Foreclosure Listings

Sep 09, 2013 - 4 Min read
Real Estate Expert

3 Best Steps for Using to Invest in Real Estate

No matter the market – hot or cold – foreclosure listings are among the best tools a real estate investor has for finding good deals on properties. Unfortunately, not all foreclosure lists are created equal. Some only list certain types of foreclosure homes for sale, while others may include pre-foreclosure listings and other information that new real estate investors can find confusing. This tutorial explains the do’s and don’ts for real estate investors considering  .

STEP 1. Know what to look for in a good foreclosure list.

Real estate investors used to have to go to the courthouse and look through the public record to get up-to-date lists of foreclosure homes and pre-foreclosure listings. Even then, there was a lot of guesswork involved in figuring out whether foreclosure homes for sale were actually available. Today, however, the internet makes the process much easier. However, there are far too many sources of poor-quality foreclosure listings available to trap investors and waste their time.

The best foreclosure lists should contain data on all the properties in an area that are in some stage of the foreclosure process. Good list providers provide a compilation of foreclosure listings that have been obtained from vetted information providers. Their comprehensive nationwide foreclosure lists contain complete, updated and enhanced information on the available foreclosure properties currently for sale. Information like list price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, property size, photos, and sometimes even high-tech mapping are often included.

Finding a foreclosure list that homebuyers and real estate investors can depend on can be really challenging. You may find free foreclosure listings being offered by the local or state governments or other parties on the Internet. However, it would be quite risky to rely on them since most of these free foreclosure listings are not regularly updated and tend to have inaccuracies. On the other hand, there are many reputable list providers that offer access to foreclosure lists for a small subscription fee.

STEP 2. Make Sure Your Foreclosure Listings are Reliable.

Most successful investors will tell you that when it comes to finding the best foreclosure properties, you get what you pay for, so you shouldn’t expect a free list of foreclosure properties to give you the advantages offered by a paid foreclosure list. Typically, a foreclosure list can only be accessed if you pay a certain amount per list or in monthly subscription fees. Some homebuyers are scared off by this restriction and opt to look for homes using a free foreclosure list.

Unfortunately, many free foreclosure listings are outdated, inaccurate, and incomplete. And, because these free foreclosure lists are widely available to everyone, the best foreclosed properties are grabbed by experienced real estate investors, just hours after they are put on the market. Believe it. With discounts of up to 50% offered for these properties, you should not be surprised by this.

If you are interested in buying foreclosed properties for investment, you should subscribe to reliable foreclosure listings compiled by reputable companies that specialize in this. They focus on cleaning, updating, and improving the foreclosure property listing data on a daily basis, and sometimes even twice a day. The amount you pay in subscription fees is nominal compared to the potential profit you make from purchasing hot foreclosed properties.

STEP 3. Drive Out to See Foreclosures.

After you have found foreclosures that you are interested in, it is always a good idea to drive by the target property to see what kind of condition it is in. Is the lawn well kept? Are there pets on the property? Is the outside of the house in good shape?

You should check out and carefully assess the neighborhood. Remember, it doesn’t matter how good the property looks if it is located in a neighborhood that is not marketable. Assess noise and hazard factors. Most buyers will be reluctant to choose a home near train tracks due to safety and noise factors.

Many times the house has already been abandoned, so you can very likely get a view of the inside of the house through the windows. However, be careful and responsible when trying to view the interior. Just because a home looks abandoned does not guarantee that it is! Another great way to gather information is by approaching a chatty neighbor to start up a conversation. You’ll be amazed at how much useful information a neighbor might tell you.

If you check out several properties you find on a foreclosure list and find that the information on the list basically matches up with the current state of the property, then you probably have found a good source of information on foreclosure listings. You can also ask other investors for information or references for good sources of deals. You will be surprised how many investors will generously and happily share their best tips and practices for using foreclosure lists.

RealtyTrac is here to help you buy investment properties whether this is your first deal or your 500th. Our vast database of national foreclosures, REOs, and bank-owned properties is perfect for helping you find the best real estate investment for you. Sign Up Now and take full advantage of RealtyTrac’s FREE Trial, which allows you to search our real estate inventory free for 7 days. The perfect investment property could be waiting for you right around the corner!

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