Tips on Finding Free Foreclosure Listings

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Unfortunately, in today’s economy, dozens of homes are going into foreclosure everyday. As a result, there is a lot of interest in finding foreclosure records. If you go online and Google “foreclosures” there are dozens of sites claiming to provide free foreclose listings but which actually charge a fee for their service. You may wish to use a paid for service to locate foreclosure listings, but there are other methods to find foreclosed properties for free.

There are two different types of foreclosures: tax lien foreclosures and mortgage foreclosures. In mortgage foreclosures, a homeowner is unable to make principle or interest payments on their mortgage, and the lender seizes the property and sells it. Also, a mortgage foreclosure can occur as a judicial foreclosure or as a non-judicial foreclosure. Non-judicial foreclosures are typically conducted out of court by a private trustee of the lender. The trustee is required by law to provide the homeowner notice of the default and is also required to advertise the sale of the foreclosed property. However, it is difficult to find listings of these types of foreclosures without paying a fee, because the proceeding is conducted by a private party. Conversely, because judicial foreclosures are conducted through a court proceeding, the foreclosure listings can be found on most county websites. For example, in Alachua County in Florida, foreclosure listings are managed by the Clerk of the Court who provides a full list online.

Information regarding tax lien foreclosures is also managed by the county in which the property is located. Tax lien foreclosures occur when a homeowner is delinquent on their home taxes so the county sells the home. In most counties across the U.S., property sales through tax lien foreclosures only occur one month per year. In King County, Washington, the sale occurs in December. In El Paso County in Colorado, tax lien sales are held in October. Check with the Treasurer’s Department of the specific county to determine exactly when the tax lien foreclosure sale begins. The counties will generally provide a list of properties in foreclosure at least 6 months prior to the sale. For tax lien foreclosures, the homeowner has up until the day of the sale to pay off their debt, so the list may change frequently.ï ¿ ½

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