Wealth Building Steps Home >> Flip That House >> How to Find Foreclosures – part 1 >> Find Foreclosure Properties

How to Find Foreclosure Properties, For Investing, on Your Spare Time (cont.)  

Search the free databases to find foreclosure properties

Now that you are armed with an area and criteria here are the only four websites you need to find your deal - and they are free:

Your Multiple Listing Service(MLS) – a lot of people get hung up on the fact that only agents have access to the MLS but I know many cities, Atlanta included, have public access to the MLS. It’s not going to give you as much information as the full access but it is good enough for you to find foreclosure properties that you can go look at, compare and start searching. You can see what one of the many public places to search Atlanta MLS looks like, here . I found House #7 on the MLS and it came through me via an email alert I have set up on the public MLS.

Zillow.com – Zillow has helped me the most for two things: First, once I have located a property that I am interested in I look it up in Zillow to see what else is for sale in the area similar to the house I am considering. Second, you can also find out what has recently sold nearby which is the first step in determining the crucial after repair value (ARV).

WARNING! Zillow is not a good tool to determine what a house is worth. Please disregard what Zillow says something is worth and do your own research. Also, the sold price Zillow displays for a foreclosure is just the amount that the bank foreclosed for and not a true sale price.

Realtor.com – this is nothing more than another public display of data from the MLS. However it can be a good tool because it gives you everything that is on the market at the moment.

Hudhomestore.com – this is an important database because many times HUD foreclosures that are for sale are not listed in the MLS. I have flipped several HUD foreclosures and can tell you that HUD homes can be a great source of deals.

Find foreclosure properties tip - most of the time when you see a listing it’s pretty obvious that it is a foreclosure. In case you are not sure look for these words: “bank owned”, “REO”, “sold as-is”, “corporate owner”, “no disclosures”, “proof of funds (POF) required” and so on.

Enlist The Help Of An Agent To Find Foreclosure Properties

Because you have limited time you would be smart using other persons knowledge and time to help your investing. Enlisting the help of an agent that knows real estate investing can be very helpful. However, make sure they understand investing, because there are agents that would not recognize a good investment if it hit them in the face.

Also be considerate of their time. Don’t enlist the help of an agent if you are not ready to buy. Remember, they do not get paid until you buy a property so don’t waste their time if you are not serious.

You don’t always need them by your side to see the house. You can go out and take a look at the house, even if it’s just to peek in the windows and get a good idea if the house will fit your criteria. If you then get serious about it then have your agent go and open it up for a more thorough review.

Drive, Baby, Drive!

There is only so much you can learn about a house and area by surfing the net. If you want to find foreclosure properties there is still nothing that compares to actually driving the areas where you want to invest.

So early Saturday morning, after you have picked a good 10-15 candidates, grab a cup of coffee and go out there and visit all of them. Take the wife or husband with you, after all this is a family business.

Driving around is still the best way to find foreclosure properties and get to know an area. When you are out there pay attention to things like: what does the neighborhood look like, the actual neighbors, how easy/hard was it getting there, what kind of repairs does the house need, are there 6 cars in every driveway (a sign of a rental neighborhood), are there a lot of for rent signs in the area, are the cops padding someone down around the corner, are there kids playing in the street, are there a lot of abandoned/vacant/boarded up houses, is there pride of ownership, would you live there??yes, no, why?…and on and on.

Also talk to the neighbors. Ask them how long that house has been vacant, what do they think of the neighborhood, are they owners or renters, what is the typical rent in the neighborhood, is it safe, etc.

I have learned about the neighborhood drug dealer, the guys that tried to steal my water meter, deals that have fallen through and lots more by talking to the neighbors.

If your area is near your house or where you work you could easily drive through 1-3 houses every afternoon after work. I know I did, and that allowed me to look at 10-20 houses per week. After 2-3 months of doing this I found House #1 which turned out to be a great deal, so I can tell you this works!

Set Up Email Alerts

To find foreclosures this works like a charm. You can do this on your own on any of the above websites or through a real estate agent.

Now that you have an area and criteria go ahead and set up and alert so that any new properties that come up fitting your criteria are emailed to you. You can also find out about price changes and properties sold this way.

Spending 5-10 minutes every morning doing this is a good way to get leads and find out what is happening in that area. This is how I found out back with House Flip #2 that the area was going down the drain quickly and I needed to get rid of that house quick Smiley Faces

If you want to find foreclosure properties that would make good investments all you need is persistence and a bit of ingenuity. The more houses you look at the more you will start learning an area and what makes a good investment. Over time this will grow your confidence to invest in real estate.

Next up is how I figure out if House #7 is a good deal or not…

Please check back soon for the follow-up posts on How to Find Foreclosures or subscribe to my blog and RSS feed so you get the updates when they are posted. You can also receive new content through email.

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