Mark, Home Buyer in Sarasota, FL

What is the best way to find/view foreclosed properties? Do I have to subscribe to Realty Trac?

Asked by Mark, Sarasota, FL Sun Nov 11, 2012

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Donna Hammer’s answer
The best way to find & view a foreclosed property is to work with a Realtor. If you know the general location you are interested in, your Realtor can set up searches to automatically notify you by email with the details and pictures of properties as they come up.

I would be happy to help you find foreclosed property. You can reach me at
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2012
Definitely want to work with an experienced & assertive Realtor who knows the market. It's extremely competitive & you need someone working hard to help you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 7, 2013
One way to find foreclosure listings, is call a professional Realtor and they can send you all the foreclosure listings. However, in today's market, foreclosure listings are not always the least expensive listings. I suggest you give your Realtor your criteria on what you are looking for and the maximum price you are willing to spend and then from there you will get a list of properties that match your wants.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 22, 2015
Before you spend money on a service that provides lots of information that may be overkill I would try another method. If you go to the websites for each county under public records you will be able to search for "Lis Pendens". A "Lis Pendens" is the filing necessary to begin the foreclosure process. Typically the name and phone number of the Attorney that filed the action can be obtained. It is the quick and inexpensive way to get started.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
Update... Hillsborough County Clerk's office now has the foreclosure auctions online:

You MUST do a LOT of homework before bidding because you will NOT get a clear title nor title insurance, see my previous post about the multitude of issues than can occur when buying at the foreclosure auction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013

Realty Trac identifies any property with a lis pendem filed (lien) as a potential foreclosure. This could be anywhere in the process timeline of 90 days to 3years + in our area...Many of these homes are not really on the market for sale and some of these homes may never become available for sale. Lien may be paid, loan modification, etc.

Interview full time professional Realtors in the area you are interested in and choose one you are comfortable with. They will be able to keep you informed on properties actually available for sale as they hit the market. Don't limit yourself to bank owned properties. Discuss what you are looking for and keep it open. Sometimes the best bargain is an estate sale, or someone who has lived in the property a long time, has equity and needs to move.


Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 8, 2013
Definitely want to work with an experienced & assertive Realtor who knows the market. It's extremely competitive & you need someone working hard to help you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 7, 2013
Hi Mark,

The best way too stay up-to-date with foreclosed properties is through a Realtor. I would be more than happy to supply you with the information.

Vangie Pappas
Pappas Realty & Management Co.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012

You do not have to subscribe to Realty Trac to have access to foreclosed properties. Instead, you can work with a local Realtor whom you trust.

If you need a referral to a great Realtor in Sarasota, let me know!

Best of luck!

Chad Gray PA, Realtor
Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

100% of clients rated our service as "EXCELLENT"!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Hi Again,

Also just so you know some of the RealtyTrac listings will never go to auction at the courthouse and of course you cannot buy a property for half price--even at the courthouse auction.

I see some RealtyTrac listings that show a 2nd mortgage that is in default so it will give the impression the bank owns it and is only willing to accept a significantly below market value... not true..

To give you an idea of what you can get for your money in Clearwater Beach, these are the actual Sold prices in the past 3 months, sorry the formatting is off but it shows the list price, sale price and condo name:

