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The number one question I’m asked by new clients is “Tni, how can I buy a foreclosure?” The Santa Maria and Orcutt market is full of foreclosed properties right now making it an excellent time to buy. I specialize in helping people buy these types of properties. I am a certified HUD buyer’s agent, and I am the exclusive agent for RealtyTrac in Santa Maria, Nipomo & Oceano.

There are, however, several misconceptions about buying foreclosures. Many people want to buy homes on the court house steps at auction believing they will be able to purchase a home for pennies on the dollar. Indeed, there are people that buy homes for pennies on the dollar, but those type of “professional buyers” often buy homes sight unseen, in bulk, and pay all cash or do not use conventional financing, i.e., they use cash from private investors. In my experience, the biggest discounts are reserved for those who are taking the most risk.

Most people simply cannot or do not want to buy a home this way. For most, buying a home is the single largest investment of their lifetime, and they cannot afford to take that much risk with it. Accordingly, home buyers want an opportunity to inspect a home. They do not want to buy it without looking at the the interior floorplan, having a home inspection, termite inspection, and the like. Further, most first time home buyers have little cash up front and must use conventional financing which takes a little more time to put into place. I’ve found that the best way for home buyers to take advantage of the recent price drops in Santa Maria and Orcutt is to buy a bank owned home using a buyer’s agent. These homes are significantly discounted, and their prices are the current force driving home prices downward in Santa Maria and Orcutt.

Another misconception is that because it is a buyer’s market (and it is) that you have your pick of any home in Santa Maria and Orcutt. It is true that there is a lot of inventory on the market right now. But most of it I would classify as difficult to buy. It is difficult because if it is not owned by a bank, you are many times dealing with a home seller in denial or distress. Many home sellers are simply in denial about the true value of their property in today’s market. Prices have fallen so quickly that it is simply too painful for some to accept that their house is now worth $200,000 less than just 2 years ago.

For many others, their mortgage balance exceeds the market value of their home and their adjustable rate loan is going up. So, they have listed their home as a short sale. The short sale process is not for the timid and weak willed. It is a viable option, but it is also a process. And, in my experience it is a process most buyers have a hard time with because it includes a lot of waiting and uncertainty. (I will blog on short sales in the near future). So, in my experience, most people trying to buy foreclosures in the Santa Maria/Orcutt real estate market are only considering bank owned properties. This is due to the fact that you are more likely to get significant price reductions from banks as many sellers can’t or won’t give you the price reductions that banks can stomach easily. But, there is significant competition for these listings. Many are receiving 3-4 offers the first day they are listed. Some are being bid up past their list prices. So, it is important to use a buyer’s agent that can help you effectvely navigate through the process.

If you are interested in receiving e-mail alerts on newly listed bank owned properties in the Santa Maria and Orcutt market, fill out a request on my website and indicate “bank owned” in the “comments” section. I will create a “Client Portal” where these bank owned Santa Maria and Orcutt listings will be freshly delivered as they appear on the market. Bookmark your client portal and sort the properties into your “saved” and “rejected” folder. This is a great resource for buyers, you won’t have to look at the same listings again and again. Once you’ve rejected a listing, it will not be presented to you again. Sign up today! This is a complimentary feature offered to all Mint Properties’ clients.

Also, I make it a point to be available to my clients directly. So, feel free to contact me on my mobile at (805) 878-9879.


Tni LeBlanc, JD, M.A., e-PRO
Broker/Owner of Mint Properties
(805) 938-9950 (main)
(805) 878-9879 (mobile)

Santa Maria Real Estate Blog

In July 2006, Mint Properties opened an office in the Mission Creek Plaza on Santa Maria Way. Tni’s stated aim is to offer the highest quality representation and professional service to her clients. Independence affords her the ability to avoid a volume driven approach; the result is prompt, reliable, individualized service coupled with straightforward advice. Indeed, she brings the same level of professionalism to real estate as she did to the law.

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