Searching Public Records for Forclosures

27 Replies

What is the most effective way to search and track potential foreclosures in North Carolina?  I am struggling to find public records in any counties where I can find Notice of Default or Notice of Sale.  I am not opposed to paying for the leads from a company comparable to something like Property Radar.  Looking to move to NC in the next year and am looking to market to foreclosures to find our new home.  Thanks!

"Come on up" to NC @Brent Hill  

I'm no expert but the local county courthouse's bulletin board has worked out fine for me. I simply drive to the courthouse and write down the addresses of all the homes that have up-coming auction dates. I say "write down" because some courts won't allow electronics inside. I've also found homes by "driving for dollars." I'll drive through a neighborhood of interest and look for the "Notice of Sale" papers on the front doors or what seems to be abandoned homes (overgrown grass is the best giveaway). Zillow and other websites show some of these county auctions at times but not anywhere near the amount that's actually in process. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on foreclosures, the bulletin board is it.

@Miguelito Fernandez   Thanks for the info!  That is a bummer that these records aren't searchable online.  What about searching local newspapers?

@Brent Hill To be honest, I've never read the local newspapers. I think, eventually, the courthouses will have this info at least on their own website. I really didn't know much when I first started out. All I knew was that I wanted to own my neighbor's house that was going through foreclosure and was told to go to the courthouse at a certain date. The people at my local courthouse were really friendly and helped me out. They explained the process to me and since then I've attended 7 auctions with success in each one. 

This isn't searchable online but is still convenient: If you receive info on a house (the address is needed) about being a possible foreclosure, and want to know its status, you can either search online or call the county tax department to get the owner's name(s) which is needed for when you call the foreclosure department (press "0" to speak with someone in that department). They are the ones in charge of the bulletin board. That's the best way I can think of to save a trip to the courthouse but to get the juicy list of foreclosed addresses, the bulletin board is the spot. 

@Brent Hill You'll want to read up on how the NC foreclosures at the court house steps work. There's a 10 day upset bid process here in NC...every time the bid is upset, the 10 day clock re-sets.

property Radar is going nationwide shortly.. you will be all set when this happens. I had dinner with Sean O'Toole at J Martins event he is quite excited to roll it out.. it will have a marketing component as well so from what I gleaned

1 app

includes

1. Foreclosures  ( it works great in Oregon were I live its made me significant money on a few deals mid 6 figures)

2. drive for dollars component  one of our fav ways to find deals.

3. direct marketing mailer component no more having to put list together get them to the direct mail companies all done on the app in one place.

I believe this will be the game changer so many are looking for  

PS if he would have offered to let me invest in Property radar I would have wrote him a check on the spot..!!!

Thanks @Adam Schneider and @Miguelito Fernandez !  I did read about the upset bid...not sure if I like that process.  I wasn't really thinking about going to foreclosure auctions but I was thinking about marketing to the sellers directly before the sale to see if I could take over payments subject-to...not for wholesaling but more acquire a permanent residence this way.  I am just trying to figure out the earliest I can find out about a pre-foreclosure and how many days that would give me before a courthouse sale.

I guess I am spoiled because since Florida does judicial foreclosures and every county website has all of their documents online, all I have to do is search for Lis Pendens, export and put together a mailing list...not quite that simple but you get the idea.

Looks like it may be a little more work than that but since it requires extra legwork that may be a good thing since not as many people are probably doing it.

On a side note, I am looking at the following counties to move to...any advice or opinions?  Need to within 20-30 min of decent shopping, gym, etc, within a couple of hours of mountains and overall quality of life and a decent cost of living:

Buncombe, Cabarrus, Durham, Forsyth, Henderson, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Orange, Union and Wake

@Brent Hill The places you mentioned are not similar to each other at all. You are going to need to do a road trip, my friend! Re Sub-To's...people do them. Neither the previous A.G. or the current A.G. is a fan of them...although, it's much different if it's the intended resident versus essentially a sandwich lease situation.

@Jay Hinrichs That is great news..I was just looking at Property Radar last night but was bummed to see it was limited to certain states, but not now!  Have any idea on an ETA for a release date?

@Adam Schneider @Miguelito Fernandez   I was doing some more poking around in Johnson county public records, for example, and it looks like when a Substitution Trustee is recorded that might be the first "public" record of a foreclosure proceeding?  Just trying to figure out the least and most amount of days I would have to market, come to an agreement and redeem the property.

Judicial timeline might be a little different but it is my understanding that very few properties go through judicial foreclosure since the power of sale clause exists in most deeds and/or mortgages in NC, hence the non-judicial foreclosures. 

I think after the first of the year.. their R and D is all done here IN Oregon and off shore its a for real deal software the owner Mr. O'Toole is very knowledgable and knows what investors need and want.. Plus just a really nice and pleasant fellow.

