Travis Jones, former Rush Properties president, is a business professional with expertise in real estate foreclosures. Jones now helms efforts at Cherry Park Properties. Based in Olathe, Kansas, Travis Jones of Rush Properties recently answered a few questions about the foreclosure market and gave his expert opinion on its current and future state.
Q. Travis Jones, what was the primary focus of Rush Properties?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: For the past 15 years, my companies have focused on increasing home values through property improvements within Johnson County as well as assisting homeowners in foreclosure through various compensation options. We serve both sides of the market.
Q. What are some of the major misunderstandings people have of the foreclosure market today?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: First, most people think that what gets homeowners into trouble is some kind of financial irresponsibility. That’s just not true. Usually, it’s the result of a job loss, medical situation or some other catastrophe. In fact, in a recent poll nearly 60 percent of families seeking foreclosure counseling cited a lost job or cut wages as the reason they were facing foreclosure.
Q. What else?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: Well, many people think foreclosures only happen in bad or marginal neighborhoods. That’s not true either. According to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, the market share of foreclosed homes under $1 million is declining, but those among properties valued over $1 million are rising – up 115% since 2007.
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: I would want to tell them that foreclosures are very good bargains but that they should not expect to be able to “lowball” the bank with extremely low offers and automatically win out. We’ve all heard that banks have no interest in owning these properties. But they’re simply not desperate enough to give them away. While foreclosures are usually purchased below market value, one should be leery of anyone claiming that they can consistently find properties for 10 percent. According to a RealtyTrac analysis of foreclosure sales in the last seven months, the average savings on foreclosure purchases nationwide is approximately 29 percent below full market value.
Q. What other facts should buyers keep in mind?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: Many people think that buying a foreclosure is risky when in reality buying a bank-owned property is no riskier than any other real estate purchase. When a bank sells a home there are no hidden costs to be worried about since they clear all liens before listing the home. Also, foreclosed properties can be appraised and financed just like any other property.
Q. Travis Jones, what are some myths people might believe about foreclosures?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: Many believe that all foreclosures are in disrepair. That’s not true, because many people are forced into foreclosure by circumstances beyond their control, not by irresponsibility. In that case, the best thing for neighborhood home values is for an investor who has the means to improve the property to purchase it.
Q. What are some misgivings that buyers might have about purchasing foreclosures?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: Many think buying foreclosures is only for professional investors. Perhaps at one time this may have been true, but with all of the tools available to today’s buyers, such as online databases and realtors who specialize in foreclosures, more people than ever before have the opportunity to purchase them.
Q. Do some buyers worry about the homeowner?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: Exactly. Many fear that they will be taking unfair advantage of homeowners in distress. While homeowners in default should be wary of unscrupulous buyers and investors who do try to manipulate sellers, many foreclosure buyers can actually help owners to walk away with something to show for their equity in the property.
Q. What does the foreclosure market look like today?
Travis Jones, Rush Properties: According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures were up 47% in March 2013 from a year ago. While foreclosure rates leveled off last year in the second and third quarters, many economists and industry insiders are predicting foreclosures to surge again in coming months. Kansas reflects average market trends.
Travis Jones of Rush Properties and Cherry Park Properties is a leader in the industry, providing options for lien holders and financially challenged homeowners. For over fifteen years, Travis Jones of Rush Properties has served the foreclosure needs of Missouri and Kansas through a diversity of options. Travis Jones, founder of Rush Properties, is currently a partner in Cherry Park Properties. Prior to Cherry Park Properties, Travis Jones and the Rush Properties team served extensively in volunteer positions throughout the local community.