, it will probably go up for sale in a foreclosure auction next. Successful bidders usually have to pay in cash at the time of purchase, and there’s not much time or opportunity to research the property beforehand.

A foreclosure auction offers some tempting bargains — but the buyer assumes all risk of anything going wrong with the title, condition or any other aspect of the property. It’s a big bet to make, and not for the faint of heart.

Stage 3: Bank-owned property or real estate owned (REO)

In contrast to the urgency of the earlier two stages, patience is essential for buying lender-owned properties. Once the mortgage holder takes ownership of the property, their eventual goal is to sell it to make back the unpaid loan amount.

“Eventual” is the key word here. Between clearing the title, performing necessary repairs, following the complexities of state-to-state foreclosure regulations and dealing with the many other foreclosed properties on their slate, lenders can move maddeningly slowly from a buyer’s perspective. If you’re in a hurry to buy, this might not be for you.

Also, unless you’re an expert in real estate law and transactions, it’s a good idea to seek the counsel of an attorney and/or real estate agent familiar with foreclosures. It’s not the kind of purchase where you want to wing it.

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What Our Customers Have to Say:

“They were always more focused on answering questions, giving us good advice.”

"We were so fortunate to have found Christine and Olivia when we moved to Florida. As our Realtor, they helped us find the right house in the right neighborhood for the right price. they were very patient as we traveled from West Palm Beach to Boca Raton to look at homes over several months and cautioned us about making unreasonable offers when we fell too quickly for overpriced homes.
In short, they were always on our side working to make our house purchase as simple and successful as possible. The best part about working with them was that they were always more focused on answering our questions, giving us good advice, and finding homes that met our needs. Also they speak French which was very helpful and useful for us since it’s our first language. We definitely would recommend them to anyone. Thank you for your good work!

Marie Pier Larose


Christine has the reputation to remove all road blocks”

“We had over six real-estate transactions with Christine and Olivia Mutelet since 2010. We kept coming back and will continue. Every transaction was smooth and easy. Christine has the reputation to remove all road blocks and take you through a selling/buying process transforming a stressing and sometimes complex situation in a pleasant and easy one. Christine truly works for you as she is taking every transaction at heart as you can see through her passion for real-estate. When I was told that an agent has to work for you as he is for him or herself, this is the case. Olivia newly joined her mother bringing a new level of energy and passion as her mother

Alain Cohen

Buyer and Seller

2799 NW 2nd Av, H-116
Boca Raton, FL, 33431

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