Hi, As a North Andover home owner/resident and agent here in town I keep a very close eye on the North Andover market including the pre foreclosures, potential short sales, died in lieu possibilities and bank owned as well.
It's very common to see a home enter pre foreclosure status with the home owner later being able to either work out a loan modification or bring their loan current.
It is also very common to see a home in pre foreclosure status for 1, 2, 3 even 5 years before the home owner is forced to either list it for sale or the bank actually forecloses.
In the past when a home buyer has come to me with interest in a specific property that is off the market in this situation I approach the home owner to request access for a showing. Some times the situation works out for the home buyer and other times the home seller prefers to allow the home to be foreclosed rather than attempt to sell.
If you have specific questions about the property or it's status feel free to contact me and I can do some initial research for you including a market evaluation to determine the most likely value today based on the available information so that you have a better idea of whether or not you want to pursue a conversation with the seller. If they are actually going to sell and need to sell in a short sale situation I have an excellent resource for a short sale negotiator who works on North Andover properties as well.
Best of luck!