The surge in foreclosures in the country is all the news. I lost count of the number of internet sites that offer subscriptions for foreclosure lists. Paying for free information seems like one more way to lose money in the subprime meltdown. Registering at some of those sites involve paying for a subscription for the information or being swamped with unwanted SPAM.
I found a free site that has many of the foreclosures listed. It may be time consuming to search all the lists and it becomes obvious that not all the foreclosure sites on this page are created equally.
You still need a professional local realtor and to do your homework. Due diligence requires property inspections. If you are a competent professional you can do this yourself otherwise hiring a building inspector is highly recommended. It requires trips to the courthouse for property descriptions, information regarding liens on record, information regarding zoning violations, and of the condition of the property.
From HUD: The best site in my opinion. This site has the best search features. The information is more comprehensive regarding the property and additional program information. Pay careful attention to the property condition report. It may be out date depending on vandalism to the property, but at least it was inspected. It provides a photograph of the outside of the property, driving directions to the property, and information on the lot size.
From the Department of Veterans Affairs: This site has the fewest listings. I personally believe that the VA Loans had the highest standards to qualify for financing, both in terms of property condition and financial qualifications of the borrower. The veterans receiving the loans were more responsible. Most of the properties have pictures of the outside. The information on the property is limited. Most of the codes are excessive to reduce liability of the manager or seller.
In the related sites, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are self-limiting and frustrating. The volume of foreclosures has gotten so high that it exceeds the site capability. Too many listings have no information beyond the address. Photographs are missing and descriptions are inaccurate. Those two sites make me wonder how they sell any of their foreclosed properties.
If you are looking for pre-foreclosure or short sales, try contact a realtor in the area your are interested. The properties listed at This website will not be identified as distressed sales. By contacting a local realtor, information on additional foreclosures may be available or other properties may be identified as being a better value for the area for a multitude of reasons.