RealtyTrac "listings" are NOT listings as the real estate buying public understands them. As I have said many times before in these posts, RealtyTrac information is at best confusing and at worst downright wrong. It is really of no benefit if you are looking for homes for sale.
The reason there are so many "listings" in RealtyTrac is because they report all Notice Of Default ("NOD") filings, not homes for sale. So anyone who gets behind on their mortgage can have an NOD filed against them, and if they have 3 mortgages they can have 3 NOD's filed against them. Just because someone gets behind on their mortgage, does not necessarily mean that they will sell their home or lose it to foreclosure. Statistically speaking, in Los Angeles County over the past three months, 8,000 properties on average had NODs filed against them each month, about 2,400 had a Notice of Trustee sale filed and about 1,000 actually went back to the bank. RealtyTrac does not tell you when someone cures their default, works something out with the lender, or files for Bankruptcy. In the recent past only 10 - 20 percent of all NODs ever resulted in foreclosure. And, although I do not have any statistics on it, probably a similar percent of home owners decide to sell (with some being successful before the foreclosure and some not).
So, if you are truly looking to purchase a home, hook up with a good real estate agent and let them find you the deals. RealtyTrac will be of no help to you unless you want to call or visit the owners of every home in default and ask them to sell you their home. If this is not your intent, don't dwell on this very misleading information, instead focus on finding what you really want in a Realtor and a Home and move in that direction. Best of luck in your home hunting endeavors and Dare to Dream.
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty