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The 4 Stages of Finding Foreclosure Properties

Aug 17, 2007
Every time you turn around, the word "foreclosure" is all over the news! So, if you're a homebuyer looking to buy a foreclosure property or an investor wanting to learn how to invest in foreclosure property, then you're timing couldn't be better!

There is a lot out there on foreclosures; from how to stop your own foreclosure to how to "get the deed". You could probably go to a different foreclosure seminar every other night for a month to learn the tips, tricks and tactics.

But... none of that matters unless you know how to FIND FORECLOSURES. It doesn't matter how you negotiate with homeowners, what you say to the banks, or what paperwork you need to have if you don't find the foreclosures first.

We define 4 marketing stages during which you can find foreclosures: "pre" pre-foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, foreclosure auction, bank owned real property (after the foreclosure)

1. "pre" pre-foreclosure: This is the one that most people are confused about! This is NOT the same as "pre-foreclosure". This is BEFORE the foreclosure ever even begins. It's the time during which the homeowner realized he/she is going to be late on payments - or is even a couple of months behind - and the point at which the bank starts the formal foreclosure process. Properties you can find at this stage are "gold" because the homeowners aren't yet being bombarded by foreclosure investors. Finding pre-foreclosure sellers here takes a little more creativity and ingenuity. This is where marketing and advertising play a huge role as well as networking.

2. Pre-foreclosure: This is the "hotspot" for investors. This is when people are getting hundreds of letters and postcards from hungry foreclosure investors. This stage can last several weeks to several months or even longer. The key to finding foreclosure properties at this stage is consistency and persistence. There are a number of strategies that you can use at this time ranging from door knocking to a sequential foreclosure mailing and anything in between.

3. Foreclosure: We define this stage as the "auction"; the actual sale at the courthouse. This is not recommended for home buyers simply looking for a great deal on a foreclosure property nor do we recommend it for an investor unless you are quite advanced and have a good team working with you because there are a lot of considerations that could wind up costing you money if you're not careful.

4. Real Estate Owned (Bank Owned) Foreclosures: Foreclosure properties reach this stage when nobody purchases the home during the first 3 phases and the bank takes it back. There are lots of good deals to be had once the bank takes back the foreclosed property. You will need a good Realtor that knows how to handle the banks to help you here, but you can find foreclosure deals well below market value here.

Each of these 4 stages of provides great opportunities for finding foreclosures. Depending on where they are in the foreclosure process will determine how you will locate the sellers, how you will market to them, and how you negotiate the deal.
About the Author
Heather Seitz is the author of Finding Foreclosure Deals and the founder of The
Real Estate Training Academy, LLC. Get your free foreclosure case study and your
foreclosure marketing tips newsletter at www.FindingForeclosureDeals.com .
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