4.2 min read
Every year, thousands of properties in the US head into foreclosure. If you plan to buy a foreclosure property, finding a list of foreclosures in your area would help.
Foreclosures occur after a borrower defaults on loan or his mortgage repayments in respect of a property. The next step is for the lender to instigate and follow the due legal processes to recover the amount owed. The result is usually that the lender takes ownership of and sells the mortgaged property.
Suppose you want to buy a property subject to foreclosure but need help knowing where to start. In that case, there are many vital ways to find foreclosure listings in your area, and these may include via:
Government or Government-related Agencies
You can find foreclosure and pre-foreclosure listings in the public records section at your county recorder's office. Three prominent notices are issued to the homeowner and publicly recorded during the foreclosure process: Notice of Default, Lis Pendens, and Notice of Sale. You can search for such notices in the records.
Public records (free) include the property address, the homeowner's name, and often the foreclosing bank, and details of how much you owe on the property. You will need a title search and show details of other liens to get this information.
Some government agencies require that offers be submitted through a real estate agent. In contrast, others will accept them directly from purchasers. You can see online foreclosure listings and purchase procedures on the websites of agencies such as Fannie Mae (www.HomePath.com), the Federal National Mortgage Association (aka Freddie Mac: www.HomeSteps.com) or the Federal Housing Administration, the Treasury Department, or the Small Business Administration.
Real Estate Agents
Some real estate agents specialize in foreclosed properties, so it's well worth searching for agents in your area with foreclosure experience. The agent can check for foreclosure property listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a database to which consumers do not have direct access.
Using a specialized agent will be more efficient and involve less time spent on research. Meaning that a professional who is an expert in the area and due process is on your side.
Some larger banks, such as Citigroup or Wells Fargo, list foreclosed properties on their websites. Such sites are generally searchable by state and city. They include prices, photos, descriptions, and agent contact information for each listing. Alternatively, as some lenders hire asset management companies to handle their foreclosure listings, it's worthwhile to check those websites.
There are free sites; somewhere, you must pay monthly to obtain foreclosure listings.
Free sites such as Zillow, the popular website used by home sellers and buyers alike, have their search sites for foreclosure listings. The process is similar for each. You can usually find foreclosure properties by using search filters on a search and maps page. To find listings for bank-owned properties, enter your search area, click "Listing Type," and choose "Foreclosures" under the "For Sale" heading.
Equator.com or Realtor.com are two other free sites that offer listings of homes in foreclosure alongside short sales, open-market listings, and properties available through the Hubzu auction process.
For the sites that charge a fee, you can purchase the pre-foreclosure listings if you are an experienced real estate investor. Do all those tasks a real estate agent usually does. These include finding a title company, scheduling a home inspection and an appraisal, writing a contract, etc.
Adverts By Auction Houses
Auction companies hold substantial foreclosure auctions, often selling hundreds of properties in a single day. Sometimes the excitement of bidding escalates prices rapidly, and there may be few good properties below market value. Also, there are some risks to buying properties "as is," but as long as you do enough research and homework, it may be possible to find a "bargain."
A requirement for filing a foreclosure is that the Notice of Sale is published in the local newspaper. Check the legal notices in your local newspaper to find locally operating auction houses, then go online to check their websites for listings and upcoming auctions.
Drive Around The Neighborhood
If all else fails, you can always drive around the neighborhoods where you'd like to buy or have heard there may be foreclosures and check for real estate signs. The ones to look for will state "Foreclosure" or "Bank Repo." When you call the agents whose names are on the signs, it's worth asking about other foreclosure listings which may be coming to the market.