Foreclosure Deals in Orange County

A friend asked me to recommend a methodology to find foreclosures in Orange County California today to flip in 2013 for profit. This is my synopsis of Orange County opportunities for residential real estate returns 2013. This is a loosely described chain of ideas as to how one might go about finding distressed properties in Orange County

According to Data Quick Notice of default filings fell last quarter across all home price categories.

“Mortgage defaults remained far more concentrated in the most affordable neighborhoods. Zip codes with third-quarter 2012 median sale prices below $200,000 collectively saw about 8 NoDs filed for every 1,000 homes in those zip codes, while the ratio was about 5 NoDs filed per 1,000 homes for zip codes with $200,000 to $800,000 medians. For the group of zip codes with median sale prices above $800,000, there were just under 2 NoDs filed per 1,000 homes.” (Data Quick)

Most of the loans now going into default are from the 2005-2007 period: the median origination quarter for defaulted loans is still third-quarter 2006. Third quarter 2006 was perhaps the high of the California Real estate boom and by first quarter of 2007 WAMU and Countrywide started to restrict low document loans to wage earners then my end of 2007 stopped all together. It is those loans originated or homes purchased in 2006 with the same owner today that are at the highest risk for default because many are seriously upside down and death, divorce disaster, or job relocation will have them forced to move. Some may still be in the home not making payments.

The big three "beneficiaries" in the foreclosure process last quarter were Bank of America (8,061) mostly all are Countrywide loans that they “got” not acquired and have no skin in the game, JP Morgan Chase(6,713) also big number are WAMU loans they got without paying for them and Wells Fargo (5,780) Wachovia, and others.

The trustees handling most of the defaults last quarter were Recon Trust Co (mostly for Bank of America and Bank of New York), Quality Loan Service Corp (Bank of America) and NDEx West (Wells Fargo). These trustees don’t sell off bulk properties – that’s a myth in Orange County.

In Orange County there is great variety in the location. I would suggest that your best return on investment is in the best locations. So how can you know what is the best? Best locations being defined as the most desirable in terms of highest value in past, those that can be financed easily ( you mentioned that you want to stay under FHA limits), and have a view.

The Cities I suggest you target are: Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, and Dana Point. Although I believe Laguna Beach will see the quickest rebound in values (and perhaps Corona Del Mar) these communities are a bit out of your price range.

Laguna Beach does have some properties in that price range with NOD current as follows by street name:

Laguna Canyon Road, Alifieri, Katella, Santa Ana, Cypress, Meadowlark, Jewel, Anns Lane

And so on but the pickle is in Laguna you have to know the house. Laguna can have funky building construction and often illegal additions that as a flipper you will be harnessed to City Planning office forever trying to get some bootleg unit to conform. A buyer must also know the difference between being in the village and south … and so on.

. Notices of Default  Numbers Declining Trustees Deeds further down)
houses and condos

Los Angeles County NOD prior quarter 14367 last Q 10,064 down 30%

Orange County        NOD prior quarter 4817   last Q 3255     down 32%

I suggest several approaches towards locating properties:

    Make back up offers on certain short sales that are past 45 days in the process as the value submitted 45 days or more ago may be lower than the cost today. Swoop in and buy them from Bank of America, Chase,  or Wells  before they last ditch foreclose.

    Door to door knock on residents who purchased in 2006 and uncover short sales or sellers in trouble to negotiate a deal

    Buy properties at courthouse and communicate with Realtor about status and structural defects of any subject

    Chase down “expired” listings that are in need of quick sales or had agent who isn’t cooperative or they have now grown tired of having open houses and come to Jesus on price

At the Santa Ana Court House there are on average 100 viable bidders with cashier’s checks registered to purchase properties. They work with their ipad or laptop to access property information as the list of auctioned properties changes and fluxes daily. You know one key to investing is to have a trusted Realtor who has already walked through the property and accessed the flaws and rehab work necessary as well as the location and view. In Orange County views are a large part of the actual value and very difficult to know from a Google map or photographs the real value of a subject property’s view. I assume you experienced this in LA County to the same extent.

You should vary the value of the single family home (door units) you plan to buy. I suggest you find:

Homes in the $500 - $600 range in Laguna Niguel that are on a stable hillside with lower Homeowner Association dues ( these vary from $ 160- $600 making it just a little harder to qualify) perhaps most of these will be single level which is also desirable and easier to rehab. All should have special attention to front landscape, repaint and perhaps all the same appliances (those are often missing or trashed) Average year built is about 1995.
Homes in Laguna Beach in the $ 800 range that may not have a view but are in a “hotly” desirable community.


So now you will ask me why not Placentia, Anaheim or Yorba Linda? Yes you can find cheaper houses there but the communities are not going to recover as quickly in my mind. Feel free to call me, I’ve bought and sold a couple flips, even have the contractor’s license to know how to hire great people. (949) 784-9699

 Right now there are only 37 possible properties in Notice of Default, the pickings are slim. The market in Orange County is on recovery mode




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