Home Buying in McLean>Question Details

Valerie, Home Buyer in McLean, VA

how can you tell if a property for sale is in foreclosure?

Asked by Valerie, McLean, VA Tue May 27, 2008

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The best way to find out if foreclosure proceedings have been initiated on a property is to physically go to the county land records department and look, as none of the jurisdictions in this area allow for any internet type search into their records. I go to the Alexandria City courthouse, log into there computer which is open to anyone to use, and you can search by name, address, or type of filing. I usually search for Substitute Trustee filings, since they are usually appointed as the start of the foreclosure process. You can also subscribe to services that go to the courthouse on a regular basis and report new filings, but I don't think that would make sense if you are interested in one specific home.

I will offer a different opinion than Donna's post, since there is nothing sure about a short sale and I believe it is easier to buy a home after the bank has already taken possession of it. Most banks are overwhelmed and understaffed to handle the number of short sale offers coming in, it's a virtual tidal wave of paper. Even though it would be in everyones best interest to avoid foreclosure, you have little leverage to try and push your offer through... sometimes you get lucky and it goes through, sometimes it doesn't. I've heard a statistic that roughly 60%-75% short sales don't get to settlement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
Valerie if I was your agent I would ask you why are you particularly interested in a property that is in foreclosure. Buyers have this myth that if a property was foreclosed on it will be cheaper. That is not always the case. When banks acquire properties through foreclosure they are now the owner. Depending on the area and the bank, more than likely the home will be placed with a listing agent at or a few thousand just below fair market value.

Now if a buyer has the money (most likely the financial backing as an investor) then they can go down to the foreclosure sale usually at the county courthouse steps and bid on the property. That is where a buyer gets the best deal. Let the buyer beware though.... when one purchases on the courthouse steps without a thorough title search the purchaser might asorb tax or federal liens or a loan in first place position if the foreclosing bank is in second place. The best way to purchase a home now a days is from a Short Sale. Short Sales are listed with Realtors who are trained to work with the buyers, sellers and the bank to work out a sell where it is a win win situation for all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
If you have an agent who is assisting you in your search (you should) then they will be able to tell you if the property is in foreclosure or not. Otherwise depending on how long ago the lender took the property over you can also look in the county tax records to see who the current owner is.
Web Reference: http://varealestatetalk.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
To be certain, you can always have an attorney or title company order a title report. Sellers aren't always honest with their listing agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
I'm guessing that what you're really asking is - how can you tell if a property that is for sale is bank owned. This information can be gleaned from the MRIS listing information. If you are searching on Realtor.com the listing agent may have also put something in the remarks to let you know that it is a bank owned or REO property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
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