Foreclosures and pre-foreclosures can be great opportunities for savvy real estate investors and others interested in getting their hands on a potential bargain property. That said, before buying a foreclosure, do keep in mind that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can potentially get yourself in trouble. Other than REOs, foreclosure purchases may not come with a clean title, so be sure to ALWAYS check for liens.
Here are Five Ways to Find Foreclosures or Pre-Foreclosures:
1. Search Public Records:
In various stages of the foreclosure process, notices are recorded with the County Clerk at your County Recorder’s Office. This information is public record and is available to anyone. Just visit your county’s office and you can search for a Notice of Default (NOD), Lis Pendens or for a Notice of Sale. The best part of searching public records yourself is that it is Free.
In addition, you’re likely to find newly posted properties that haven’t yet reached many of the online foreclosure data providers.
2. Look Online:
Performing online searches are quite a bit easier then going to the Clerk or Recorder’s Office, but you certainly won’t be the first to find out about a pending bank foreclosure.
Typically you’ll need to use an online listing service (for a directory of these services, see: Pre-Foreclosures), where you can either participate in a free trial or pay a weekly fee to view their listings. We recommend checking out the free trial offers so you can see which provider you feel best suits you. There are both national and regional foreclosure listing services, which provide Notice of Default, Notice of Trustee Sale and Lis Pendens data on properties in the foreclosure process. Many of these companies will provide information including name, address, loan amount owed, and additional loans outstanding, while a select few will even provide contact phone numbers.
Some of these companies will even provide listings of Bank REO Properties, but you can get that information for free online as well. Many of the large national and regional banks will list their REO properties on their websites.
Visit our directory of Banks with Free REO Listings on their websites.
3. Search Local Newspapers:
Part of the requirement for filing a foreclosure is that the Notice of Sale be published in the Newspaper. If you search local papers and business journals, you can easily find notices for trustee sales in the Public Notice section.
Additional Sources for Finding Foreclosures
4. Find Asset Managers:
You can also find REO properties through Asset Management companies. Simply put, these companies help lenders dispose of assets. Many of these asset management companies will provide listings of the REO properties that they represent on their website.
5. Find Government Foreclosures:
Lastly, the government can also foreclose on properties. We’ve created a list of the various agencies that list government foreclosed properties.
Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.