Home Buying in 94521>Question Details

TC, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Can anyone explain the Realty Trac listings that appear on Trulia?

Asked by TC, San Francisco, CA Fri May 14, 2010

pre-foreclosure? Their prices always seem oddly low even on bank owned properties. Would anyone like to explain why their listings are so different than regular Trulia listings? I usually just ignore Realty Trac listings because the prices don’t make sense. Thank you!

Help the community by answering this question:


Dan Chase’s answer
Barb, realtytrack lists a price of a house FOR SALE here. That means the property is being put up to sell at a given price. Since the house is NOT really FOR SALE at the price shown it IS BAIT AND SWITCH.

Sorry, it is that simple.
Per The Federal Trade Commission
Sec. 238.1 Bait advertisement.
No advertisement containing an offer to sell a product should be published when the offer is not a bona fide effort to sell the advertised product. [Guide 1]
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Are you referring to the listings that seem too good to be true? That is because Realty Trac will post all Notices of Default as soon as they are filed. The listing price is generally the amount of the loan in default. It has nothing to do with the asking price of the property and in almost all cases, those homes are not even listed for sale. I've raised my concerns about Realty Trac being allowed to post these listings, but no one seems to want to do anything about it. To me it seems like down right fraud! Because there is no listing contract signed and the price is not real?! I would love to see Realty Trac banned - the other side is that they require you to pay a fee to join even see the details of the listings they post. Check out my website below and you will not find any of these false listings! Good luck with your home search. I have a very good friend who's an agent in SF if you need assistance...just let me know and I'll get you details.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
TC teh short answer is Realty Trac is not a real estate broker. They do not list or sell homes. They sell information. They gather foreclsoures from public notices, partenr with trulia and list the notice here with select info so you will click on their site and pay for their services. The prices you see are not asking prices, they can be what they are behind, what they owe or a number none of us have been able to figure out.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Hi TC, Don explains it well. So why do they post such misleading information? Simple. They just want you to sign up for their service which will then tell you thev addresses of the homes they are "listing". Not that this will beof any use to you either, as the homes are not available for purchase.

RealtyTrac publishes some of the most misleading information on real estate web sites. These are NOT homes for sale. They are homes in various stages of foreclosure. The price they quote is what is owed on the loan. It is meaningless!

If you want to buy a home at a great price and you don't mind doing some fixing up, bank owned foreclosures are the way to go. There are plenty of them about but you have to move quickly. Please contact me if I can be of help to you.

These RealtyTrac postings are so misleading! This home is not offered for sale. The owner has failed to make timely mortgage payments and as a result the lender has filed a notice of default. This is simply the first step in the Foreclosure process.

The home may never come up for sale. The home owner can pay back the arrears and everything is back to normal

Just say No to RealtyTrac and focus on the real homes for sale.

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, DRE License # 01331583
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585 - bernard@bernardgibbons.com

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
I think this question has been answered very well... Theres even a blog post on it.

TC - Its good you are getting educated about the way things really are. Unfortunately too many people fall for things that are too good to be true. I wish there was some way to clean up the mess. I guess the only way is to educate the masses on sites like this.

Good luck to you!
Web Reference: http://www.bosserealtor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 22, 2010
I found a great article on Trulia for all you realtors who are tired of Realty Trac and other foreclosure questions. If you direct your clients here first, it will clear up a lot of the confusion: http://www.trulia.com/blog/carl_medford/2008/12/when_is_the_…

Just to clarify... I bought an REO and will buy another one in a year or so (not now!). Of course I'll use a realtor, like I did before. She didn't know much about REOs though, so I did a lot of the research myself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 18, 2010

As stated below …

RealtyTrac is not a broker, they are an information provider like ForeclosureRadar.com. In their own words, “RealtyTrac (is) the nation's leading online foreclosure marketplace and the most trusted source of foreclosure information.”

Therefore, what you are seeing on Trulia are not listings … they are advertisements for RealtyTrac.

What you typically see on Trulia is an alert by RealtyTrac for a Notice of Default (NOD) filed for a mortgage on a specific property. It can also be a foreclosure Notice of Sale for a trustee sale. RealtyTrac notices can seem very deceptive because they give the loan amounts, not the purchase price. In many cases, the loan you are seeing is a second loan with is substantially lower than the actual value of the property.

When any these particular properties actually hit the retail market, it will be at market price for the neighborhood.

BOTTOM LINE: RealtyTrac is trying to get you to sign up for their service.

