An investor can obtain rental or income properties at a fraction of the value by buying a foreclosed home. Foreclosure records are available to the public. The most popular source for these records is the clerk of courts. The other is the financial institutions themselves. Many places offer lists of foreclosed homes, but these companies often charge a fee to view the listing. The information they provide is free if a person knows where to look.
Contact the county sheriff office for a listing of upcoming sales. The sales will list all foreclosed homes as well as properties with tax liens in place. The list will have details of the property, such as address and appraised value. More information about the property can be found at the county auditor's office.
Review the listings that are available from the Internal Revenue Service. These listings are properties taken for federal taxes owed to the IRS. The information listed includes the address so the local auditor's office can be accessed to provide the public records of the foreclosed homes.
Search Housing and Urban Development properties. HUD homes are available to the general public. Buyers should contact a local real estate agent to schedule a showing to determine the condition of the foreclosed home.
Review Fannie Mae homes listed for sale. The Fannie Mae website offers home listings from all over the country. These homes are sold in "as is" condition. The buyer should inspect the foreclosed home before making an offer.
Contact local banks to determine who handles the REO (real estate owned) homes they offer for sale. Some banks will deal directly with buyers, while other financial institutions list their properties with local real estate brokers.
Review the foreclosure laws instituted by each locality. Some principalities and local governments allow the home owner up to one year to recover their home. Investing in home covered by these foreclosure laws is a risk.
Review the neighborhood to determine whether a foreclosed home is a good investment. Empty buildings and closed businesses show a decline in the economy. Property values will tend to go down. New road work and construction shows a growing economy. Real estate values will be on the increase.
Buying a foreclosed home is a "buyer beware" market. The buyer has the right to have an inspection done prior to the sale, and should exercise this right.