Thanks to new technologies, foreclosure searches have become much easier, with the result that the industry has become more lucrative for everyone involved.
With advances in software and Internet-based technologies, foreclosures have gone from offline (and relatively hidden) lists of properties, to online and searchable. Beyond the technology that makes foreclosures available for easy search and study, there have also been technological advances that help foreclosure specialists process transactions more smoothly and with greater speed, which has benefits for agents and consumers alike.
For consumers, recent technological advances have meant that transactions have had faster response times, and should continue to do so into the future. For the agents, advances in technology will allow them to get more properties listed and available to the public.
The technological past
Foreclosures have had an uneven history when you consider their perception, availability, and the opportunity for consumers to acquire a foreclosed home successfully. There have been multiple obstacles across the nation, as well as local hurdles, that have gotten in the way of the successful search for and purchase of area foreclosures.
When times were good and economic conditions strong, it was hard to find foreclosures in any directory other than the primary government housing site, as well as the banks that owned the inventory of foreclosed homes.
When the economy started to tank, though, foreclosure sites popped up all over the Web, and it was hard to find websites that had accurate data.
Wrong has different wrongs
Errors in the listing of accurate foreclosure data can come in a variety of erroneous formats. Perhaps the property is already purchased and off the market. Maybe the payment was behind, but the owner managed to bring it back to an account standing that is current.
Sometimes the property is listed as a foreclosure when it’s actually just a “short sale”: that is, a property that’s listed for a price lower than what’s owed on it. Short sales have become common as a way of preventing a property from entering the foreclosure process, but unfortunately for everyone involved, the process of buying a short sale property is much different.
Therefore, technological advances that have helped identify properties correctly as short sales instead of foreclosure properties, can save a lot of time and frustration.
How to search accurately for foreclosures
It’s important to make sure you don’t use a site on which you find inaccuracies. Imagine incurring the cost of driving to a property, only to experience the disappointment of learning that it’s not actually on the market.
There’s also an opportunity cost to inaccurate sites: the homes you’re not seeing. If a site’s information is outdated or inaccurate, more than likely it’s also missing accurate and valid data on foreclosures that are actually on the market.
Going straight to bank sites for their portfolio of foreclosed properties might be a good idea in some instances, but banks are notorious for being unduly lax about marketing their properties. Even in situations where banks show their available properties, they may not be good at quickly updating the site and/or lists when properties are sold or taken off the market.
Dealing with banks directly sometimes entails dangerously inaccurate information, so it’s best to find a service you trust that specializes in the collection and publishing of foreclosure data. There are a few sites online where you can get accurate foreclosure data.
Once you find your site of choice, it’s best to stick with it!