There are several sources to which a prospective property buyer or investor can get information about foreclosure properties, both Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquired as well as Real Estate Owned (REO) properties. Below are the most common sources of information:
- Public Land Records – At the pre-foreclosure stage, a public Notice of Sale is recorded in the office of the county clerk or the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. These notices are a matter of public record, and for a prospective property buyer or an investor, this is an opportunity for a short sale situation. A search of the public land records is free; however, it’s also important to look for additional liens on the property that may affect title.
- Local Newspaper Listings – The classified advertisements in the local newspapers are a treasure trove of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties. Home owners hoping to avoid a foreclosure may list properties as For Sale By Owner or FSBO; these FSBO properties are also opportunities for short sales. Additionally, lenders who have begun foreclosure proceedings against a borrower are required to make public notice, not only among the land records, but through print news media.
- Online Listings – Several websites are dedicated to listing properties in foreclosure, as well as HUD acquired and REO properties. These websites are usually subscription-based, meaning you have to pay to read the listings, but the listings are numerous, and offer local as well as national listings on foreclosures and pre-foreclosures. Free online classified advertisements also can provide opportunities for short sales; listings are generally FSBO.
- Government insured property listings – Properties that were originally insured either through the Federal Housing Authority or the Veterans Administration and which are foreclosed upon are listed on the HUD website; offers for these properties can only be made through a HUD registered broker, but a database of HUD registered brokers is also available through the website.