How do I find foreclosed properties on your own? First stop is Trulia. Search for homes and select foreclosed. These homes are sent from an FTP feed from RealtyTrac and will include homes from near the Notice of Deficiency through REO homes that have gone through the 180 day (usually more) redemption period after the sheriff auction.
To find homes in Dearborn prior to the sheriff auction you can go directly to the City or Wayne County offices. Lender are required to post a forclosure for 4 weeks.
Usually, homes are not assigned to a real estate professional until the 180 day redemption period after the sheriff auction has completed. Prior to that time, investors can contact the homeowner themselves.
You can choose to go this route, but remember, usually at the Wayne County sheriff auction each home may have added legal fees and costs incurred by the bank added. Also in Dearborn, there will be a home inspection and you will have to post at least a 10 percent bond for estimated repairs noted by the city.
A better route, might be to inquire about short sale homes. Some of these homes may be in better shape, usually are occupied, and therefore may cost less to renovate.
As with any real estate purchase, I suggest hiring a certified home inspector to determine what repairs/problems might cause you problems in addition to a local government home inspection.
Do real estate professionals keep properties hidden for themselves or their friends? I haven't heard of it happening, but cannot swear that it does not happen. Would it be legal? I do not believe that would be legal if they are the listing agent. Michigan law requires real estate agents to declare who they work for at the first meeting and stipulates what duties they have to their client.
As previously stated, an agent can purchase property for themselves. That's why some remarks indicate no commission will be paid to agents purchasing for themselves. Hope that clarifies it for you. Two websites with certified home inspectors are available on the website below.