March 4, 2011 -- If you're interested in trying to save money by buying a foreclosed home, half the battle is finding the listings. Oh, they're out there. Roughly a quarter of the homes on the market right now are bank-owned. But quick online searches reveal lots of questionable companies posting old listings or charging big bucks for them.
Here are some legitimate options:
Look in the legal notices pages of your local paper to spot legitimate auctioneers advertising courthouse steps auctions in your area. (Do it this way to avoid fake auctioneers and auctions.) Then check those auctioneers' websites for listings.
Some banks list their inventory of properties on their websites. One way to find these lists is to search the name of the bank and the term "REO," which stands for "Real Estate Owned" and means bank-owned.
The real estate website Zillow.com lists properties for sale and lets you filter your home search to look just for foreclosure properties.
Sometimes, after a bank has already bought properties back on the courthouse steps, it will hold another auction to try to move several properties at once. It's just another way of marketing a property. Three of the biggest auction companies that do these bank-owned property auctions are:
Hire a buyer's agent who specializes -- or at least has experience -- in foreclosed homes. They will know how to target the bank-owned properties that are posted on the Multiple Listing Service.
RealtyTrac.com is a foreclosure education and listing service. The site offers a one-week free trial, then it's by subscription.
Click HERE for more advice on buying foreclosed homes.
Click HERE for a list of the 10 states with the deepest discounts on foreclosed homes.