how to find baltimore foreclosures (21209, 21215, 21208) before they hit the market

7 Replies

Hi folks,

It's been quite a while since I've posted.

I have been looking for months for a deal I am comfortable with in Baltimore.

Unless I get in at the right price (and I'm not buying war zone properties), it just isn't a deal.

Can anyone give me any advice about how to contact a bank to make offers before foreclosures/auctions hit the general market?

Thank you,

Shoshana Shulman

@Shoshana Shulman if you are referring to the large national banks I wouldn't bother, it is not going to happen. You just have to wait for REO to be listed.

Small community banks on the other hand you may be able to build a relationship and get deals before they are listed. The way to do that is good old fashioned networking. Give them a call and go in to meet them. 

However the clear trend is that banks always list REOs. Despite what the Gurus imply banks want as much money as they can possibly get for every REO property. . . As long as it will still sell fast.

Perhaps those particular zip codes are tougher but I find good deals in non war zone neighborhoods all over the city. You can have an agent set up an automatic email for new listings (or listings that changed like a price drop) with pretty much any criteria you want. The emails are automatic so it is easy for the agent and you once set up.


Thank you for replying.

If you don't mind sharing, would you tell me in what zip codes I can find good deals (no war zones)? I am ready to buy, but haven't found anything yet.

I'd really appreciate your help. I prefer county to city, as taxes are half of what they are in the city, and I think the county is easier to work with. The zip codes I've been looking in are zip codes that have both county and city properties, depending on the street/location.

Thank you for your advice.

Shoshana Shulman

@Shoshana Shulman There are good deals and bad deals in almost every zip code in the country, including Baltimore. However, one thing to look at is where there are a lot of cash sales. That will give you a good indication for neighborhoods that are attracting investor attention, and it might help to guide you in the right direction. A licensed agent can help you do that search. Best of luck!

Also, I agree with @Ned Carey that banks are much more likely to post properties on the MLS than sell "of market." They want the highest price, and the MLS is the most "guaranteed" way to accomplish that in most cases.

@Shoshana Shulman I agree with @Ned Carey about the propensity of banks to list their properties. What I've observed is that many banks have rather inflexible guidelines as to how they price a property they list for sale, and how long they must leave the listing at that price before lowering. If an offer comes in at a certain percentage below their asking price, they are not allowed to accept it.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched a bank-owned property linger on the MLS, twisting in the wind at a completely unrealistic price, while the bank rejects lower offers--only to have the property eventually sell at that lower price point several months later, when the bank has fulfilled its internal obligations to seek the highest price.

So there may have been a point that banks were unprepared for the slew of foreclosed properties that came into their possession, and were more open to the offers of individual investors. Now they generally have rules in place that bias them against your offer. Anyone who advises you to try to get properties directly from banks is probably not in tune with today's market. Not in the DC-Baltimore-Virginia area, anyway.

If you are looking for properties that haven't hit the listed market, there are tons of wholesalers in the Baltimore area that you can contact. Alternately, you might look for REOs that have failed to sell on list, and wind up in auction. Go online and look at the sites of Hudson and Marshall, Billig, HUBZU,, Alex Cooper, and Ashland Auctions, to name a few. Check HomePath and Freddie Mac and HUD websites as well.

BTW, no one wants a war zone, but everyone's idea of what constitutes a war zone is a little different.  

Best of luck,

Nancy Roth

@Shoshana Shulman   I can't really help you with the county. I assume since you mentioned taxes you are looking to hold rentals as opposed to flipping properties. I like 21229, 21212, 21234, 21239, 21214.  Of course I can't afford those zip codes so most of my rentals are in weaker zip codes.

PS well said @Nancy Roth  

Thank you.

I am interested in flipping as well.

shoshana shulman

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