You may remember that foreclosures were a big part of the Great Recession. As the economy cratered, foreclosure filings soared. In the first half of 2010 alone, 1.65 million U.S. homes spun into foreclosure, according to data from ATTOM Data Solutions, a property database provider.
10 years later, will the COVID-19 pandemic lead to a rash of foreclosures? That could spell a lot of hardship, but also an opportunity for investors to flip homes for profit as more American workers switch to full-time remote work, often in less-expensive cities and towns.
Ongoing efforts to ease the pandemic’s economic impact – including the CARES Act — have slowed the foreclosure process, particularly for properties where mortgages were federally backed. But that stay doesn’t apply to lenders or servicers of loans not backed by the government (though state laws may).
Buying and flipping foreclosed homes might be a path to consider if you are building a home-selling business.It follows the maxim of buy low, sell high: buy a foreclosed home on the cheap, make the needed improvements, and sell at or above the market value.
Nearly 11,700 American properties received a foreclosure filing – default notices, bank repossessions or scheduled auctions – in October, up 20% from September. The states with the highest foreclosure rates in October were South Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
Seeking foreclosure homes near you? Check with your county, town or city. They may have foreclosure websites or other means of listing local foreclosures. But there is a wide range of online resources for finding foreclosures, including most larger banks (we’ve listed a few):
Foreclosure listings – free sites
Equator.com. Equator offers free listings of homes in foreclosure alongside short sales, open-market listings, and properties available through the Hubzu auction process.
HomePath.com. Owned by the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae, HomePath.com offers free listings of thousands of homes in foreclosure being sold by Fannie Mae.
HomeSteps.com. This site is owned by Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac. It lists homes in foreclosure that Freddie Mac is selling to investors or potential home buyers.
Zillow Foreclosure Center. The popular website used by home sellers and buyers alike has its own search site for foreclosure listings. You can fashion your own method of searching, filtering by cost or location.
Realtor.com Foreclosures. Similarly, Realtor.com, also used by new-home seekers or sellers, can help you find foreclosures. You can focus your search using a zip code and/or city. And, while we’re on the subject of Realtors, you can also check with local real estate companies and their agents directly to search for foreclosed homes.
Wells Fargo REO Properties. Note that these properties are not sold directly by Wells Fargo. You must contact the listing agents or other contact associated with the property.
CitiMortage. This site lists properties or foreclosures that are owned by Citigroup. Potential buyers contact the listing agent associated with the property they are interested in.
Bank of America foreclosures. This site allows users to search for real estate owned or bank owned foreclosed properties, by zip code or other methods.
Foreclosure listings – subscription sites
RealtyTrac. There’s a free 7-day trial; after that, it’s $49.95 a month, with discounts on multi-month packages. Members get access to RealtyTrac’s proprietary information, including auctions dates and locations, pre-foreclosure addresses, owner information, bank loan amounts and more.
Foreclosure.com. After the free 7-day trial, it’s $39.80 per month. Subscribers receive detailed information on the listed properties, tax roll data, files provided by the lender, local school districts and other listing details.
Foreclosure listings – government sites
HUD.gov. Potential investors and other home buyers can find one-to-four unit residential properties that the Department of Housing and Urban Development acquired from foreclosure actions on FHA-insured mortgages.
HomeSales.gov. Another federal government website for hunting down foreclosures is HomeSales.gov. These, of course, are previously owned single-family homes that landed in the federal government’s hands by public auction or other method. Purchasers must work with a real estate agent, broker or servicing representative to submit an offer or bid, according to the website.
FHA Single Family Real Estate Owned Properties. This site is for the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development and includes real estate owned properties. These single family homes land on the site when the Federal Housing Administration pays a claim to a bank or other lending institution on a foreclosed property that was originally financed with an FHA insured mortgage.
USDA-RD/FSA Properties. The United State Department of Agriculture-Rural Development and the USDA-Farm Service Agency list properties on this website. Here, you’ll find a small number of single- and multi-family homes, farms, and ranches. Buyers must work with a real estate agent or broker to put in a bid, which means there will be a commission to pay.
IRS Seizures. This Internal Revenue Service website is a portal to finding homes and other property seized by the tax agency for nonpayment of federal taxes.