Having purchased several online auction properties from Auction.com and Hubzu.com. I find myself discussing these sites with a lot of people, so I decided to do a blog post about them. I have yet to win an auction from Xome.com, but I have bid on those as well. I included them here so I can update this blog post when I end up purchasing one in the future.
I have purchase 4 houses through Auction.com. Overall there were really no issues, just know that closing costs are high. They also attach the purchase agreement to the listings along with the broad closing cost estimates. It can be overwhelming at first because they send you about a 30 page purchase agreement and want it signed right away, along within earnest money within 24-48hrs. Its best to review this info closely before bidding. That way if you are the winning bid its not a surprise when they start the contracting process and want things to move quickly.
Another big thing is Auction.com will bid you up! You will notice if the reserve is not met, and you bid, that you are quickly outbid. This is their system outbidding you on purpose so you bid higher. You don't always need to keep bidding to win the auction. On 2 of the houses I purchase I was the second highest bidder because Auction.com had outbid me, AND the reserve was NOT MET. On both instances Auction.com then contacted me to tell me I won auction and I was close enough to the sellers actual reserve. Don't keep bidding yourself up.
On the first house I purchased the closing costs were pretty typical of what I pay locally (Indiana). But on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th houses those closing costs were crazy high. Always factor in higher closing costs when bidding. For example: Closing transaction fees were $895 and $995 on 3 of the transactions (normally about $300 locally), and $400-$500 for a title search (normally about $200-$300 locally). Overall the transaction process went fine, and the deals closed in 3-5 weeks depending on who the selling bank was (some banks are slower than others).
I have purchased 2 houses through Hubzu, and you certainly need to keep an eye on your closing documents closely. Like Auction.com the closing fees are on the higher side and you pay a 5% buyers premium. The good thing is the seller side does pay a portion of closing costs including the title search and title insurance (which is typical in our area). With Hubzu auctions, they own the title company as well. If you don't use their title company, you have to pay ALL closing costs. The other thing that is uncomfortable is they use title reps located on the other side of the world to handle the title work. They are very responsive when emailing back and forth, but it makes you nervous when you are sending financial information to them and wiring your earnest money. With that being said, my two transactions also had a few issues...
On the first one the HOA was slow to get the documents need to them. Their title company was asking me if I could call the HOA to help them out. Sorry, but if I am paying high closing costs and a 5% buyers premium on top of that, then I am not going to do your job. After they finally got that figured out we closed. But then came another problem. I called the sewer company to change my name over, and they asked if I knew about the $500 lien that was on the property. Their title company failed to pay off an actual recorded lien. After about 4 weeks and several emails they did the right thing and paid off that lien.
On the second deal all was smooth until I got the final closing statement the day before closing. In this case they had the property tax prorate wrong and were not giving me enough of a credit for the upcoming taxes due. At first they insisted it was correct and the taxes had already been paid directly to the county. They county said they had not been, and the title company ended up fixing it after some back and forth.
As mentioned initially I have yet to win an auction from them. I'll update back when I do...
Always keep a close eye on everything when you are dealing with these out of state title companies! Also, factor in higher closing costs when you are placing your bids. If you want to connect with me on Facebook, or follow along on my rehab properties checkout my page Hendricks County Rehabs. Feel free leave a comment below, or contact me if you have any other specific questions.