Foreclosures owned by the U.S. government are made available for purchase. However, in some cases there are certain criteria that must first be met, and oftentimes a purchase routine that must be followed.
Here are the most common agencies to search in order to find government home foreclosures nationwide:
First there is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Thousands of HUD Homes are listed on RealtyTrac in the Government-Owned tab of the search results, and some of the HUD-owned homes on RealtyTrac are available for online bidding. HUD Homes are also listed in local Multiple Listing Services that are open to all real estate professionals to peruse. Listing agents or brokers have to be HUD approved in order to submit an offer.
Next is the Veterans Administration. To purchase a VA Home, an interested investor simply has to conduct a search on the RealtyTrac site and click on the “Government Owned” tab on the search results page. The name and phone number of the listing agent for each home is available to subscribers. Investors can also go directly to the VA website to check out all aspects of buying properties from the VA and to conduct a property search.
One of the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) overseen by the federal government is Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae properties are sold through local real estate agents and brokers and are listed on the area's Multiple Listing Service that is accessible to any real estate professional.
The other GSE — Freddie Mac — sells its properties through a program called “HomeSteps”, a service available to homebuyers, investors and real estate professionals. According to Freddie Mac, HomeSteps is the second largest owner/seller of family real estate in the nation.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac properties can be found on RealtyTrac under the Bank-Owned tab on the search results page. RealtyTrac often posts these properties before they are listed with an agent, but you can use the MLS link on RealtyTrac to check if an individual property has been listed with an agent as well.
Another source of government foreclosure homes is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS sells homes it has seized for non-payment of taxes. It regularly holds tax foreclosure auctions for that purpose.
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Visit our Foreclosure Center to read more detailed information about foreclosures.