However, as some noted below, the amount owed has little relationship to the offer you should make. It may have some effect (the first mortgage, in the case of multiple liens) on what the lender might accept. But there are plenty of houses out there that aren't working as short sales because the amount owed is way above what the house is currently worth. So (to cite a local example), if someone bought a house for $550,000, zero down, a couple of years ago, he still owes $550,000. But the house itself, in today's market, is only worth $350,000. Lenders vary, but relatively few are going to let that house be sold for $350,000. They're more often looking at something in the range of $450,000. Yes, it's a $100,000 "bath" for them, but you'd still be drastically overpaying.
Hope that helps.
If the house is listed as a short sale, it is probably already listed below the mortgage amount they owe. Most sellers want that house to sell so they will give permission to their agent to disclose the amount owed, So... just ask...
Your question was partially cut off. If you have signed representation authorizing someone to act as your realtor, you should go through him/her to find out on your behalf. This post is for any readers who want to know the answer to his question...The information asked ("What is the way to find out the remaining mortgage balance on a pre-foreclosure?) is generally something that is considered 'private/confidential' between the seller and mortgage company. In Texas, property sales information is not displayed in any public forum because it is deemed private/non-discloseable by law. A few years ago there was a big deal about social security numbers being displayed on public records and the Texas Attorney General got involved. (Don't worry, this is not the case anymore). For this and other reasons, legislative folks decided to keep some information out of public hands and off the Internet. Texas is a non-disclosure state for home sales prices. Say, for example, if someone listed their home for sale, they usually contact a realtor to get access to information on past 'SOLD' properties (realtors pay access fees for this information). In Houston, it's the Har.com MLS database. As part of a 'listing presentation', realtors provide CMAs or a Comparative Market Analysis. This is data on active, pending, and sold properties for a particular neighborhood. This is how folks help determine a home's sales price 'FOR SALE' -- what's currently available, pending (under contract), and sold in the last 6 months. In today's market with foreclosures...it's more like what's available/pending/sold in the last 3 months. (A person could go to the county courthouse where the property resides, and do a search by owner's name or address in the property records section of the courthouse. Now days, most courthouses have this info in some electronic format (microfiche, online database, etc.). But you have to visit in person; you can't access it online over the Internet. Smaller town courthouses may only have paper records bound in large legal ledgers, where the county clerk originally recorded the docs/instruments within a few days/weeks of the original being signed. If you do locate the 'chain of title' (property's history of past owners), expect to do some digging. You will probably only get the original price they paid for the property and not too many other details. As a part of the sales process after closing takes place, deeds are recorded in the local courthouse property files as a matter of public notice (for legal reasons). A better approach would be to find out area properties history for the neighborhood thru a realtor, appraiser, or other source. Realistically, you would still need to determine your current competition (active properties for sale, pending contracts, and solds) to get an idea for the current market conditions. What someone paid for a home is not important; it's the current market value that matters - that is what a buyer is willing to pay TODAY in the marketplace, not yesterday. I wish you the best. I'm here to help you anyway I can -- just call or email me: Karen Savage, REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty/North(west)--Hwy 290/FM1960 area near Willowbrook Mall; 8300 FM 1960 West, Suite 310, Houston, TX 77070, direct: 281-813-9769; office: 281-664-8300,x3004; http://www.KarenSavage-Realtor.com. (You got a friend in Texas! We aim to please! Your Greater Houston, Texas source for everything real estate.) Information provided is for consumer educational purposes only. Please consult a legal professional for advice that applies to your unique circumstances.
The onlny accurate way to find out what the remaining balance is to ask the seller ot the lender directly. The lender might not want to disclouse this information to a third party. Realtors can however, tell you what the original loan amount was.
Hope this helps.