Thursday, September 16, 2010

Los Angles Times Article on Housing
I meant to link to this article last month, but didn't for some reason.  Here it is now.   The article discusses how private equity and wealthy investors are buying foreclosed homes and then trying to quickly sell them.  The professional investors are moving in as small investors are getting pushed out.  Many purchases are at court house steps.  This sounds like an easy way to make a quick profit, but it's not that easy.  First you need cash to close the deal.  What would trouble me is buying homes on the court house steps.  These transactions are pretty much "as is," and sight unseen.  You don't know the condition of the home, so it is just a gamble. Here is an example from the article:
Competition at the auctions is brutal, said Bruce Norris of Norris Group, a real estate investment firm in Riverside.

Norris unwittingly bought a house that was the site of a gruesome double murder. No one else bid -- a rare occurrence that showed others knew the history -- leaving Norris with less cash to bid for other houses.

"It's a very lonely place out there," Norris said.

That's only one of many risks in the foreclosure business. People who've lost their homes through foreclosure sometimes vent their anger by smashing walls, knocking over water heaters or ripping out toilets.

"We've literally had people take $20,000 of cabinetry out and feel perfectly justified doing it," Norris said.

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