Chicago foreclosures go for 50 percent off

The foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac says that in the fourth quarter, bank-owned properties sold for 50 percent less than non-foreclosures.

February 29, 2012

By Ashley Gross

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(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)
Some neighborhoods, like West Humboldt Park, are riddled with vacant buildings like this one.

The foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac says you can buy bank-owned properties in Chicago for steep discounts, but a realtor cautions that you get what you pay for.

How steep? 50 percent off.

That’s how much RealtyTrac says foreclosed homes in the Chicago area fetched at the end of last year compared with non-foreclosures. But @Properties realtor Sue Fox says don’t expect luxury.

"Holes in the walls, stained carpets, buckled floors - all these things are very common when you walk into a foreclosure," Fox said.

So Fox says a lot of the discount gets eaten up with rehab costs and not everyone can afford that.

"A lot of homebuyers, regular homebuyers, can’t work with these properties because they can’t get a rehab loan to fix it up, unless they get an FHA loan," Fox said.

And that’s why Fox says many of these properties sit vacant for months, if not years, deteriorating even more.

RealtyTrac says homes in pre-foreclosure sold for about a third less than non-foreclosures in the Chicago area in the fourth quarter. Altogether, more than a quarter of all homes sold in the Chicago area in the fourth quarter were in pre-foreclosure or were bank-owned.