House buyers find bargains in auctions

March 1, 2009 4:04:47 PM PST
The housing crunch is hitting Houston and homeowners are losing their properties to foreclosure. But the rough economy isn't stopping some folks from being buyers. In some cases, they're getting homes for a fraction of their value.

Houston isn't immune to the housing slump. Real estate agents say nearly one third of sales are foreclosed homes. Sunday in downtown hundreds of foreclosures sold in just hours.

It is the last stop for hundreds of foreclosed homes. This auction is not the first and will not be the last in the Houston area. The sale promises homes for pennies on the dollar and Oscar Comacho and Maria Hernandez believe they found one.

The couple bought their home for a lot less than the listed price.

"It was worth $173,000, we bought it for $70,000,"Comacho said. "It has four bedrooms, I think it is two and a half baths."

Homebuyers we spoke with say they are happy with the prices at the auction, but people looking to invest in properties say they might be able to get a better deal somewhere else.

"You can buy houses cheaper than what they are selling for before the auction," said Mohammed Masri who is not buying.

Masri has already bought a pair of foreclosed homes in our area, paying $46,000 for each. He bought those properties from a bank, not an auction and he is not buying here either. Masri says most buyers at this auction are not looking for business opportunities.

"Individuals, investors no," he told us. "Individuals are buying the houses, investors would not buy at these prices."

Before you buy at auction, experts say you must visit each home you plan to bid on and it's a good idea to get prequalified so you know exactly how much you can spend.

If you missed today's auction at the George R. Brown Convention Center, another is coming to Houston March 21.

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