Foreclosed homes often present buying opportunities. When a homeowner fails to make consecutive loan payments, he or she loses ownership of the house, oftentimes resulting in properties at seemingly undervalued prices. According to market research firm RealtyTrac, one in 563 housing units received a foreclosure filing in October 2011. If you’re interested in finding a foreclosed property, here are six points to get you started:
Real estate agents
Enlist the help of a sales agent or real estate broker who specializes in foreclosed properties. He or she will be able to help you find a house that has yet to make it into a database listing.
Prospective properties often have real estate signs in their yards, so keep an eye out while you are jogging or driving. That’s not to say that you have to keep driving around until you find a foreclosed house that matches your criteria, but if you stumble on one during your everyday routine, why not investigate? This method allows you to see the surrounding area and outside conditions firsthand, which could help you narrow down your search even more.
Many major banks list foreclosure and real estate owned (REO) properties on their websites. Some hire foreclosure asset management companies to manage their foreclosures, so you can also look for listings through them.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development sells single family houses and multifamily properties. Other agencies that provide listings of foreclosed property include The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. You can also check out the listings through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
After a default, a county sheriff may step in and auction off the house. Nationwide auction firms provide their own listings. Virtual auction houses list foreclosures on their websites and may conduct online-only bidding.
Web-based foreclosure companies
There are websites that allow you to enter your location and home criteria, and they do the legwork for you. Many of these sites charge a fee, but you may find it worth your while if you don’t want any hassle. Additionally, you still have the option of finding foreclosures the old fashion way: your local newspaper. You may also want to sift through public records, whether online or at your local courthouse, to find a foreclosure on the market.