Q: I am trying to help my daughter look for a home to purchase. What is the best way to search foreclosures in that area? Should I sign up and give a credit card to one of the foreclosure sites such as RealtyTrac?
I have been a little afraid to do that, but it seems you have to go to a site like that in order to get addresses of properties in foreclosure.
A: As far as foreclosure search sites go, RealtyTrac is one of the best. You get very good information, statistics, and other details that are not commonly available on “free” foreclosure sites.
But the best thing you can do is to find a great real estate agent who can help your daughter search for a home the old fashioned way – on the ground. She will need more than just the address and information on other foreclosures in the area. She will need the agent’s advice, counsel and experience in navigating a foreclosure purchase.
Once you have the information on homes that are in foreclosure or are about to go into foreclosure from RealtyTrac or another similar site, you may be able to negotiate directly with those homeowners to buy the home.
Homeowner’s facing foreclosure may be willing to work with you in the sale of their homes. While they may still lose the home, the loss to a buyer on a short sale — that is a sale for less than what they owe the bank — may be better for them and good for your daughter. The homeowner avoids a full foreclosure and moves on. That homeowner may still take a hit on their credit score and credit history, but a foreclosure wounds a person’s credit score and history more so than a short sale.