@Brent Hill  No problem! I'm not familiar with the areas you mentioned but in regards to the foreclosures, the owner can prevent and/or delay (sometimes by months) the auction of their home. Anytime before the auction which is what you're looking for would have to be a negotiation between the owner and yourself. So if you catch one beforehand, the owner can get extra time for you guys to make a deal. I once waited two months for the auction of a specific home because either the judge felt like the home deserved extra time and/or the owner asked the court for some extra time. From my only route experience, the foreclosure papers on the front door give the owners at least a month to prepare. Then, they can request for more time. 

As I was searching the web to try and help out more, I ran into this article that covers most of what we have already spoken about lol: https://www.zillow.com/foreclosures/buyer/buying-a...

So far, I think the best route is to call or visit the courthouse of your chosen county. If you do find a better solution then please post it here. I will be following this thread :) 

Good luck! :) 

This thread is full of knowledge!  Thanks for starting it!

If you google the tax assessor's office for each county, you can find a list of foreclosures for tax reasons.  Here's the one for Buncombe County where I live. 

https://www.buncombecounty.org/Governing/Depts/Tax...

You can also check newspapers, but again, that might only be for tax foreclosures.  I'm not sure.

Regarding your plan to talk directly to the owner before the sale, someone (@John Thedford , I think) was talking about getting great deals doing this by offering way below market, but in exchange, he lets the current owner stay another year for a reduced rent.  There is the chance that they won't be able to pay rent as they are already in financial trouble, but either way, you end up with a nice property for well below market value.  Also, he admitted his way causes him to lose money on rent the first year, but if you're offering $50k below market value, losing $5k isn't the end of the world.  I know you were wanting to have it as your primary residence, but if you can be flexible with when you move in, this might be a good way to get a cheap house.

I agree with @Adam Schneider , those places are all vastly different from each other.  I'd suggest starting with Sperling's Best Places to Live http://www.bestplaces.net/ to narrow down your search.  Good luck!

Originally posted by @Jody Schnurrenberger :

This thread is full of knowledge!  Thanks for starting it!

If you google the tax assessor's office for each county, you can find a list of foreclosures for tax reasons.  Here's the one for Buncombe County where I live. 

https://www.buncombecounty.org/Governing/Depts/Tax...

You can also check newspapers, but again, that might only be for tax foreclosures.  I'm not sure.

Regarding your plan to talk directly to the owner before the sale, someone (@John Thedford , I think) was talking about getting great deals doing this by offering way below market, but in exchange, he lets the current owner stay another year for a reduced rent.  There is the chance that they won't be able to pay rent as they are already in financial trouble, but either way, you end up with a nice property for well below market value.  Also, he admitted his way causes him to lose money on rent the first year, but if you're offering $50k below market value, losing $5k isn't the end of the world.  I know you were wanting to have it as your primary residence, but if you can be flexible with when you move in, this might be a good way to get a cheap house.

I agree with @Adam Schneider , those places are all vastly different from each other.  I'd suggest starting with Sperling's Best Places to Live http://www.bestplaces.net/ to narrow down your search.  Good luck!

 This why in Oregon it’s illegal to rent back to a owner who is in foreclosure.  The state felt distressed owners were getting their equity stripped.   

@Jay Hinrichs , I agree that they are, but they are getting to stay in their home another year (in his case) and don't (I assume) have that foreclosure on their record since they sold and, presumably paid off their debt.  It sucks, but it doesn't seem like the worst thing for them, IMO.  Let me know where I'm misunderstanding.  I like the model, but don't want to be a bad person!

Originally posted by @Jody Schnurrenberger :

@Jay Hinrichs , I agree that they are, but they are getting to stay in their home another year (in his case) and don't (I assume) have that foreclosure on their record since they sold and, presumably paid off their debt.  It sucks, but it doesn't seem like the worst thing for them, IMO.  Let me know where I'm misunderstanding.  I like the model, but don't want to be a bad person!

On the pre-foreclosure sale that I purchased it was the owner who was a co-worker that contacted me I normally do not solicit these owners. I know that there are lots of investors soliciting both the pre foreclosures and the tax deed sales. These need to be all cash deals and in some cases the buyer needs to be able to move very fast. Sub2 is also a great option as long as you have the ability to pay off the loan if it is called.

Originally posted by @Jody Schnurrenberger :

@Jay Hinrichs, I agree that they are, but they are getting to stay in their home another year (in his case) and don't (I assume) have that foreclosure on their record since they sold and, presumably paid off their debt.  It sucks, but it doesn't seem like the worst thing for them, IMO.  Let me know where I'm misunderstanding.  I like the model, but don't want to be a bad person!

 For the seller its does not really help there credit thats just something who buy these try to convince the seller of .. and you will find that many you will end up evicting because they won't pay rent either..  depending on where they are and their equity its not the best thing for them the BEST thing is to sell on open market and get as much equity as they can.. or let it go to sale and collect the Overages... 

unfortunately like many things in real estate there are folks that just look to take advantage of the situations.. but if its listed on MLS then all things are fair.. when you solicit them and only talk about what really benefits you.. thats what the state is trying to regulate.. do I agree not really.. have i bought sub too foreclosures you bet.. But I don't blow smoke up their skirt telling them how i am saving the day. LOL

@Jay Hinrichs , there seem to be some things about foreclosures I didn't realize.  I'm happy to say, I don't have personal experience with this.

