How to Find Foreclosed Homes at Auctions: Get Ready to Buy!

If you're thinking about buying a foreclosed home at auction, it's important to do your research. Here's everything you need to know about how foreclosure auctions work.

How to Find Foreclosed Homes at Auctions: Get Ready to Buy! Close
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How to Find Foreclosed Homes at Auctions: Get Ready to Buy!

Posted by Gary Ashton on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023 at 10:58am.

Tips For Finding and Preparing For Foreclosure Auctions

Foreclosure auctions provide a way for homebuyers or real estate investors to bid on foreclosed properties in an attempt to purchase them. These are properties that lenders repossess when owners default on mortgage loans. Lenders put these homes up for auction in order to sell them. Sales on these homes help lenders get back some of the money they were owed on the defaulted mortgage. For homebuyers and investors, purchasing a foreclosed property might offer certain advantages, such as less competition for homes and lower purchase prices. However, buyers and investors need to know what to expect from these real estate auctions and how to prepare for them.

How to Find Foreclosure Auctions

Where can homebuyers and investors find these kinds of auctions? Laws in many areas require these auctions to be listed, so finding information on them is relatively straightforward. Homebuyers and investors can search county or city records to gather information on upcoming foreclosure auctions. Local newspapers might also have details on these auctions.

Websites specializing in public auctions can also provide information on foreclosure auctions in different areas. Investors and homebuyers can browse these sites to learn more about upcoming auctions and get more details on these properties. Some real estate websites might also list information on auctions for foreclosed properties.

Another way to find foreclosure auctions involves working with real estate agents with experience in foreclosure purchases. These agents can let clients know about auctions that are coming up or look into specific foreclosed properties to see if an auction has been scheduled yet.

Homebuyers and investors sometimes notice properties that look like they might be in foreclosure. For example, the property might seem abandoned or empty. Buyers and investors can check public records to see whether or not these properties are in foreclosure and if there is an upcoming auction.

Research the Homes

Research the Foreclosed Homes

Purchasing a home at a foreclosure auction differs considerably from a traditional home purchase. Homebuyers and investors typically can see properties in person and have inspections done as part of a conventional home purchase. This helps them learn more about the property's condition so they know what to expect in terms of needed upgrades or repairs. Traditional home purchases usually include an appraisal to determine the home's value.

Those planning to purchase a property at a foreclosure auction cannot tour the home in person or have inspections done beforehand, even though home inspections can protect a buyer's interests. They also can't do appraisals on these properties to see what they're worth. This makes researching homes a vital step when preparing for a foreclosure auction. Homebuyers and investors might be able to get some details about a home's condition from foreclosure listings. These listings or those from past sales on the house might offer details on the interior, such as square footage and the number of bedrooms.

Homebuyers and investors can drive over and look at the exterior of foreclosed homes from the street. This can help them determine if the roof and other exterior features are in good condition.

Register for the Auction

Homebuyers and investors who want to bid on foreclosed homes must register for each auction. The registration process guarantees that a buyer or investor who wins a bid will complete the property purchase. What does the registration process involve? This simple process requires buyers or investors to provide credit card information. Auction companies might place a certain amount of money on hold. Since this can vary from one auction company to the next, buyers and investors should determine how much will be placed on hold before registering.

Auction companies will also ensure buyers and investors qualify to participate in the foreclosure auction. This involves ensuring that they have the funding needed to close on a transaction if they make the winning bid. In most cases, these transactions are all-cash. The winner must pay in cash or with a cashier's check within a specific timeframe. These funds can come directly from a buyer, investor, or lender. Keep in mind that the timetable for completing the purchase is typically short.

Bid on and Pay for the Home

Homebuyers and investors can bid on properties they're interested in during foreclosure auctions. Reserve auctions require a minimum bid, while absolute auctions do not. Many foreclosure auctions are reserve auctions, which help lenders make up for property losses. Those who get the winning bid should note that they might not get the title on the spot. Instead, they'll need to follow specific steps after the auction.

Homebuyers and investors who win a bid on a foreclosed property must pay the total amount within a specific time period. Sometimes, this full amount is due immediately or within one day. This is why it's essential to have the full funding available before going to the auction. Those who make the winning bid should also obtain title insurance. This insurance offers protection if there are liens or other claims on the home. Obtaining the certificate of title is another step after winning a foreclosure bid. This can take roughly ten days. Homebuyers and investors legally own the purchased home once they have the title.

Prepare for Foreclosure Auctions for Peace of Mind

Taking steps to prepare for foreclosure auctions can help homebuyers and investors feel more confident about this process. Foreclosure auctions come with a certain amount of risk, such as not knowing a home's value or condition. There can also be fierce competition for some properties, especially in certain areas. This makes it even more critical for buyers—whether they're looking for their first home or to purchase one of the common types of real estate investment—to be fully prepared and ready to complete the purchase if they have the winning bid.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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