Why does Trulia allow this? Because Trulia is a business and like all businesses needs revenue. RealtyTrac is a paying customer. Ironically, the revenue from RealtyTrac is part of what keeps this site alive – last I heard, Trulia still is not turning a profit.

The following links may be helpful:

When Is The Price Not The Price?

It’s Too Good To Be True: REALLY – Top 4 Buyer Myths

If you want to know when “REAL” listings 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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 16, 2010
Simply put.......... realty trac "listings" aren't really listings at all..............they are misleading, and I wish they weren't here on trulia

Do not throw your money away and pay for access to their lists.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
You are correct TC, they are violating those homeowners privacy. Many homeowners find a way out when there is a Notice of Default...and there is no need for the whole world wide web to know about their financial hardships! I can also refer you to my friend in SF, he can set you up for a home search that will eliminate all Realty Trak listings if you're interested. Just let me know. Thanks and Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010

Wouldn't it be nice if this information was provided so that interested parties could enjoy some clarity on this matter. It's often unclear, misleading, and decieving at best.......................
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Hello TC,

Simply put, RealtyTrac lists the amount which the owner is in default by. It is NOT the sales price, MOST of the time, the property is NOT even for sale as they put it on RealtyTrac soon as a Notice of Default is issued. Hope that helps. My suggestion you work with a knowledgable Realtor, since you are a buyer, you dont pay our fees and you get all the experience and knowledge for free. :)

Kamal Randhawa
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
The homes listed on the site aren't "bait and switch". They are usually homes that have received a notice of default, but people erroneously think that a notice of default means that the home is for sale, or bank-owned. A NOD is a LONG way from coming on the market, and may never come on the market, because the owner can pay up and the notice goes away. Also, if you look on some sites like Zillow, you may see a price for a home at $450,000 when the rest of the homes in the neighborhood are selling for $600,000, and you think - I want to buy that house for that little! But that is usually just the price that the bank took it back at - the amount that the bank was owed. So, while there is a lot of information on the internet, you will be in a better position to make a good financial decision if you use a realtor who can explain all these things to you. That's our job - to keep up with all of this, all the laws, and what it means for our buyers and sellers. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
I see realtytrack listings as used on this site as bait and switch. That is illegal under the FTC regulations. The thread below explains it.

All foreclosures on here are realtytrack listings. When you look at listings just remove the foreclosure check box on the left of the list of houses.

Better yet, go to realtor.com and have them set up an automated email for what you want. They are the closest thing a buyer can get to the same MLS a realtor uses.
Or find a realtor and have them send you the listings as they come in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Thanks all! You have confirmed what I suspected. I wish there was a way to filter them out of search results. I have purchased one foreclosure and will probably buy another one next year so I like to see what’s happening in the market. Realty Trac just mucks up search results with their bogus listings. I’m surprised there isn’t a way to turn them in. At the very least they are violating the privacy of those facing foreclosure who may be able to save their homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Oh gosh....there has been a number of posts about Realty Trac --- that not everything you see there is for sale, that the extremely low prices are NOT the for sale price but the delinquency, that the information you see is a hook to get you to subscribe.

And that searching online can only serve to confuse.

If you want to see what's ACTIVELY offered for sale, the most realiable source is Realtor.com which is associatied with natiional MLS services, and will only feature homes that are for sale. If a property has an accepted offer (whether or not it's a short sale waiting for short sale lender approval) it will no longer show up as for sale.

AND,...if you are interested in buying property, please engage a realtor to help you. Your realtor will research the suitable (and available) properties and guide you through the buying process.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
You're doing the right thing by ignoring them.

I usually describe RealtyTrack "listings" as inaccurate, incomplete, misleading, outdated, and just plain wrong. Most people use much harsher language.

Put at its most charitable, sometimes RealtyTrac will pick up the amount of the first mortgage, and that's what they'll "list" the place for. Sometimes, as I understand it, they'll simply pick up the past-due amounts. The numbers they present appear to have no relationship to the actual value of the property nor is based on any sort of calculations. Instead, there will be some number floating around--again, it might be the amount of one of the mortgages or it might be the amount of back payments--and that's what gets listed.

When someone posts a question about a price for a RealtyTrac property in the area I serve (Northern Virginia), I'll sometimes take a look to see if the property's even for sale. Usually it isn't. And when it is, the price never matches the value.

So, that's pretty much the explanation.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 14, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
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