Veteran: Yes to REOs and Upfront Appraisals

Birmingham, AL-Judith Haney, a 26-year veteran real estate appraiser here, is using the Internet to spread the word about the benefits of buying a foreclosed home now, and how to inspect a property on your own.

"Buy quality foreclosed homes from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Administration," she advises, "and buy your next house while the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates low to stimulate the prolonged slowdown in America's economy."

In her 2010 New Years Day Real Estate Value Forecast, Ms. Haney states that lower-cost foreclosures and fixer-uppers are still the best value for consumers while citing currently available lender incentives such as low downpayments, no closing costs and free appraisals by some of the country's largest banks.

While warning homebuyers and sellers alike to pay attention to future losses or missed opportunities if inflation takes off in 2010, she also give practical advice not buying indiscriminately.

"Avoid buying a lemon by hiring independent licensed appraisers and home inspectors before offering to purchase a home," she says. Before offering to purchase REO, buyers must inspect the property with all utilities turned to test the plumbing, electrical and heating systems. Her analogy: "Who buys a car without turning on the engine?"

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