Finding Foreclosures for Free Online

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 11, 2008

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I can remember during the last great real estate bust in the early 90s, I went to a real estate expo at an arena in New Jersey. Banks had set up booths were they were trying to sell their foreclosed properties. Publishing companies sold big books of bank-owned property listings for hundreds of dollars. They were out of date as soon as they were printed. The Internet has changed all that.

Check out this site. It was created by a Boston-area programmer who wants to remain anonymous. You can use it to find foreclosed properties, what banks and mortgage companies call their REO or real estate owned. It links to the Web sites of eleven big lenders. And it’s free, unlike some other sites that sell subscriptions so you can search for foreclosure listings.

The numbers are staggering. Countrywide has taken back 15,500 properties, with current asking prices of $3.1 billion.

Scouring these lists isn’t a total breeze. Although you can quickly narrow your search down to a particular state at Countrywide’s site, you still have to scroll through pages and pages of listings until you find the particular city you are interested in. Also, there are no pictures of the properties or links to where they are on maps. Sites at other lenders vary. At Citibank you can search by city, but there are also no pictures. Bank of America and IndyMac have pictures.

Of course once you find a property you still have to negotiate a price with the bank. The creator of this REO site says he bought a bank owned property in suburban Boston last year for about 25% less than what the previous owner had paid. If you’ve got a story about purchasing or trying to purchase bank-owned property, shoot us an email. Maybe we can all learn something.

Reader Comments

Smart Analyst

March 12, 2008 3:24 PM

I checked most of the foreclosures listed in my area and they're all in micro-crap areas. i.e. No wonder they're falling in value, they should've never have gone up in the first place. I think there will be a story some time in the future about how valuations are starting to fluctuate more wildly by the foot as people become more discriminating about the quality of the residence and where it's located. All of the listings I looked at are located right next to a very busy freeway, an area we avoided in picking our place. Our value has gone up approx 10% since sept. 07.

Ron Bowen

March 12, 2008 11:20 PM

I found two more very useful site with lots of REO information and links to the different REO listing sites including the bank's REO sites:
http://allforeclosures.googlepages.com/lenderwebsites &
http://allbankownedproperties.com/

mike plunkett

March 13, 2008 9:55 AM

I am an associate broker in Atlanta, Georgia. Presently trying to get listings on reo property from various lenders. Mainly controlled by Remax, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, with some getting 100+listings. Not sure what is going on here, unless some are doing discounts on the listing side to get all these or maybe a superstar, who also sells igloos to eskimos. Stay in touch, like to hear what investors are buying for in other cities. Some of the greatest fortunes are earned in down markets. Remember the RTC and S & L meltdown of early 90's?

Larry McGee

March 14, 2008 8:19 PM

3 bed rooms 2 baths 1500sf

flipper-gone-wild

March 18, 2008 12:32 AM

I'm buying everything in sight b/c real estate prices always goes up; God aint making anymore of the stuff, just like gold, oil, platinium, silver. It's location, location, and location. Get a lower adjustable rate interest, and just sit back and tomorrow you'll be a millionaire, and that's the truth. Just ask any editors of BusinessWeeks to see if they would agree with my assessemnt.

My American Dream

March 22, 2009 12:04 AM

I'm jumping on bandwagon with Flipper-Gone-Wild. Plannning on def checking urls for foreclosures. Good time for those who have some cash and can take advantage of low rates. Wish me luck! Off to find some R/E.

Jacob Vern

October 17, 2009 6:22 PM

In my experience most of these free online foreclosure listings contain out dated information, you need to go with a higher quality listing service.

I found a good site that reviewed the top 3 foreclosure sites:

http://freeonlineforeclosurelistings.com/

If you don't want to pay for a membership, just sign up for a free trial, it gives you full access for free.

Janell C

November 26, 2009 8:57 PM

Looking for a foreclosed properties in the Gretna, Louisiana area. Can you really send me a FREE list?

Janell

Lady Luck

March 5, 2010 1:16 PM

OKAY WELL I WENT ON A FORECLOSURE WEBSITE CALLED ZILLOW.COM AND SAW HOMES SELLING FOR 1,OOO$ AND UP BUT I DONT BEKIEVE IT,I THINK THEIR ALL FAKE OR OLD LISTINGS SO IF ANYONE KNOWS A REAL GOOD UP TO DATE SITE TO SEARCH FORECLOSED HOMES THEN GET BACK AT ME :)

Lady Luck

March 5, 2010 1:18 PM

OKAY WELL I WENT ON A FORECLOSURE WEBSITE CALLED ZILLOW.COM AND SAW HOMES SELLING FOR 1,OOO$ AND UP BUT I DONT BELIEVE IT,I THINK THEIR ALL FAKE OR OLD LISTINGS SO IF ANYONE KNOWS A REAL GOOD UP TO DATE SITE TO SEARCH FORECLOSED HOMES THEN GET BACK AT ME :)

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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