How to Find Out if a Home is in Foreclosure

You can find out whether a home is slipping into foreclosure long before the auction signs go up.

You can try several routes to find out whether a home is in foreclosure. Whether you're renting a home and don't want to be surprised by a notice posted on your door stating that you and your family must move out immediately, or if you're just interested in purchasing a neighbor's home that may possibly be in foreclosure, the information you need is not far away or difficult to obtain. You can often ask a neighbor, do online research and consult with real estate professionals.

Speak With the Owner

Ask the owner if his or her house is in foreclosure. This, obviously, is the simplest route to get your answer. If the owner says yes, ask if there is a sale date yet. The foreclosure process time period varies depending on the state.

However, you must be careful when you purchase homes in foreclosure. They carry a lot of risks, especially if you don't know how to search for unrecorded liens and other hidden liabilities that the owner may fail to tell you about.

Finding Property Information

Go to the county website where the home is located. Notice of Defaults are public information. Everyone has a right to access this information.

Search the county's website until you find public information for homes in foreclosure. In most counties, the assessor's office maintains such information. You can also call the county. Depending on the county, you may have to go down to the county courthouse in person for information about foreclosure properties.

Do Some Research

Research past local newspapers online or at the local public library for foreclosure public notices. This is the most laborious way to get the information you are after on a particular property, though, as these records are not typically indexed by address.

Keep in mind also that many people get their payments caught up and may be in foreclosure for while, but get over their financial hurdles and save their homes from foreclosure. This means that the published notice of foreclosure may not necessarily indicate that the home is still going through the foreclosure process, and the foreclosure could have been rescinded. Many times lenders extend the sale date of a foreclosed home if negotiations are underway with the borrower.

Search for Properties Online

Go to RealtyTrac.com to find homes in foreclosure. RealtyTrac.com has a foreclosure lookup by address for many areas; however, there are fees for the service ranging from $50 and higher per month. Keep in mind that their information may be not be available for a few days or more after the foreclosure process has started and could make it difficult to check foreclose status..

Consult Real Estate Professionals

If you know a title company representative, a mortgage broker or a real estate agent, you can get information about homes in foreclosure. You may be able to get a copy of the Notice of Default or Notice to Sell too. Most real estate professionals have easy access to foreclosure information through their multiple listing services or title company contacts.

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