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Free Home Foreclosure Lists: Why You Really Don’t Have Pay for This Information

Updated on February 11, 2010

Free home foreclosure lists are available – if you know where to look for them and take the time to do so. So, why are so many companies all over the internet selling this information? Well, because every time theres’ a “hot” trend on/about anything, there will be businesses that start to capitalize. This is a good thing; it’s what makes American capitalism work. The foreclosure crisis is no different.

Since the home foreclosure crisis started in the fall of 2007, many companies have cropped up selling information in/on/about this industry. And one of the most popular items sold are lists of home foreclosures that are usually broken down by jurisdiction.

Here we’ll discuss where to find free home foreclosure lists, and what to look for if you do decide to purchase such a list.

3 Places to Find Free Home Foreclosure Lists

Many small-time entrepreneurs who would benefit from such lists, like foreclosure cleaning company owners, don’t need to purchase them because the information can be found online for free, with a little digging. Following are three such places.

I. The REO Department of Banks

What is the REO department of banks? REO is the acronym for “real estate owned”. This is what banks call the foreclosed properties on their books (they don’t like to use the unsettling term “foreclosure;” so they call foreclosures REOs – go figure!).

At any rate, banks keep records of all these properties. However, it is not something they advertise. After all, they’re in the busy of lending money, not buying and selling real estate. By contacting the REO departments of banks though, you can ask for the list and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Now, getting through to this department and getting someone to get back in touch with you will take some doing. Why? Because there’s high turnover and these departments. Also, these days at the rate banks are being bought, sold and going out of business, it’s a little tougher.

Just know that free home foreclosure lists are available from banks themselves. Sometimes, you can even check a bank’s website and luck up on some listings.

II. Your Neighborhood Realtors

Via the internet, many realtors receive daily, weekly and/or monthly listings of all foreclosed properties in their areas. You see, banks like to sell foreclosed homes as quickly as possible. So they pass these lists along to realtors, who, of course are the direct link to buyers.

So if you’re an investor looking to pick up a few properties, or a foreclosure cleaning business looking to service these properties for local realtors, ask them for the lists. Most will be happy to pass the information along to you simply because you can help them out – either by buying them, or helping them to maintain them.

III. The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

HUD (online at http://HUD.gov) is the largest single seller of real estate in the United States. As such, it tends to have the most up to date, free home foreclosure lists. They receive these from many sources, eg, realtors, banks, mortgage companies and federal agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If you’re a “big time” player in real estate (eg, an investor) and you want access to a lot of properties, HUD is an excellent source to tap to get free home foreclosure lists.

Remember, free home foreclosure lists are readily available because real estate transactions are a matter of public record. However, if you choose to pay for such a list, keep the following in mind . . .

When Foregoing Free Home Foreclosure Lists Remember This . . .

Purchase from reputable sources, eg, RealtyTrac.com. There are many fly-by-night operators out there selling foreclosure lists and other foreclosure-related information. Check their credentials, eg, is their website professional, are they in the business they’re selling the information on, is there a description of exactly what you’re purchasing.

When buying any type of information online – especially information that is readily available for free if you just put some elbow grease into finding it – be very careful. Many times, it’s the same information you can find yourself.

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