How to Find Foreclosed Homes for Free: 5 Expert Tips

How to Find Foreclosed Homes for Free: 5 Expert Tips

Buying a foreclosure is one of the most affordable ways to become a homeowner. Many foreclosed homes sell at a deep discount, because they sell “as is” without contingencies and negotiations. Most areas also provide free housing to residents. This article will introduce you to the specific methods of obtaining it.

How to find foreclosed homes for free

Find a good real estate agent

Local real estate agents are experts in finding foreclosures without paying a fee. And you can find an agent who has previous experience buying foreclosures.

Check home sale websites

You can search for foreclosures and pre-foreclosures for free on most real estate websites, including:

•Zillow: Select “Buy” from the top menu on the site. Then select “Foreclosures.” It might be more productive to search your entire state for foreclosures (rather than your area code), as Zillow’s foreclosure inventory can be low.

•Realtor.com: Enter your zip code to search on Realtor’s custom page.

•Trulia: Enter your zip code, city, or state, then click “More.” Under “Type of Listing,” you’ll see foreclosures.

Search for government-owned foreclosures

Government-sponsored lending institutions, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sell homes they’ve repossessed. You can find these real estate–owned (REO) properties on each agency’s webpage.

Look for bank-owned homes

When borrowers don’t make mortgage payments, banks and non-government lenders seize the home and sell it.

Sometimes banks sell these properties in public auctions. Other times banks list the REO properties on their website and sell them directly to the public.

Research public auctions

Banks and lenders often try to auction off homes before they list them. These auctions can take place at auction houses, courthouses, convention centers, and even the property itself. There are also online public auctions on sites like Auction.com.

Auctions can be great places to find great homes at a bargain. But they pose serious risks, too. You typically can’t tour foreclosed homes before an auction. So you’ll likely be bidding on the home without enough information. You’ll have to pay a large amount in cash and put down a hefty earnest deposit. There’s also stiff competition from seasoned auctioneers.

How to find the best foreclosure deals

•Get a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA will give you an estimate of a home’s market value, which will help you make a competitive offer. Your agent should be able to supply you with a CMA.

•Conduct a title search and inspection (if you can). Although foreclosures are almost always listed as is, sometimes you can order an inspection and a title search. This could save you from buying a home with expensive problems.

•Tour the home (if possible). Most lenders and banks will let you look at REO properties in person. But this probably won’t be possible with auctioned homes.

FAQ

How do I find a list of foreclosed homes in my area?

You can find foreclosed homes in your area by checking popular real estate sites. Many government agencies, banks, and lenders will also post foreclosed homes on their sites. Your real estate agent can be a great source, too, because they know the local market and can help you find a foreclosure that fits you.

Is it safe to buy a foreclosed property?

It’s not always safe to buy a foreclosed property. It can get you a great deal, but it can also be risky. Many foreclosed homes are in poor condition and need extensive repairs or renovations. Research foreclosure and the foreclosed property before buying. You don’t want a house with expensive problems. A good real estate agent can help you in your search.

Our experts continually research, evaluate, and monitor real estate companies and industry trends. We update our articles when new information becomes available.