Just don't do it! The vast majority of bank-owned homes are listed by local real estate agents. If you want to purchase a foreclosure, just pick up the phone and call a local agent.
A bank-owned home, or foreclosure, is also referred to as an REO. That stands for Real Estate Owned. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Why call it "OWNED" when it seems that those are the homes that are not owned? Well, they are owned--just by an institutional owner, and REAL ESTATE OWNED is an accounting term that simply categorizes the type of asset on the positive side of the ledger (the asset is real estate instead of cash or some other type of inventory).
Websites that force you to "pay to play" do not have more or better information than a real estate agent has. At best, they are charging you for a list you can get free; and at worst, they are looking for your personal information as part of a scam or pfishing operation. What you will get most often is a list that is grotesquely out of date or maybe even completely wrong. I try not to sigh audibly when I get phone calls on homes that were sold months ago. Almost 100% of the time, I find that the caller has paid for a list of foreclosures.
Websites that you might want to check on your own are www.homepath.com, www.homesteps.com, and www.bidselect.com. They are free sites. Homepath is the Fannie Mae website, and it has helpful information about the buying process as well as listings. Homesteps is the Freddie Mac website, and it also has listings and a wealth of information for home buyers. BidSelect showcases HUD owned homes, as well as others. The homes on all three of those websites, however, are listed with local real estate agents and should show up in the local MLS. In some locations, there may not be a local Fannie, Freddie, or HUD agent, however; and the "local" MLS may actually be some distance away. If that is the case, you can still find the name of a certified local agent on the Homepath, Homesteps, or BidSelect site. And if you really want to find an REO expert, contact one of the agents who also lists homes you find on those sites.
If you do find an REO home that you want to purchase, chances are you will need an agent to help you through the process. Why not have the help of that agent from the start? Most real estate commissions are paid by the seller (not YOU, the buyer), so the help of an agent will not increase your purchase price. Conversely, the purchase price will not be REDUCED if you try to go it alone, so don't go it alone. AND DON'T PAY for a list of houses. You can get that list free from a local agent.
Pick up the phone!
©2010 Liz Lockhart email@example.com (if you reblog, you must link back and leave copyright tag intact)