Are you 100% sure that if they sell and settle with the bank before they lose the property that it's not better on their credit rating?  It sure seems like it should be.  They got too far behind, but then they made it right with the bank.  That's got to be better than the bank being forced to take the property away.

Also, I didn't realize they got the overages from the foreclosure sale.  I thought they just lost the property and that was it.  Sucks to be them.

I don't want to be a bad person, so maybe I'll stick to regular foreclosure sales if I ever go that direction. I've always just bought off the MLS, though I'm starting to see that might not be the best way...cue Driving for Dollars, Craigslist, etc.

But I certainly agree that if you did this regularly, you would end up having to evict some of them before the year was up.  They got into financial trouble for a reason.  I wonder if they'd go for the idea of getting financial counseling as a part of the deal...just a thought...  While some people honestly had a sudden and very severe hardship(s), many simply live beyond their means and one problem causes a whole mess in their precariously balanced finances.

@Jody Schnurrenberger   facts.

once you have mortgage lates your credit is trashed.. the foreclosure recording is a little worse but you still have trashed credit just because you buy it and bring it current its still going to take them years.. and they usually have other bad credit.

Most you will evict and many wont make it 3 months that my experience I did about 150 of these.

Yes if there is no junior lenders or liens overages are due the family losing it I have seen overages as high as 150k.. and its not a bad way to go.. they sell the house without having to fix it and with no reps or warrantees at all.

just know the nuances that's all.

@Brent Hill seems like you are more or less on the right track. I have posted often about trustee sales on this site since I spent a decade buying from the courthouse steps. All my trade secrets are posted here, LOL!  You can google substitute trustee "chris martin" site:www.biggerpockets.com for some/many of them. Hopefully that link works.

Almost all NC counties have online access to recorded S-TR documents. Note that counties call 'substitute trustee' filings by different names, like S-TR in Wake county. It's not too hard to figure out. The other good places to study are the trustee sites, as I've identified in this BP post. I have bought from the four I listed and a few others. 

As far as pre-foreclosure 'deals', I highly recommend you know the power of sale laws and procedures as well as applicable NC statutes. I've posted elsewhere on this site, like in newbie in north carolina with pre-foreclosure and foreclosure questions

Good luck.

A few other points... tax foreclosures and power of sale foreclosures are two different things. The sale process may seem similar, but that's about it. And you really like pain, I would not consider keeping a former property owner as an occupant after a foreclosure sale. If your really want to help an owner avoid foreclosure, get a HUD foreclosure specialist involved and step aside. Just trying to help you save some big court costs in your Superior Court venue.

Updated 9 months ago

That should be "And UNLESS you really like pain..."

Originally posted by @Chris Martin :

@Brent Hill seems like you are more or less on the right track. I have posted often about trustee sales on this site since I spent a decade buying from the courthouse steps. All my trade secrets are posted here, LOL!  You can google substitute trustee "chris martin" site:www.biggerpockets.com for some/many of them. Hopefully that link works.

Almost all NC counties have online access to recorded S-TR documents. Note that counties call 'substitute trustee' filings by different names, like S-TR in Wake county. It's not too hard to figure out. The other good places to study are the trustee sites, as I've identified in this BP post. I have bought from the four I listed and a few others. 

As far as pre-foreclosure 'deals', I highly recommend you know the power of sale laws and procedures as well as applicable NC statutes. I've posted elsewhere on this site, like in newbie in north carolina with pre-foreclosure and foreclosure questions

Good luck.

A few other points... tax foreclosures and power of sale foreclosures are two different things. The sale process may seem similar, but that's about it. And you really like pain, I would not consider keeping a former property owner as an occupant after a foreclosure sale. If your really want to help an owner avoid foreclosure, get a HUD foreclosure specialist involved and step aside. Just trying to help you save some big court costs in your Superior Court venue.

when I was doing a little HML in Charlotte back in the day I snoop around the foreclosure sales there ( mortgage) they were too complicated for me.. I deemed them a locals game.. the upset bid process would have been to hard for me to follow... I just love how all of these rules of the game are so market specific..

@Brent Hill I live in Lenoir NC and have purchased several foreclosure's in the last 8 years. Let me know if I can help you in anyway. I am about 30 minutes from Hickory NC and about 40 minutes from Boone NC.

@David Lee , that so kind of you to offer to help him!  It's people like you that make this place so great!  :-D

@Chris Martin   Thanks for the gold!  Appreciate all the info...every little bit helps.

@David Lee I will almost certainly take you up on your offer. Thank you! We are having a hard time trying to focus on an area around Charlotte where you can still get more bang for the buck...I am focusing on areas around Lincolnton and Gastonia and possibly Hickory right now. Was looking on the east side of the lake but it looks like it is growing so fast and the properties seem overpriced now; however, I Concord is still on my radar. We will be looking at non-HOA homes...any areas you like better than others? Thx!

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