How to Find a Foreclosure

Ensure that your source is reliable to save time and money.

Wanting to buy a foreclosure? Don’t know where to begin? The best investors know where to look for foreclosure listings. However, there are many scammers out there who will take your money. Be aware that many of these websites contain outdated or inaccurate listings.

There are eight ways to search for foreclosure listings:

1. Foreclosure real estate agent

Find an agent who specializes on foreclosed properties. Look for agents with foreclosure experience in your area. Your agent can help you find foreclosure property listings on The Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a database that consumers don’t have direct access to.

2. Check Zillow

You can also find preforeclosures or bank-owned properties free of charge through Zillow. To view what’s currently available, go to Zillow.com. Select “Foreclosed” and “Pre-Foreclosure” to see what might become available in the future.

3. Newspaper

A Notice of Sale must be published in the local newspaper of record before you can file a foreclosure. To find legitimate auction houses in your area, check the legal notices in the local newspaper. Once you have identified several legitimate companies, you can go online to search their websites for listings or upcoming auctions.

4.

Bank websites

Some larger banks list inventory of foreclosed properties online. Sites can be searched by state or city. Each listing includes photos, descriptions, and contact information.

Some lenders employ asset management companies to manage their foreclosure listings. It’s worth checking those websites.

5. Government agencies

Some government offices require that offers are submitted through a realty agent. Others will accept them from consumers directly. You can find online listings for foreclosures and purchase procedures at agencies like Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration, Treasury Department, and Small Business Administration.

6. Public records

During the foreclosure process, you will need to file various legal notices at your County Recorder’s Office. This information is public and accessible to everyone. Visit your county office to search for a Notice in default (NOD), lis Pendens, or Notice of sale. There are two benefits to searching public records. It’s free and you might find new properties that have not yet reached many of these online foreclosure data providers.

7. Do a drive-by

Take a tour of the neighborhood where you want to buy. Look for signs that say “Foreclosure” and “Bank Repo.” Ask about any other foreclosure listings. You may get a head start on other buyers by asking about the new listings.

8. Auction houses

Auction firms often hold large foreclosure auctions that sell hundreds of properties in one day. Experts differ on whether auctions are a good place to buy foreclosures. Sometimes, hundreds of properties are sold in a single day.

9. Fee-based sites

You can also scan listings from websites that charge a fee, usually a monthly subscription.

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