When the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires residential properties following foreclosure actions, those properties become what are known as HUD homes. These houses have gone through foreclosure as a result of the homeowners defaulting on FHA-insured mortgages. More often than not, these homes are single residence houses, but they can be multiple resident properties up to four units.
Those that are interested in purchasing a HUD home can view a nationwide listing of homes for sale on the HUD website. The great thing about a HUD home is that almost anyone can qualify to buy. There may be restrictions on the loan and you will have to meet basic qualifications to obtain financing, but it`s a relatively easy process.
The downside of purchasing a HUD home is that HUD does not guarantee the condition of the house nor does the agency pay to have any problems fixed. This could mean buying a money pit. Foreclosed homes are often left in a hurry due to repossession, so the time and care to leave them in good shape is not taken. You can expect many of these homes to be filthy and outdated and some may not even be structurally sound. You`re basically taking a gamble and the wiring might not run properly or the plumbing might not work. There might be termites eating away at the attic and there may be a number of other issues that won`t turn up until after you`ve moved in.
This isn`t to say that HUD homes are necessarily bad. In fact, buying a HUD home is one of the most affordable ways to get a nice house. They are generally cheaper than those being sold through realtors where the final price is decided upon by the owner.
HUD also strongly recommends that potential buyers pay for a professional home inspection before making an offer. This gives you a chance to see if there are any major problems with the foundation elements of the home. Cosmetic issues like paint, outdated cabinetry and retro flooring can be fixed over time.
Another great thing is that FHA loans tend to be more lenient with qualifications, so people with past credit mistakes or a weak credit score may still be able to qualify for the mortgage. In order to apply for this type of loan, however, you need to be the owner occupant who plans on making the house your primary residence. Investors need not apply.
HUD homes are good long-term investments because they are often sold at below market value. Since they are also sold “as-is”, you may be surprised at how much less you could end up paying for a HUD home. The downside of this is that these houses are often not in the best neighborhoods, but keep checking the database listings to see if something worthwhile comes up.
Since buyers must obtain financing through FHA, it`s a good idea going into the house hunt knowing where you stand financially. This means knowing how much house you can afford based on interest rates, loan terms and monthly payments. Utilize a mortgage calculator prior to any home purchase, HUD or not.