Websites, such as Trulia, try to get you to pay for their services. As much as they try to be punctual with the timing of posting foreclosed homes, they are usually way too early or too late.
The foreclosure process is quite lengthy and starts when the borrower defaults on the loan. The following steps are included but are probably not all of the steps in the process after the borrower defaults.
- The lender petitions the court to sell the property.
- Borrower notified, has chance to catch up on payments, fees, remaining balance of loan.
- Borrower can't pay, home is slated for sheriff sale.
- Borrower can petition the court to stay the sale.
- If the sale goes on, potential buyers bid for property.
- If the property is sold at sale, sheriff evicts squatters (prior borrowers).
- If the property is not sold, the bank â€œbuysâ€ the property back.
- Bank puts the property on the market through a broker.
- For lenders who have VA or FHA backed home loans, they give the property to those agencies recovering the funds and those agencies either list with a broker or post those properties on their own web sites.
Now, even before this happens, the borrower sometimes lists the property (with the lender's approval) as a short sale (the price of the home is less than what is owed).
Moral: Get a real estate agent to help you out. They can show you properties which are either in foreclosure or will be a short sale. They can also assist you with properties which are slated for sheriff sale to see if they would be profitable.
Hope that helps,