Foreclosure Listings Help Sort Out The Complexities

 By: Philip Smith
Vital and so valuable; those are the essentials offered up by foreclosure listings services. Yes, it's all a matter of public record and some drive-by research; maybe a photo or two and you could get it yourself. If you take that approach the best deals will go to the competition, and some of that competition will be both experienced and highly successful in sorting out the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

What are those essentials you need to make an informed selection of foreclosure properties that are going to be worth your time to investigate seriously? Whether you are after a family home, or are a first time buyer of foreclosures for income generating purposes or a newcomer to this market as an investment, those essentials are the same. What stage of foreclosure is the property in, and depending on the particular stage in the process, what's the value of the liens recorded against that property, what date for the auction, and who is the seller.

If the property that attracts you is in pre foreclosure then you are going to be trying to contact the borrower in default. That party could be a motivated seller, but there are many who have not yet come to grips with a possible sale as a way out of their financial problem. By knowing the total of the debt recorded against the property, some comparable prices for fit to resell, same neighborhood stuff, you can calculate whether the owner has equity or is under water. These are all factors in a pre foreclosure that help you determine your strategy and price for the offer. Knowing the date of the auction or sheriff sale gives you an idea of the time you may have to negotiate discounts with junior lien holders and create equity. Alternatively if you decide to bid at auction, you will focus on the time you have to inspect the home and raise your finance for the day or shortly after if your bid is successful. Red alert! Your listings service will alert you to State foreclosure laws about redemption rights. Knowing the auction date helps you be the first in with an all cash almost unconditional offer to the lender/owner when the property fails to sell above the upset price at the auction.

Finally, if you are looking at listings that say the property is REO, then you know you are at the end of the process, the foreclosed property is being offered for sale from the lender or institutional inventories of repossessed property, some of which failed to sell at auction or shortly after. Many of the REO offerings require bid submission through a real estate agent, there may be pre set limits to price adjustments (and your agent may be close enough to the bank or lender to know those policies) and although the title is clear, you need to check out the "as is" condition thoroughly.

So much to see, so much to learn and more, and maybe time yet to take advantage of this buyer's market. Well worth investing in a foreclosure listings service first.
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