Slideshow: Of Foreclosure Starts, Short Sales and Zombie Foreclosures

I had the privilege of speaking at the Short Sale Con in Las Vegas recently and was given a full hour to talk about trends in foreclosures and short sales.

This may sound like way too long to talk about such subjects, but it was quite easy for me to fill the hour given the wealth of information RealtyTrac has on the subject, and also given the many great questions the audience — consisting primarily of real estate agents who specialize in the distressed real estate market — had throughout the presentation.

As a bonus I added in a list of the best short sale markets in 2013 as determined by RealtyTrac, along with some new data that RealtyTrac had not yet released on listed and unlisted foreclosures as well as so-called zombie foreclosures. Zombie foreclosures are properties that have started the foreclosure process and have been vacated by the homeowner, but have not yet completed the foreclosure process and become bank owned (REO).

The slide on zombie foreclosures (Slide 34) seemed to be one of the most popular of the presentation (or possibly it was a coincidence that my slide clicker got stuck temporarily on that slide and so it was up for longer than I anticipated), generating several questions from the audience about what exactly those zombie foreclosures represented and how such zombie foreclosures could be identified using RealtyTrac.

For real estate agents — as well as buyers and investors — the zombie foreclosures represent an opportunity to identify a distressed homeowner who has already moved on from their home and is therefore much more likely to be interested in selling that home via short sale than a distressed homeowner still living in the home.

And I was relieved to be able to share with the audience that these zombie foreclosures can be easily identified with RealtyTrac’s MEGA download product, which now incorporates a filter based on the vacancy status of foreclosure properties.

Near the end of the presentation I covered some practical steps for finding potential short sales on RealtyTrac. While this was mostly geared toward agents interested in listing those short sales, I think the information is also useful for buyers and investors looking to identify potential short sales that are not yet listed — allowing them to get a jump on other buyers by contacting the homeowner to see if they may be interested in selling.

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