Some buyers are in love with the idea of buying a foreclosed home.
They expect a bank owned home will come at a SERIOUS discount to normal market values.
Not that many years ago, foreclosures were abundant in our market. You could go bid against the bank at the weekly sheriff's sales.
Now the economy is much better there are fewer and fewer homes offered, and the frequency of sheriff's sales is more likely to be weeks apart.
But sheriff's sales aren't the only pond home buyers fish for foreclosures, and this is where the search can get a bit tricky.
There are websites that publish lists of foreclosure homes. Just enough information to tease you. A partial address, a picture or two or three, and a price. You want the missing information? You can have it, but it's going to cost you. You can pick the monthly plan or the annual plan, but to peek behind the curtain it's going to cost you.
And MAYBE the information is valid. Homes that HAVE been foreclosed and are currently offered for sale.
And MAYBE the information is from a different category, homes that have just started the foreclosure process. The initial court filing is in and the websites gather this data and advertise the homes as "foreclosures". But here's the thing, those houses aren't yet foreclosed. They're usually NOT for sale, so the tease from the website is strictly that, a tease.
Case in point, this morning a potential home buyer called based on one of those foreclosure websites. A partial address that included street name (but no number) and the town zip code. The pictures showed a barn, a pond, and a few shots of the exterior of the home. But to get the full details, you had to subscribe.
Now one of the skills of any good real estate agent is the ability to do some sleuthing. The buyer wanted more information. Was the house still available for sale?
Now the reality is most of these type inquiries are a wild goose chase. If the home is a preforeclosure, there's nothing to buy. If the home is going to a sheriff's sale, well there's not really any place in that for a real estate agent unless the buyer is willing to pay our commission out of pocket (remember who is looking for a discount????).
But just MAYBE it is a foreclosed home and is for sale and there's hope that I can actually do my job AND get paid. The odds are slightly better than hitting the Powerball :)
So I've got clues, and with a partial address I can search the local MLS for current or PAST matches. Perhaps the website is just badly out of date?
Nope, nothing there at all for years.
Now it's Saturday morning and I've got a little spare time and since I love a puzzle, I start digging deeper. A quick check of the sheriff's sale lists had no matches in recent years.
Off to Google maps and aerial shots. Let's find homes with a pond and a barn on State Route 123. Quite a few promising matches, but nothing blatantly screaming "I'm the house you seek!!".
Switch gears to the county auditor's site in one tab and Google Street View in another. After scouring every portion of the street for matches, nothing was a clear match
And logically, that should have been the end of it. But like I said, I love puzzles.
Since I had a lockbox to deliver in one location and a For Sale By Owner flyer to pick up at the local 55+ community, I altered my usual route and traveled the route that SHOULD have revealed the "foreclosed" home.
And I spotted a couple of homes that DID have red barns, so when I got back to the office I did some more digging. A check of the county clerk's online database had no history of the home's owners being involved in any phase of foreclosure.
Final decision? That website probably had old data from years ago. Perhaps a foreclosure started under a previous owner and suspended without ever being completed.
There's no fish in that pond.
Want to discuss further? We look forward to hearing from you!
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz