Home Buying & Selling 5 Steps for Building Your First Foreclosure List

5 Steps for Building Your First Foreclosure List

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Now that you’ve found the right property to bid on, are you keen on your next auction? Don’t get too excited. The house you want to buy may not be auctioned, even if it is already for sale.

After participating in the first few auctions, I noticed that many of the homes planned for sale (including some homes planned for purchase) were not mentioned. On the day of the auction, we often saw a small list of potential properties just because we knew we couldn’t bid on one property.

Over time, we’ve found that only about 20 percent of properties set up for auction are actually auctioned on time. This is due to the fact that the sale of foreclosures can be delayed or canceled for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Homeowner paid unpaid amount
  • The bank has decided to give homeowners more time for either payment or home sale
  • The owner has filed for bankruptcy
  • The owner has filed a proceeding to delay or cancel the foreclosure
  • House sold before auction

And when it comes to buying real estate at auction, that’s not the only challenge. Of the homes that sell on schedule, less than 50 percent go to what we consider to be an acceptable price.

As a result, these days, without a huge list of potential properties, you won’t be auctioned. If you are planning to buy real estate at auction, my advice is to first create a large and well-studied list of foreclosures.

It may seem like extra work, but it’s often the difference between getting a lot and leaving empty-handed.Besides, it doesn’t take long to create a proper list That A lot of work.

The following describes how to create your first foreclosure list in five simple steps.

Related: How to Buy Foreclosure: A Guide to Finding and Landing Foreclosure Transactions

Step 1: Find the county secretary’s website

Legal notices have been submitted to all homes scheduled for foreclosure and the notices will be recorded by the county secretary. In your state, titles can be slightly different, like county registrars and certificate registrars.

No matter what the officials are called, finding their website is the first step in building your list.

To find the county secretary’s website, simply search for the county on Google with the word “recorder”. This is usually all you need, but you can also call the county government office for information if needed.

Step 2: Search for foreclosure notifications

Once you find the county secretary’s website, the next step is to start looking for foreclosure notices.

Most states post these notices online. However, if online foreclosure notices are not available in your county, you will need to go directly to the county clerk’s office. This isn’t very convenient, but the extra work required can mean less competition coming on the day of the auction.

Assuming you can search the document from the county secretary’s website, you can usually find the relevant foreclosure notice using one of the following search terms:

  • Notice of sale
  • Notice of trustee sale
  • Foreclosure notice

Please note that each county is different and these websites change regularly.Not all counties make things easy, but it’s everytime It is worth checking the foreclosure notice online first.

Once you find the notification, you should be able to click on it to view the details of the foreclosure document.

Related: Five biggest risks of buying foreclosures at auction

Step 3: Capture foreclosure notification data

Once you understand how to find the county foreclosure notice, start recording your data. The documents you find contain a lot of information, most of which you’ll want to keep handy later. The goal at this stage is to capture as much data as possible. You can always analyze and filter later.

Here is some of the information contained in the foreclosure notice:

  • Legal description of the property
  • Property address
  • Lender’s name
  • Loan document name / number
  • Scheduled sale date (auction)

To make your life easier when it’s time to analyze this data, I recommend putting it in a spreadsheet. The foreclosure notice does not contain all the required information and will be added to this spreadsheet later.

In fact, most notifications don’t even have a complete property address. And to get the other data you need, you need to dig a little deeper.

Related: Buy Foreclosures at Auction: How to Avoid Overpayments

A row of foreclosure houses on a real estate sign for sale in front of a house.

Step 4: Search and search county tax records

Unlike most foreclosure notices, the county’s tax records are complete when it comes to real estate address and owner data. This is public information and is available online in most counties.

So now the next step is to find the tax record for the property with the foreclosure notice. It may require some experimentation, but usually you can use the information added to the spreadsheet in the previous step to find the relevant record.

Once you find the tax record for a property in the list, you need to transfer that information to a spreadsheet. The following is an example of the data to capture.

  • Full address and legal description
  • Property tax status, including unpaid taxes
  • Year of construction
  • Evaluation information such as evaluation / market value
  • Square feet and number / types of rooms

Related: How to find foreclosure and pre-foreclosure list

Step 5: Search for real estate data sources

Once you have what you need from your county tax records, use a site such as Zillow to complete your spreadsheet.

There are many online sources of property data, so you can start with the database of your choice. However, keep in mind that some sites may provide more complete information than others when it comes to properties in the county.

For example, Redfin may be perfect for your county. Also, Zillow may be better. Experiment a bit and find the site that works best for you.

On most real estate data sites, you can find a wealth of additional information to add to your spreadsheet, such as:

  • Estimated value
  • Estimated rent
  • Square feet, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, etc.
  • Construction date
  • Neighborhood data such as school and community amenities
  • Interior / exterior photo
  • Machine and HVAC information
  • Price and tax history

At this point, it’s also a good idea to pull up each property on Google Maps to see the surrounding area. In some cases, you can also check lot splits to identify property boundaries. Use the “Share” feature of Google Maps to copy the link to the map. Add these links for each property to complete your spreadsheet.

After creating and filtering the foreclosure list, the next step is to perform a series of drive-by checks. Looking directly at the potential for foreclosure purchases provides important information that cannot be obtained otherwise.

Drive-by inspection is described in detail in the Bigger Pockets book. Bid to buy,that’s why Bigger Pockets Bookstore If you want to know more about the process we follow to find and buy foreclosures at auction.

And check out This Bigger Pockets article Written by my co-author Aaron Amcastegi.In it, he shares two experiences explaining why investors should do it. everytime Perform a drive-by inspection before bidding for foreclosure.

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