Real estate investing is really taking root here in America, especially now that there are thousands of foreclosed homes being auctioned off every month. Just about anyone can find homes for auction and set out to make a bid, but finding foreclosure listings can be a regular pain in the neck. It requires plenty of extra time, and these tips will help set you on your way.
As “research” for this article, I drove around my neighborhood and surrounding communities for about an hour. I’ve always enjoyed long, leisurely drives, but this time I had a purpose: to find as many foreclosure listings as possible. I didn’t need a newspaper or a laptop computer; I just needed my eyes. In Texas, the auction signs of foreclosed homes listed by the government are announced by large yellow signs with red or black writing. Bank-owned properties are identified in the same way.
After just sixty minutes of travel, I found 36 foreclosure signs in front of various properties. Granted, some of them wouldn’t be worth the land they’re sitting on, but I did manage to find a few nice-looking homes where the bidding was set to start at $5,000. Rather than relying on newspapers and Web sites to find foreclosure listings, drive around to find some of the best deals.
Surf the Internet
Web sites like Foreclosure Free Search and HUD.gov are great places to find foreclosure listings in your city. Although it might take some digging initially, you’ll eventually find the sites you like best, which might mean ease of search or quality of listings. The Web sites I find most helpful might not seem as great to someone else.
It’s also a good idea to visit the Web sites of your local newspapers, particularly those with wide circulation. Most of these will have local foreclosure listings in the Real Estate section, so keep an eye out for great deals. This will give you access to properties that have just become available rather than waiting for tomorrow’s paper to land on your doorstep.
Talk to Agents
Believe it or not, real estate agents can help you find foreclosure listings in your city, even if they don’t stand to make a commission from the sale. Some Realtor offices have free foreclosure e-mail newsletters that get sent out once a week and detail the properties that are newly available. You might wind up with more e-mail in your inbox, but it beats painstaking searches that always seem to turn up too few results.
Ask Your Neighbors
One of the best ways to find foreclosure listings in your city is to start a little word-of-mouth action. Let your neighbors, friends and colleagues know that you’re on the lookout for a nice investment home, and you’ll be surprised how many leads you generate. Now that they know you’re looking, your name will come to mind when they hear of a pending foreclosure in their area.
Real estate investing is not a part-time hobby for most people; in fact, it can easily become a full-time job, and you won’t make any money if you aren’t vigilant. Too many real estate “gurus” claim that real estate can translate into fast money. Except for very rare circumstances, it is an extremely difficult investment that requires plenty of time and energy. However, if you are persistent in your search for quality properties, you might have a large payday in your near future.