So you want to know how to discover information on foreclosures. Hey! It’s on TV and there is easy money to be made, according to the info-commercial. Well for the price of FREE, here is how you can find the information. First a few basic facts:
- A home enters the foreclosure market when the previous owner no longer pays on their debt established in the promissory "note" and the new owner obtains possession (usually the lending or guaranteeing organization) and markets the home for sale.
- A mortgage, the promise of the previous owner to "pay" or "not stay" secures the debt for the lender.
- Both the note and mortgage are publicly recorded documents providing constructive notice.
Here's how to find foreclosure listings.
- Accessing the VA-listed properties. You can access properties on the Ocwen site, which has the contract with the Federal Government to market their "VA" properties along with a few others. Choose between Commercial, Residential properties, and VA properties. The latter two selections will take you to a US map where you select the particular state in which you desire to look. Properties are listed alphabetically by city with information on each property. By further clicking on the house you desire, more information will be provided.
- Accessing the HUD list of properties. You have just scratched the surface. Next step, you can access additional government-owned properties by accessing the HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) website. By clicking on the first link, "FROM HUD", you will be taken to another list of states. By clicking on the state of your interest, you will be taken to the contractor that HUD uses for the particular state and your broker/agent would work through them to purchase a home (i.e. for the state of Alabama, the contractor is Hooks Van Holmes Inc.).
- Accessing the government’s all-inclusive website. HomeSales.gov, another government link, provides "all" government properties, but the individual sites listed above have more information to help you on your quest.
- Accessing the semi-governmental website. Now let's go back to the HUD site (step 3 above) for two additional sites included on the HUD page listed under "Related Links". Here you will find homes listed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Realtor.com. These are “secondary lenders”, the people who buy the mortgages from the mortgage companies. They have their own list and are not included in the government page listed in 3 above.
- Some additional concerns you should consider.
- Working with a real estate agent is recommended and in some cases required. Some agents will have a better grasp of the foreclosure market than others.
- Know the laws of your state. Right of redemption allows a previous owner the ability to obtain ownership of the property which has been foreclosed for a specified period of time. In Alabama, for example, the period is 1 year from the time the property is foreclosed.
- Banks and Mortgage companies have their own way of listing foreclosed properties and usually will list the homes through the local listing service.
Jim VanErmen ABR CRS e-PRO
Jim's website, http://RealtyVan.com, contains a plethora of real estate information on both buying and selling.