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  Distressed properties can be a goldmine for real estate investors and homebuyers alike. These properties, often sold below market value, offer an opportunity to buy homes for less, renovate them, and either rent or sell for a profit. However, finding such properties requires a certain amount of diligence, knowledge, and strategy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding cheap distressed properties for sale.
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Understand Distressed Properties

Distressed properties are real estate assets—land, houses, or commercial spaces –with owners who can no longer maintain them. They may have also fallen behind on the payment of the mortgage for those assets (in the case of buildings). Such properties are typically in bad physical condition. They’re often in pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, or bank-owned stages.

Check Online Listings

Many distressed properties are listed on online real estate platforms, including some of the more popular ones. If you’re on the lookout for assets in this category, you may want to check Connect Nigeria’s Real Estate Listings sub-site, linked HERE.

Connect with Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents with experience in distressed properties can be invaluable. That’s because they are far more likely to be in the know about existing properties of this kind than the regular person. They are the first persons you should turn to in your search for houses or commercial buildings with owners eager to sell. An experienced agent can also guide you through the complexities of buying these properties.

Attend Auctions

Many distressed properties, especially those in foreclosure, end up at public auctions. It’ll therefore be a good idea to attend local auctions, where you might find properties being sold at a fraction of their market value. Remember, these auctions often require cash payments, so come prepared.
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Look for Vacant Properties Yourself

Vacant homes can be a sign of financial distress. You will want to undertake an in-person tour of neighbourhoods and look for signs like overgrowing vegetation, decaying or collapsing woodwork, or rusty metal surfaces. Once you identify potential homes, you can ask people in the neighbourhood or use public records to determine the property owner and reach out directly.


Connect with local real estate investors, wholesalers, or real estate investment groups. Just like agents (whom we mentioned earlier), these professionals often have firsthand knowledge about distressed properties in their area of interest and can be great sources for leads.

Hunt for Bank-Owned Properties

Real Estate Owned (REO) properties are houses or other kinds of buildings owned by banks. These properties may have been taken over by the banks because their previous owners were unable to fulfil their financial obligations to the banks concerned. Since banks aren’t typically in the business of owning homes, they may be willing to negotiate on the price.

Stay Updated on Market Trends

Keep up with economic trends and changes in local property values. Regions experiencing economic downturns may see a rise in distressed properties. If you’re tracking developments in this area closely enough, you may get an early heads-up when distressed properties get put up for sale.
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Final Words

While distressed properties can offer significant savings, they often come with challenges, such as properties being sold without any repairs being done on them, or competition from other investors. It’s essential to conduct thorough due diligence, inspect the home or office building in question, and be aware of potential repair costs. Whether you’re looking to flip the property or use it as a rental, ensure that the financials make sense, and you’re not just lured by the cheap price tag. Featured Image Source: Nigeria Property Forum
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This article was first published on 9th September 2023 and updated on September 11th, 2023 at 12:02 am


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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