1. Your Realtor can help you find foreclosure properties, arrange viewings, and write an offer for you. Your offer is only for the property itself and does not include appliances or other chattels which you may see when viewing the property (though those items may be there when you take possession of the home)
2. Submit an offer which will go to the bank or financial institution which has taken back ownership of the property.
3. Once your offer has been negotiated and accepted by the bank then you will have a chance to work on and remove your subjects such as getting your financing arranged and having a home inspection.
4. Once the offer is accepted you will also have to put down a deposit which will go into your Realtor's office trust account. Some financial institutions specify the amount that needs to be put down and your Realtor can advise you on this.
5. When you have removed all subjects and your deal is firm then the bank will request a court date to approve the sale. It usually takes 2-4 weeks to get a court date.
6. While waiting for the court date other potential buyers can still view the property, and the amount of your accepted offer plus the court date will be made public.
7. If another buyer likes the property and is willing to pay more than your accepted offer then they can go to the court on the specified date and submit an offer.
8. If you have the original offer and you are the only one to show up in court then the judge will look at your offer and most likely approve the sale. Lucky for you that no one showed up to compete against you!
9. If you show up in court and there are several other people interested in the same property then you will have one last chance to increase your offer. Your Realtor will have a blank offer to fill in and submit in a seal envelope to the judge with all the other competing offers. At this time all offers submitted to the judge must be subject free (all financing, home inspections etc must have been taken care of prior to the court date, plus a deposit already in, or ready to go into trust.)
10. The judge will then open all offers at the same time and will look at a few things - the price, the completion date and the deposit.
11. The judge will then decide who has the best offer based on the three things stated above and approve the sale to that person.
12. It takes approximately another 2 weeks before the buyer can take possession of the property. The property is accepted by the buyer 'as is' upon possession.