If you’re thinking about buying a house at a foreclosure auction, here’s some advice from experienced auction buyers.

Educate yourself. Know how the home auctions work before trying to participate.  Ask a REALTOR to accompany you to the auction. Note: most auctions welcome the participation of REALTORs.

Pay cash. Most auctions require you to close in fewer than 30 days. That’s not enough time to get a bank loan. Hard-money loans are an option, but the going rate is 15 percent plus points, and refinancing right away is probably not an option.

Check the place out. Most auction companies working for banks will let you get in with an inspector a week or so before the sale.

Get a separate appraisal. A knowledgeable appraiser can keep you from getting caught up in the frenzy and paying too much.

Don't get caught in the hype. The auction process is unregulated in Arizona.  Tactics designed to manipulate bidders are not illegal.

Look for short sales. Instead of buying at a foreclosure auction, negotiate a short sale prior to foreclosure. Buying short takes patience, but you are likely to get a very good deal.

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