Where to Look For Foreclosure Properties

Glen Gallucci
July 10, 2008 — 2,070 views  
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One easy way is to thumb through real estate publications and you'll sometimes see ads that are selling lists of foreclosed properties. Prices start at about $50.

But I've seen the price for some lists costing $500 or more. In the pursuit of affordable housing in this appreciating market, you may be tempted to order one of these lists. Don't!

You can obtain practically everything found in such lists free of charge. You just have to be willing to do a little research.

What's on most lists are homes that have been foreclosed on and taken back by lending institutions, government agencies -such as the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and secondary market loan purchasers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

One of the best ways to get a list of foreclosures is to contact lenders directly. Ask if they have a "real estate owned" or REO department. These are homes the lender has foreclosed on and that are now listed with a real estate agent. You can often view the home's interior. In addition, any liens have been cleared up. Most REO lists are free.

Some REO foreclosures, however, may not be such a bargain. To know if a foreclosure is, in fact, a bargain, you have to know what comparable homes go for in the area. Like the investors who sometimes buy these properties, lenders have found that by doing some remodeling, they can get more for the home, and many end up selling near or at market value.

As for other sources, you can obtain a list of foreclosed homes from HUD, which backs FHA loans, by calling 800-767-4483 or by going on its Web site at www.hud.gov .The Web site also links with other government-owned foreclosures, such as from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

A list of foreclosures from the U.S. Veterans Administration, which backs VA loans, is available by logging onto its Web site at www.vahomes.org. If you are in NY, you'll see a map of the United States. Click on "New York." New listings are posted the third Friday of each month”, said William Rooney, chief property manager of the Department of Veteran Affairs New York Regional Office.

Fannie Mae's list can be obtained by calling 800-732-6643. You can also log onto Fannie Mae's Web site at www.fanniemae.com. Click on "for sale" and enter "New York." Freddie Mac's foreclosure list, obtained through its Homesteads Program, is available by calling 800-972-7555 or by logging onto its Web site at www.homesteps.com. You can repeat these steps to find your state.

Be aware, however, that with government and secondary market sources, the foreclosures often need repairs.

Yet another way, which seems to be more the “norm” these days, is to find foreclosure properties by contacting local real estate offices. Lenders, government agencies and others sell many of their foreclosed homes through these agents.

A great web site to find these REO brokers is: www.reonetwork.com as the list all the REO brokers in each state.

The best bargains, however, are often made by going to foreclosure auctions. These auctions have minimum opening bids, enabling a lender to recover its outstanding loan balance and any liens. If no one bids, the lender keeps the property and it becomes an REO.

But while auction deals may be better, only people who know the foreclosure market and how it works should purchase this way. You may not be able to see the inside of the home prior to the auction. You could also end up with a home that needs extensive repairs or one that has tax liens on it. Do you homework on these homes or go with an experienced investor to learn the ropes.

In some instances, owners who have fallen far behind on their mortgage payments or are in default may be willing to sell to avoid foreclosure. Such owners can be found at the county clerk's office by going through the records. Look for titles where a notice of lis pendens has been filed by a lender. This is public information, and again, it’s free. You can then contact these owners to ask them if they would like to sell their home quickly.

If you'd prefer not to put in the time at the county clerk's office, and if you are in NY, you can find this information by subscribing to a lis pendens list put out by the Long Island Profiles Publishing Co., Inc.

The weekly list is updated every Friday and lists lis pendens by town. There are separate editions for each town with a three-month subscription costing $62 per town. Longer subscriptions are available. In addition, Long Island Profiles publishes another weekly list, also updated on Fridays, of scheduled foreclosure auctions.

There is one list for Suffolk County and another for Nassau. A three-month subscription costs $157 per county. For information on any list, caI1 631-968-8833. Its affiliate, Profiles Publications, Inc. based in Jackson Heights, puts out similar lis pendens and foreclosure auction lists for New York City by borough. Five-week subscriptions start at $55. For information, call 718-335-3908 or log onto its Web site at www.nyforeclosures.com.

Each city or county will have similar companies performing the similar services for a fee. You can also subscribe to other publications and on line services. Some of these include:

Glen Gallucci


Glen Gallucci, also known as "A Seasoned Investor" actively buys, rehabs and sells residential properties. He has invested, renovated and built numerous residential and commercial projects during his 30-year career. A well diversified businessman; Glen is also engaged in real estate education. From the trenches, and with his down to earth "tell it like it is" teaching style, makes Glen the "real deal" and a sought after speaker around the country as his business experience proves invaluable for the beginner as well as the seasoned investor regarding the successful structure of starting a wholesale or rehabbing business as well as securing private lenders when investing in "quick turn real estate."