NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Internet is chock full of sites that claim to give you the inside track on good home foreclosure deals, but some are definitely better than others. Three sites stand out, and they’ll get you an average 15% or better discount on home foreclosure sales.
RealtyTrac reports that 225,101 U.S. homes fell into foreclosure in February, a 14% decrease from the previous month and 27% lower than the number recorded in February 2010. All told, about 2.9 million U.S. homes were foreclosed on in 2010, RealtyTrac says.
Despite the decrease, a couple hundred thousand homes on the market at discount prices mean plenty of buyout opportunities for consumers.
A good place to start in finding a foreclosed home to make your own is a mortgage specialist at your local bank. Banks in your area should also have a website that includes foreclosure listings.
Another good idea is to contact one or two of the best (and busiest) real estate agents in your area. Realtors are born networkers, and should know of any good foreclosure deals, including the state of a property, when the foreclosure process will be completed, and what price the property might be listed at.
Your local newspaper website may also have an “auction listings" column in the real estate section. Check for dates, prices and contact information if you have any questions about the property.
Past that, you can cast a much wider net for foreclosed homes by leveraging the aggregating power of the Internet.
Three sites bear specific mention:
- RealtyTrac Visit RealtyTrac’s foreclosure listings page for some of the best deals locally and nationally. All you need to do is plug in your zip code and up pops a listing of foreclosures in that area. A check of the 18901 zip code (Bucks County, Penn. – near Philadelphia) reveals 38 homes either in pre-foreclosure or that are already foreclosed. Included are the estimated selling price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the square footage.
- HUDforeclosed.com A check of the same 18901 area code via the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s foreclosure page reveals 132 properties up for grabs. You’ll have to register for the site – $99 for six months or $179 per year – but it will let you get HUD listings via e-mail as soon as they become available. Try the trial “$1 for one week” to see if you like the site.
- Foreclosure.com This site has a national map where you can just click on an area to see local listings, or you can type in a zip code and search that way. A check of the 18901 zip code reveals 44 homes in foreclosure. This is a paid site, too, although Foreclosure.com also offers a seven-day trial.
Finding a good foreclosure deal on the Web isn’t exactly rocket science, but you need to make sure you use a reputable site with the most up-to-date information. Try these sites and you may be able to find the deal of the century for you and your family.