What do I need to know about bidding on San Francisco foreclosures?

Here are five things you should know when considering a bid on a bank-owned property inside San Francisco:

1. Don’t let a too-high listing price deter you from making an offer. While most banks follow their listing agent’s counsel about price, some banks set the listing prices themselves. So even if a price seems unreasonable to you, you should go ahead and make an offer.

2. You may need lots of patience. Many of these lenders are slow as molasses about responding. The offers they receive have to wind through layers of bureaucracy at a bank that’s located out of state.

3. When a property is well-priced, you may have to overbid. Because some banks are so slow, they receive multiple offers on a home before they get around to accepting, countering or rejecting an offer. I’ve often called a listing agent and been told that my buyer shouldn’t bother coming in with an offer unless they can go above a certain price threshhold.

4. You should get pre-approved before writing an offer. Banks won’t accept your offer unless they know you are capable of closing. Often the lender will even make you go through the pre-approval process with them, or an approved broker. This does not, however, mean you have to use the bank they require you to get pre-approved with for your financing.

5. Terms are sometimes more important than price. A strong offer with a large down payment often beats out a higher price with a lower down payment. Preference is also often given to owner-occupants.