In fact, if the listing has the logo for RealtyTrac ...
Then what you are seeing is NOT an actual listing â€¦ it is an advertisement for RealtyTrac.
RealtyTrac is a provider of data for distressed homes. This data is used by investors and Realtors to track distressed homes. When you see the RealtyTrac logo, you are not looking at a home that is actually available for you to buy: what you are seeing at is either (1) the notice of default for one of the mortgages on the property in question, (2) a notice of an impending trustee sale or (3) a notice of a completed trustee sale.
RealtyTrac notices can be very deceptive because they usually give loan amounts, not the purchase price or fair market value. When and if this particular property hits the market, it will be at market price for the neighborhood.
Bottom line: RealtyTrac is trying to get you to sign up for their service.
The following links may be helpful:
When Is The Price Not The Price?
Itâ€™s Too Good To Be True: REALLY â€“ Top 4 Buyer Myths
If you want to know when these or similar properties will actually hit the market, have a Realtor set you up with an auto-feed that will alert you the moment they become active on the MLS.
Many of us whom contribute to the Trulia forum routinely see the "RealtyTrac pitch" to pay in order to get foreclosure information. Good news: this same information can be provided to you for FREE by most any RealtorÂ®.
As you now are aware, there are different levels of property information accuracy on the web. See â€œMLS Data Accuracy â€“ Where to search if youâ€™re â€œwithout RealtorÂ®â€ if you only want accurate information. http://tinyurl.com/ctr4d44
Many would-be Buyers make the mistake of only focusing on distressed property due to a belief they are cheaper and less difficult to buy than non-distressed property - this simply is not the case.
Here's a quick relative risk/difficulty scale for distressed property (1 being the most risky):
1) Trustee Sale-
You personally go to the County court house and bid on a home you probably have never seen the inside of, nor will have the opportunity to fully investigate. Seasoned investors need only apply. Cash/Cashiers check only, no financing.
2) Auction Company Sale-
A little better, at least you have a seat in a packed room where the auctioneerâ€™s primary job is to get the highest offer from a much larger group than #1 above has. You are buying â€œAS-ISâ€. Do you have the ability to gauge cost of repairs you might see? This option is best for those who can walk a home and calculate refurbishment costs on the fly IF an investigative period has been allowed. Perhaps, you might even attend one to see â€œhow the sausage is madeâ€ and how comfortable you would be if you went this route.
When a property does not sell via #1 or #2 above you eventually see it come on market via a RealtorÂ® MLS. You will still needs the skills to evaluate property condition and the good news is your RealtorÂ® will be helping you to do so along with professional property inspectors you hire. The downside of an REO is the Bank typically only sells "AS IS" (meaning, the Bank will not typically make repairs even if you identify an issue) and the Seller's property disclosures are limited to what is statutorily required by law.
4) Short Sale-
While there is nothing chronologically short about this option (plan on 60-90+ days before a Lender approval) it nonetheless is the closest relative to the non-distressed sale. The only real risk with these transactions is the underwhelming boredom and the overwhelming mystery of why it takes so long to obtain an Approval(s).
If you are serious about buying a home find a RealtorÂ® and ask that a custom automated MLS search agent be set-up to make sure you are seeing property that is actually for sale. Hereâ€™s what I would advise as being your first step: http://www.Steven-Anthony.com/GettingStarted
If you'll wait long enough it should appear on the MLS and your realtor can arrange for you to view the property so that you can gauge whether or not you're interested enough to write an offer.
But for now, there's not much you can do even if you had the answers to the questions you asked.