It’s been a while since the global financial crisis, and we’re still feeling the effects. A lot of people bought new TVs, new cars, holidays, things they couldn’t really afford. Some people even bought houses which were beyond their means.
Consequently, a lot of those items have been recalled by banks and governments, but the questions is this: what is going to happen to all those reclaimed properties? The answer the banks have come up with: sell them.
This might sound obvious to some, but a lot of people don’t know what’s on offer in the wider housing market throughout the US (and abroad).These reclaimed, or foreclosed, properties are making no money just sitting empty, so often you can get a great deal if you want to buy one.
Many of the foreclosure listings websites we’ve reviewed claim that you can save between 20% and 50% when buying a foreclosed property, compared with its previous retail value. Some of the properties will be good projects for people who enjoy fixing up a building, whilst others are pretty much set up to move in right away.
There may be slightly different laws regarding foreclosure sales, which we won’t go into (you can find information online or ask an estates lawyer), and these sites can offer different tools and opportunities, depending on what you’re looking for. Either way, if you’re looking for a quick sale or a bargain home purchase, foreclosure websites are just the ticket.
Before you dash off in search of your ideal home, we have a few things for you to bear in mind as you read our reviews and visit the sites. Take a minute to read through our advice, which explains the advantages and pitfalls you might encounter, and how to make the most of our reviews.
- Foreclosure listings
The more properties that are available to find through a website, the more likely you will be to find one which suits you. So, we take into account the total number of properties available. However, some sites are more up to date than others, and some are particularly good at making sure their properties are removed once sold.
It’s also useful to know as much about a property as you can, before putting in an offer. The best sites will be up to date, whilst also providing plenty of detailed information on each property. Photos also add another detail, as so much can depend on how a property appears.
Therefore we consider myriad factors when examining and assessing a site’s foreclosure listings. That isn’t to say, however, that you won’t find your ideal property on a site with a smaller database.
- Searching tools
Since there are often millions of properties to explore, it is important that you can find what you’re looking for easily. The best sites will provide a comprehensive search engine, allowing you to specify what you’re looking for.
If price is a major factor in your purchase, you will want to find a website which allows you to provide a price range in your search. Similarly, if you have a large or growing family, you’ll want to find a website which allows you to specify how many bedrooms you want.
Also consider whether or not you can filter your searches, build a list of your favorite properties or remove properties from search results. If you are regularly looking through millions of homes, it’s easy to forget which you’ve already viewed and which are yet to be considered.
There’s a surprising variety of features available through foreclosure listing websites. Whether you need financial calculators to find out what your mortgage payments might be, a free credit check, links to solicitors or tools to analyze market trends, there’s plenty to choose from.
Some of the more feature-heavy websites offer tools which allow you to view the housing market more generally, over time, helping you to decide when the right time to buy or sell might be. When we’re talking big numbers (and they usually don’t come much bigger than property sales), it’s important to get these things right.
- Ease of use / navigation
With so much important information on a number of foreclosure sites, it’s important that you feel comfortable moving around them. We recommend trying a few out, particularly if they offer free trial periods.
Sites which offer a personal dashboard, forums and an inbox might be useful for sending and receiving communications between owners and lawyers, so have a think about whether or not a site will help your ride be a little easier.
- Ease of joining / registration
It’s important to make sure you know what you’re signing up for with Foreclosure Listings Websites. Free trials often require you to input your credit card details, and you may be charged if you don’t cancel before the end of the trial. Usually, registering is hassle-free, but there are occasions where previous customers have complained about receiving bills or not being able to log in to their accounts properly.
Find out what we have to say about these issues in the Editor’s Verdicts, which are provided on each review.
- Customer support
Additional information regarding legal issues, where to find help, and online support, can be incredibly important on sites such as these. There’s a reason lawyers make so much money, and that is because they have an intimate knowledge of their field of law. Property law is no different, so tread carefully. If you like the look of a property, you will probably want to seek legal advice. In any situation, additional online information is going to be of use. Websites which score highly for Customer Support, in this category, often provide instructional videos, training and detailed guides to help you through each stage of the process. If you think you would benefit from this kind of information and support, seek out a website which offers guidance and links to professions within the industry.
- Value for money
Buying a house isn’t cheap, so we don’t think it’s always a good idea to scrimp on finding the home which is right for you. For the sake of a few dollars a month, it’s probably preferable to find a legitimate site which provides plenty of detailed information, a simple but effective system, and the range of properties which will offer you the most choice.
That said, prices do vary depending on the kind of membership you go for, and you can find websites which will offer free listings. However, sometimes paying a little more will result in a better payoff in the long run.
So, that’s pretty much all the advice we have for now. There’s so much on offer, and great property bargains to be found on foreclosed property websites. Read a few of our reviews to discover which of the sites might benefit you the most, and here’s hoping you soon find a happy home!