Address SqFt List Price Sold Price BE FB HB Built Subdivision Name Property Style Sold Date
1351 GULF BLVD # 214 1,115 274,900 240,000 2 2 0 1976 BAYSIDE GARDENS 3 Condo 10/5/2012
501 Mandalay Ave # 407 1,742 407,777 397,000 3 2 0 2005 Belle Harbor Condo 7/26/2012
501 Mandalay Ave # 501 1,870 499,000 485,000 3 2 1 2005 Belle Harbor Condo Condo 10/16/2012
1586 GULF BLVD # 2203 1,390 309,900 282,500 2 2 0 1984 CABANA CLUB CONDO Condo 9/12/2012
969 Bruce Ave 1,840 449,000 415,000 3 3 0 1956 Carlouel Single Family Home 8/27/2012
991 Narcissus Ave 1,948 578,000 530,000 3 3 0 1952 Carlouel Single Family Home 7/6/2012
868 Bayway Blvd # 109 1,007 229,000 200,000 2 2 0 1970 Clearwater Point Con Condo 10/4/2012
1310 GULF BLVD # 7G 2,005 650,000 620,000 2 2 1 1989 CRESCENT BEACH CLUB TWO CONDO Condo 6/8/2012
1180 Gulf Blvd # 206 1,952 525,000 475,000 3 2 1 1997 Grande On Sand Key Condo 9/28/2012
240 Sand Key Estates Dr # 236 1,530 389,000 377,000 2 2 0 1983 Harborage Condo 02 Condo 7/31/2012
106 Midway Is 2,821 469,000 410,000 4 4 0 1962 Island Estates Clear Single Family Home 6/29/2012
743 Snug Is 2,286 620,000 550,000 4 3 0 1970 Island Estates Clear Single Family Home 7/2/2012
735 Island Way 3,022 722,258 610,000 3 3 1 1984 Island Estates Clear Single Family Home 6/22/2012
1230 Gulf Blvd # 1604 869 224,900 224,900 1 1 1 1980 Landmark Towers Cond Condo 6/29/2012
1076 Eldorado Ave 5,024 2,499,000 2,900,000 4 4 1 1994 Mandalay Single Family Home 8/15/2012
11 SAN MARCO ST # 1606 2,530 999,000 950,000 3 2 1 2002 MANDALAY BEACH CLUB CONDO Condo 7/31/2012
880 Mandalay Avenue # N-110 707 106,875 110,500 1 1 0 1962 Regatta Beach Club Condo 8/27/2012
880 Mandalay Ave # C507 950 200,000 145,000 2 1 0 1962 Regatta Beach Club Condo 8/24/2012
880 MANDALAY AVE # S-205 707 225,000 220,000 1 1 0 1962 REGATTA BEACH CLUB Condo 7/3/2012
1451 Gulf Blvd # 116 760 199,222 185,000 1 1 1 1973 Sand Key Condo Baysi Condo 7/2/2012
1351 Gulf Blvd # 102 1,115 250,000 238,000 2 2 0 1974 Sand Key Condo Baysi Condo 6/8/2012
1400 Gulf Blvd # 402 1,341 379,000 355,000 2 2 0 1973 Sand Key Condo South Condo 9/5/2012
1400 GULF BLVD # 108 1,327 334,900 310,000 2 2 0 1973 SAND KEY CONDO SOUTH BEACH 1 Condo 9/17/2012
500 Mandalay Ave # 743 832 464,900 440,000 1 1 0 2007 Sandpearl Resort Condo 6/28/2012
1350 Gulf Blvd # 404 2,355 839,000 767,500 3 2 1 2005 Utopia Condo Condo 6/18/2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Hi Mark,

If you are an ALL CASH buyer and willing to "learn the ropes" the Pinellas County Clerk's office actually lists the upcoming auctions online and provides a significant amount of detail. It's not for the newbie investor because you will not get a clear title with title insurance nor be able to inspect the property (it's tresspassing until the property is foreclosed) for significant defects. You will need to perform a title search or hire a competent title company to perform the search for you for a fee "before" you even bid. You may need to factor in legal costs to remove an owner or tenant, or pay for a "quiet title" action. Don't expect to be able to immediately resell the property...except to an unsuspecting ALL CASH buyer that doesn't have an attorney represent him. The auctions are done online in Pinellas County.

Hillsborough County Clerk isn't as transparent when it comes to upcoming auctions and only advertises basic info in obscure newspapers. You will probably need to pay for a service and I can highly recommend: They will even be able to supply info on whether an attorney is permitted to accept less than the final judgement amount so you will know if you need to show up to the courthouse (in person) to bid. You must pay ALL CASH within 24 hours or less so if you need a mortgage the foreclosure auctions are not an option for you.

Buyers borrowing money to purchase will need to line up with the many, many, many investors and also expect to pay an above market price to capture a property because you will certainly be in a multiple offer scenario competing with several other "non-cash" and "all cash" buyers.

Good luck!

If you need a Realtor to help you (not at the courthouse auctions) but to buy a property post foreclose, or short sale, give me a call or you're welcome to sign up for a free ListingBook account on my website:

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Hi Mark,

Realty Trac gets it's information by searching the public records for Lis Pendems (recorded liens), but unfortunately that does not mean a house has been foreclosed or is even on the market. That is why you see so many listings on Realty Trac that don't even have an MLS #. People often get confused with the term forclosure. Forclosure is a process which can take from 3 months to 3 years average in our area (Tampa Bay-Clearwater-St. Pete), so even when a property shows as "in foreclosure" or "pre-foreclosure" it is not a foreclosed property. It is still owned by the Seller and IF it is currently for sale it is as a "short sale". The lenders may be running the foreclosure process simultaneously.

Once a property has been FORECLOSED it is know as a REO- Real Estate Owned or Bank Owned property, which is what I think you are looking for. Best way to stay on top if it is to interview full time professional realtors, find one you are comfortable with, sit down and have a consultation with them to help them customize your search, to be ready as soon as it hits the market. This also means having your financing in order. You will need to be pre-approved if financing or show proof of funds if cash. No offer will be accepted without it. If something looks good to you, chances are it will to others-so he who is ready to move has an edge.

Last tip, don't limit yourself to REOs or any one type of property. Go over your requirements and keep all options open. Sometimes the BEST BUY is a little old lady moving to be near her kids, or an estate sale...these will never show up in the REOs.

I feel an informed client makes the best decisions regarding their real estate needs. Let me know if I can be of assistance.


Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
Hi Mark,

I agree with the responders advising against subscribing to Realty Trac.

You can search currently available properties in the beach towns from Clearwater Beach to
St Pete Beach by entering your criteria or browse lists of beach properties for sale in
various price ranges at
'REO/Bank owned' is one of the available search criteria.

Or from a mobile device, like a smart phone or tablet, go to Bank owned can be specified from the Advanced Search.

Let us know when you want to see anything you find there or want to discuss your options.

Tom & Lisa Slaughter
Century 21 Coast to Coast
(727) 213-1452 / Toll free (877) 213-6611

Find your next home at
Mobile real estate search -
We sell houses and condos from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach, Florida
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
Hello Mark,
The beaches are always attractive places to find value holding real estate. Sand Key, Island Estates, Mandalay and all those single family homes beachey homes communities that exist on the barrier Islands. I have two beach home listed and one ready to close for my buyer.

If you want to work with a professional who is very familiar with the 'Beaches' and you want to have access to the foreclosed homes available via the "Mid-Florida Regional MLS, you will need to give me a call so your objectives and requirements can be discussed.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group,
Palm Harbor, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012

RealtyTrac is a rip off in my opinion. My site has foreclosures by city, just click on the city you want, thats all!

Call or e-mail when you have a question or want to write an offer.


Kevin Cloutier, Commercial & Residential Realtor
A "HouseSOLD" name
Southern Premier Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
Mark, I would say DON'T subscribe to realty trac. Any agent in any location can supply you with an ongoing notification of foreclosure properties in their area. If you are interested in foreclosures in the Florida panhandle, let me know. I would be happy to supply you with that information.

Myke Triebold, GRI, LMC, ABR, SFR
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
If you are looking in Pasco or Pinellas Counties, all you have to do is contact me and I'll forward a current list .

Sandra Blaker
Realtor Emeritus
Florida Luxury Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
Find an agent to work with. Most of the homes on Realty Trac and other such subscription services are not offered for sale, they only become available for purchase once they are listed with a realtor, so the ONLY way you can really find foreclosed properties, or short sale properties, is by working with a realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
No, you don't have to pay for Realty Trac!!!!!! And, if you do thinking you're getting a legitimate list of homes for sale, you will NOT be getting what you pay for! Many of the so called "listings" are not listed at all - Realty Trac compiles data on homes who have had paperwork filed but may NOT be listed for sale as yet, and may never be listed.

If you want reliable information listed foreclosed properties - actual listings of homes - speak with a local realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
All you have to do is contact a local real estate agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
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