Many real estate enthusiasts talk about foreclosures, REOs and bank-owned homes, but how do you find them? It’s not advisable to go around asking family and friends if they’re about to lose their house and that wouldn’t give you a very long list anyway. So where do you get a list of leads without spending a lot of money on the list and paying for what you could get for free?
Most of the time, banks are happy to share this information. Bank-owned homes are liabilities to their bottom line and they are motivated to sell them. For this reason, they will usually have a list of properties you can check out simply by asking. Talk to their real estate finance officers and let them know you’re interested in a foreclosure. They can then talk to you about a desired neighborhood and price range in order to give you the right leads.
Another source of foreclosure leads is through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The great thing about these two sources is that they work nationwide. No matter which state, city or neighborhood you’re considering, you can contact these agencies and see if they have anything available there. You can also reach them online through their site and avoid a face-to-face meeting if that conflicts with your schedule.
Newspapers may be moving to an online presence, but they are still a great source of foreclosure leads. Legal notices must be posted in papers when they are about to occur and if you monitor the classifieds, you’ll be ahead of the game. While the address of the property may not be listed, you can match the information up with city offices and find out what part of the city the home is located in. From that point, you can do your own research to find out what the financial liability is on the house.
Remember that house auctions are great events to attend as well. When they auction off the property, you can bid up to your maximum amount and save quite a bit on the residence. Be prepared with your cash offer or letter of approval so you’re allowed to bid on the house. You can get a list of home auctions by signing up for newsletters and foreclosure groups on the web. Keep these sources in mind when you’re ready to buy a foreclosed home and you may find that making an REO part of your real estate portfolio is a very simple process.