Find foreclosed homes for sale up to 60% below market value on our foreclosure listings

How Long Does It Take to be Approved to Buy a Foreclosure Property?

Home Buying Hands

If you have decided to purchase a foreclosure property, then you are more than likely wondering how the process differs from purchasing a non-foreclosure property. Specifically, you may be wondering how long it takes to obtain the approval of a lender.

This webpage is designed to answer all of your questions about the approval process of purchasing a foreclosure home.

When Buying a Foreclosure, How Long Does the Approval Process Take?

This is a complicated question because the answer depends on a variety of things, including everything from who owns the foreclosure property and how it is being sold to your method of payment.

For example, if you're bidding on a foreclosure property at a foreclosure auction and you bring $100,000 cash with you and end up winning the bid on a home for $80,000, then essentially you are approved instantly - meaning that after signing some papers you are the proud new owner of this home. (Please note that some states require the purchase to be recognized by the court system before ownership rights are transferred, which can take approximately 30 days, while other states have an immediate transfer of possession).

On the other hand, if you are attempting to purchase the foreclosed property directly from lenders, then you can make an offer and expect it to take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks to hear back from the bank on whether or not they accept your offer. More often than not you will receive a response in 48 hours; however, if there are multiple offers on the property it could take a couple of weeks. The same is typically true for foreclosures owned by the government..

For short sales and pre-foreclosures, the time can be even longer since the bank and the homeowner must essentially agree to the final price. In these situations there are often a lot of negotiations taking place and three parties that must be satisfied with the final price, often dragging out the process a bit longer.

In the end, everything from your method of payment and where the property is purchased (e.g. auction) to the specific lender and the number of offers on the property determine how long the approval process takes. Plus, the state you are planning to purchase the property in often has its own set of rules that may speed up or slow down the approval process for purchasing foreclosure homes.

As a general rule of thumb, when estimating how long it takes to buy a foreclosed home, you should be approved in approximately three weeks.

(Keep in mind that this does not take into consideration the time it takes to obtain personal loans or home loans if necessary to make the purchase.)

What Do You Need to Purchase a Foreclosure Home?

The home-buying process you need to follow in order to purchase a foreclosure property depends upon the method of payment.

For example, if you are planning to obtain mortgage financing, then you will need the following:

  • W2s for the last 2 years
  • Tax returns for the last 2 years
  • Pay stubs from current employment
  • Bank statements for the last 2-3 months
  • Credit report
  • Copy of your driver’s license (or other approved photo ID)
  • Asset statement
  • Foreclosure property information

Please note that the specific requirements vary depending upon the lender you choose, with private lenders often having additional documentation required. More often than not, you can search online or call the lender on a direct line to learn more about what information is needed.

On the other hand, if you are paying cash for the foreclosure property at auction, then you typically must show up to the auction with proof of payment. Whether you must pay for the property in full at the auction, or can pay the full amount within a short amount of time (normally 15 days), depends upon the specific auction.

Make sure to find out the answers to these questions before showing up at the auction with the intent to buy a foreclosed home. Taking a photo ID is highly recommended.

What Happens Once Your Purchase Offer Has Been Accepted?

The answer to this question again depends on whether you are financing the foreclosure or if you are paying in cash.

If you are financing, then make sure you work with your lender to complete essential steps to complete the financing process.

Below is a list of everything else that needs to be done before closing on the property (unless the property was purchased “as-is” at a foreclosure auction):

  • Have the home inspected
  • Review and sign purchase agreements
  • Apply for the title
  • Apply for homeowners insurance
  • Determine closing details (time, place, location, money needed, etc.)

If all goes well and you are paying in cash, then you could be walking away with a new foreclosure home in as little as a few days. On the other hand, if you are financing and/or are one of several interested in bidding on a foreclosure, it could take anywhere from three weeks to a couple of months before you can get to the closing table.

Fortunately, you should find out whether or not your offer was accepted within 48 hours in most cases, allowing you to move forward as quickly as possible on securing financing if necessary. In the end your realtor or broker will guide you every step of the way, making it relatively easy on your end.

In short, when answering “How long does it take to buy a foreclosed home?”, you can own a foreclosure property in a matter of days (if you're paying cash) to within 60 days (if you’re financing privately).

Idaho Montana North Dakota Wyoming Utah Arizona South Dakota Nebraska Colorado Hawaii New Mexico Kansas Oklahoma Texas Maryland Washington DC Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Ohio Pennsylvania New York Washington Maine Oregon Nevada California West Virginia Virginia North Carolina Georgia South Carolina Florida Alaska Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware