There is no easy or simple way to locate foreclosure properties. Unfortunately, most of the foreclosure websites contain incomplete, inaccurate, or dated information. The reason for this is they pull their records electronically, and often the information is not reviewed by an actual person. This means that even if a small lien is placed on a property then it may show up on their sites.
There are several other ways you can locate these properties. The first is networking with banks and getting to know the officers that handle REO sales. This is often a time consuming process and will take a commitment to work this kind of business in the long term. You can also check public records via your county assessors office. Depending on where you live and how foreclosure is handled in your area, often times the assessor can give you a list of all properties that have a "Notice of Default" filed on them. This is the first step in the foreclosure process and will point you in the right direction. Lastly, I would advise you to communicate to your client that foreclosures are not always the best properties. Depending on your market you may be able to locate properties that are either in pre-foreclosure, or simply have high days on market and very motivated sellers. If you have a buyer who is just looking for a strong equity position you may want to look into these options as well.
JD "Dan" Weisenburger, GRI
Vanguard Realty, Inc. GMAC Real Estate
First, I would say that most (haven't gotten through all of them yet) web sites around foreclosures are not accurate. I have tried many, RealtyTrac, ForeclosureRadar,... and I simply find most of their data to be outdated. The one foreclosure site that seems to be fairly accurate it the HUD.gov site that handles government foreclosures.
In talking with other Realtors working foreclosures, most have established relationships with as many bank REO departments as possible in order to hear first about what is coming up. I tried getting into this net work and as you could probably guess, there are a lot of agents waiting in line for the lunch date. My experience has been that if you didn't have the relationship before 2006, it is a long road. At least that is my experience.
My success so far has been on the buyer's side working with agents who have the connections with the bank folks. I stay close to them to keep up with what may be coming down the road on a foreclosure and fit it to my buyer's needs. This has been working pretty well and is more dependable information.
Hope that helps.
They are $24 per month, other services cost $150 a month and are less accurate!
I've received a lead of a potential buyer that is looking for properties that are listed for around 50% of their appraised or assessed value. As that information is not listed on the MLS I was wondering about alternative searches as the foreclosure ones.