Buying foreclosed properties can be a good way to get that first home or start investing in real estate at prices below the market. However, you do not need to pay for listings. In fact, the most commercial garnishment listing services provide public information that can be obtained if one knows how. The key to finding foreclosed homes for free is to learn how to locate good deals quickly before other investors take them away. This takes time, and you need to use several strategies to cover your search area.
Start your search for foreclosed homes at the registrar’s office or the tax assessor’s office in your county. Some places offer listings for free and many have online ads that you can access at no cost.
Monitor government listings online. The website of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has links to listings of all states of homes for sale, which include foreclosures (See Resources). The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs also have listings online (see Resources).
Use free commercial listings to find more foreclosed homes. Not all commercial listings charge fees (See Resources). They usually provide lists of foreclosed homes and conventional homes for sale.
Check your local newspaper. In most jurisdictions, the county clerk or other official is required to place a notice of embargoes in the local newspaper, along with notices of upcoming auctions.
Contact your local real estate board and get the names of accredited agents that specialize in foreclosed assets. Another good source of information is your bank’s real estate agent. Banks, after all, are the part that most often tries to download a foreclosed property.
Drive around the neighborhoods and look for signs that say a house is “bank owned” or is repossessed. This tactic has the advantage of being able to take a close look at a neighborhood, which can tell you a lot about whether a property that has an attractive price is a good investment.
Be selective A low price does not guarantee a good investment. Consult with local real estate agents about future prospects in a neighborhood and ask about property values, crime rates, schools and neighboring districts to buy. Go to your bank and make the necessary arrangements to obtain prequalification for a mortgage. If the bank’s real estate agents realize that you are in a position to buy, they will take you seriously and will most likely inform you about some of the best properties.