How close is housing market to bottoming out?

Buyer wants to purchase REO property while conditions are soft

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

DEAR BENNY: When do you see the bottom of the real estate market happening? When do you think we will have appreciation again? What is the best way to buy REO properties? --Tom DEAR TOM: That's the $64,000 question. In an answer to another reader, I said that I now have two crystal balls on my desk, and they remain cloudy and uncertain. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. As you probably know, not every community in the United States is facing housing problems; I have been reading that in some parts of the country, real estate sales and prices are strong. You asked about buying REO properties. For my readers who do not know what this means, it stands for "real estate owned." When a bank forecloses on a mortgage -- or when the bank takes back a homeowner's property by way of a deed in lieu of foreclosure (commonly referred to as a "deed in lieu") -- the bank owns that property, and it is called REO. Most banks do not want to own REO properties because it impacts on t...