Month: November 2007
The foreclosure market continues to boom as no relief appears in sight for stretched holders. As the economy shows more signs of a slowdown, this trend is likely to continue.
Although the real estate industry would prefer otherwise, foreclosures continue to make headlines. The latest data showed superficial relief, with September foreclosures down 8% from some 243,000 in August, but still more than double last year — and still with more to come.
It may be a harsh analogy, but I often think of foreclosure buyers as the forest-floor ants consuming the dead wood to clean the forest.
|More From MarketWatch.com:• Video: Home Building Woes Spell More Trouble|
That means three things. First, as I see it, the sooner we get through this credit mess, the better. Second, the faster properties get through theprocess and find buyers, the sooner we’ll get through the mess. So third, foreclosure buyers clean out the dead wood (I like) and get great bargains in the process (I also like).
I can save how much?
My recent column broadly covers the discount you can expect from if you buy a foreclosure. It varies by region, but using information published by real estate portal and foreclosure specialists RealtyTrac, I saw discounts ranging from 15% in to 40% in , with 20% and 25% being a rule of thumb.
Not bad. So then the next question, incidentally raised by several readers, is “how do I find those bargains in my area?”
To locate specific foreclosures in your area, RealtyTrac is a good place to start. The site lists foreclosures by ZIP code and foreclosure stage, ranging from preforeclosure property to bank-owned real estate. It’s a broad and fairly deep picture of foreclosure availability in your area.
Some have found RealtyTrac less than precise, as the task of keeping up with foreclosure listing activity across the company is large, to say the least. And to get specific information on the property, RealtyTrac requires a $49.95/month subscription after a seven-day free trial.
But realize that RealtyTrac sits behind other real estate sites, so sooner or later you’ll probably run into RealtyTrac. If you’re serious about foreclosure shopping, you might want to sign up.
If you aren’t ready to make the financial commitment or “come out of the closet” as a registered foreclosure buyer, there are several other paths which work surprisingly well:
Bank sales. To their chagrin, banks and financial institutions are going into the real estate business in a big way. Too bad for them, but you can find a lot of bargains on their Web sites:, Countrywide and U. S. Bank have good listings, to name a few. Countrywide, for example, has 300 listings in alone priced under $170,000.
Agency sales. Banks sell their “REO” (Real Estate Owned) but often hire agencies to do the job. Such agencies include Keystone, Lenders Asset Management Corporation and HomeEq Servicing. Some of these agencies may operate bank sites, so you may see a similarity.
Government and government-backed lender sales. Government agencies ranging fromand VA to HUD and the Department of Justice sell real estate, visible through a single portal. And government-backed also operate sites. The variety of properties available is, shall we say, wide, but in particular lists a lot of solid mainstream real estate values.
Auctions and auction houses. Local and regional auctions are becoming bigger as banks and others pile up inventory. A real estate auction specialist will announce an auction of dozens, maybe hundreds of properties in a large region or metro area. Auctioneers include Real Estate Disposal Corporation (REDC) and Williams & Williams. Experience helps in playing this game, although the auctioneer sites walk you through the process.
Local real estate specialists. A lot of agents know about action in a particular area and can hook you up with the sellers. Good agents have their eyes and ears to the ground at all times, and get tips and hear about stuff coming on the market. You can often“foreclosures (area)” to get local listings.
Don’t forget: reward comes with risk
Remember that, while foreclosure properties often sell at a healthy discount, you may run into poorly maintained properties. There may be other foreclosures in the immediate area, hurting the quality and value of your investment. Double check other adjacent listings and visit the area if you can.
Remember: Good value investors buy assets at the right time in the right place at the right price. Real estate is no different.
You can print pictures online for 4 inch x 6 inch print from 10 cents onwards. However when you need to have passport photos, you have to pay 10dollars for 2 passport pictures at CVS, Kinko’s or at local 1hour studio! I hated when I had to pay that kind of money at costco and the picture they took wasn’t great either. I hated my bad face on my passport.
Now there is a way for you to save money on passport photos. You can have 5 passport photos for 5 dollars mailed at your doorstep. Also you can choose your picture!
Take a look at online passport photo deals .