Want to Buy a Foreclosed Home? Try Google Maps or Zillow


"People continue to shift many of their daily activities online, which accounts for the growth in the online real estate category," said Bohutinsky. "What accounts for Zillow's growth is we appeal to a wide spectrum of people with any interest in homes. It's somewhat insulated against wild swings in real estate transactions."

Bohutinsky cautions that with the large number of foreclosed homes on the market, research through any of these websites requires caution.

"Often you can get a discount, but often a lot more work to fix up or sold as is," said Bohutinsky. "A foreclosed home is abandoned because owners walked away or a bank has kicked them out. So you obviously have to have a stomach for that. It's important to have a realtor who specializes in foreclosures."

Brian Lewis, an executive vice president of Halstead Property, said that while these websites offer invaluable information, none replaces the services of licensed real estate professionals.

"The Internet is good with presentation; I'm good with deep, contextual information," said Lewis. "Without a professional to offer you context in that information, you can be misguided."

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