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01-16-2010 11:01 AM
We are renters hoping to buy a foreclosure in Marin. We are not interested in auction, but maybe REO, I guess? I'm still learning!
Anyway, I'm wondering if it is worth it to subscribe to Foreclosure.com or RealtyTrac? How do you use these listings?
thanks so much!!
01-16-2010 01:35 PM
Be very wary of any service that offers a "free trial" that requires a credit card. Legitimate free trials give you full access for a period of time and then you lose the access UNTIL you give them payment information.
I was just about to sign up with Realty Trac last week, when my research found lots of complaints about their business practices and the quality of the information on their site. Many people report that even if they cancel within the free trial period, they get billed for the services. Others used the paid service for a while and when they cancelled, the billing continued.
Instead of signing up, I started locating the properties myself. I use homefinder.com to find the foreclosure pipelines (it pulls from realtytrac) and then Redfin.com to identify the listings. For example:
I used this search to identify the Foreclosure Pipeline for 3/2 SFR's in Dublin CA with ranges of $400K - $1M:
That led me to this property:
I then used Redfin.com to check prior sales and it's obvious that the realtytrack listing is this home:
You can tell because it sold for $850K in 2004, was listed as a short sale, and "sold" for a fraction of the list price (i.e. the remaining amount of the loan). Also, the sale date is shortly after the auction date, indicating that no one bid on the home during the auction, so the bank bought it back from itself for the existing mortgage balance. -
01-16-2010 04:19 PM
Very cool-- thank you!!
Once you find out about the foreclosures, how do you go about it from there? We are 1st time homebuyers, not investors, and are interested in finding something for a reasonable price, without too much risk.
Did you end up buying the property? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
01-16-2010 04:30 PM
No, we found that even if you know the bank name (and a contact), the foreclosed properties pass through various departments at the bank before they are ready to be sold. So, the contact info is pretty much useless until the bank is ready to list it for sale. Unless the insiders grab it first, it'll make it onto the MLS eventually.
The trick is to add the property to your Redfin "favorites", once you identify it. Redfin allows you to do this even for properties that are not technically for sale. That way, once it does come onto the market, you'll instantly get an update that it's now available as an REO (set your favorites to update daily via e-mail).
01-16-2010 04:55 PM
If you have an agent, ask them to printout a copy of the preforeclosures/foreclosures for your desired zip codes. This will show all properties that are in arrears of mortgage payments (possibly approachable for a short sale offer) and scheduled "courthouse steps" auctions when these become REO's. The list should show address, whether the property is Single Family Home, Condo etc, size of home, size of lot, amount of the loan, estimated value etc.
01-16-2010 05:04 PM
thanks-- very helpful!!! i'll try that.
if anyone knows of any good agents in Marin, let me know... ive heard great things about Redfin but am open to working with an agent if it is "worth it". ive heard that buyers' agents are better-- i guess that's what Redfin is?
01-16-2010 06:53 PM
I use Realty Trac just the info you get for free like that a house is in foreclosure on the street. Then I go to realtor.com to the home values selection which pops up on the right side of the screen. I enter the street name that has the foreclosure then I go through all the houses on the street to see which ones match up with the square footage and rooms that Realty Trac said it had. You can narrow it down to a couple of houses on the block to which is the foreclosure and realtor.com supplies the house number. Then I signed up for the free subscription on propertyshark.com and input the addresses on that website and it will give you the owners name, loan info, etc. You can then use the owners name on the county recorder website and look up the people to see if they have a notice of default. You can also find out via the recorders office or propertyshark what bank bought back the house then you can search that banks particular REO listing to see if it posted or coming to the market soon. I know that Contra Cost county recorder has an online database to search so you don't have to call them.
Propertyshark use to give you the homes and addresses and all the auction info for them for the free subscription but now they charge you to view the address they will give you some of the info still.
01-25-2010 01:02 PM