The current economy has banks and other financial institutions taking a second – and sometimes a third look at loan applications. With the same token, many potential homeowners seem reluctant to take on the responsibility of a high mortgage payment. Though it is always a sad thing for property owners to loose their land, businesses, and often even their homes due to delinquent mortgages and unpaid taxes we see it happen everyday. What happens to these “distressed” properties? The government and financial institutions put them up for auction to the highest bidder. Some properties, especially those that have not drawn an abundance of attention, literally sell for next to nothing.
You often see commercials on television promising the public access to the “most up-to-date” foreclosure listings – for a nominal fee, of course. How many times have you listened to these commercials and wondered if they were for real? Yes, they are, but why would you pay for listings that are matters of public record and can be obtained for free? Finding these listings yourself may take a little more effort on your part, but will definitely pay off in the long run. The money you save will only make for a better deal on your new property.
When dealing with properties under distress due to tax liens you can begin as easily as making a phone call to your local tax office. Each municipality will have their own guidelines regarding access to these listings. Some may require you to visit the office in person while others property listings over the telephone or by fax. Many agencies now have websites that provide easier access to interested parties without the hassle of fielding phone calls. Be aware of the fact that property owners have the right to satisfy their debt right up to time of auction. Taxes can also be paid up to one year after the sale giving the owner the opportunity to reclaim property in the event that they obtain the means to cover the arrears.
Keep in mind that liens may be placed on property by other government agencies. Property seized in drug raids and other illegal activities could end up on the auction block as well. Agencies on local, state, and/or federal levels have the authority to assess liens. As in the case of tax debts, many of these other government listings can be found on the internet. Many agencies now utilize the services of websites such as www.govdeals.com to display their property listings on everything from old office furniture to vehicles seized in drug busts to real property. These websites not only allow agencies to display their listings to a wider audience, but give potential buyers access to a larger database of listings as well.
When considering property listings under foreclosure by financial institutions your best start may come from investing a few quarters in a local newspaper. Public notices will give you all the information you need on a foreclosure. You can find property descriptions and contact information on listings held by many different institutions all in the same place. Like government listings, bank listings are public record. Many times debts are actually satisfied prior to property actually going up for auction. On line classified ads such as those found at www.marketplacenwpa.com will allow you to view listings all around the Northwest Georgia-Northeast Alabama area.
Many lenders maintain their own website listing foreclosures. Government agencies, such as HUD, as well as private banks often publish full, real time listings on the web. One of the most important pieces of advice offered to individuals considering the purchase of foreclosed property is “Do your homework!” Whether you begin with a phone call to your local tax office or a property search at www.hud.gov/homes, be realistic. It never hurts to always keep in mind that “distressed properties” are just that. Some may not be in perfect condition and many will require the buyer at least some work before being “usable” property.