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      June 7, 2020

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Auction vs Realty Trac

Best Foreclosure Listings

To help you find the Best Foreclosure Listings, provides you with an in-depth comparison of Auction and Realty Trac.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Foreclosure Listings, please Click Here

What is the best way to find Foreclosure Listings? Generally speaking, it should be easy to find properties that are in foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, are bank-owned (REO) or maybe even available for short sale. Why? According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 1 out of every 200 homes will eventually be foreclosed on with 250,000 families entering into foreclosure every 3 months.

Although the total number of homes in foreclosure now is still much lower than the mortgage crisis over a decade ago, there are still thousands of homeowners that find themselves unable to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment, divorce, or other reasons. Eventually, the lender forecloses on their home.

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Foreclosure Listing Reviews

5 stars


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Free Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Auction should be the first site you consider when deciding which Foreclosure Listings site to use. Why? Because it's 100% free to use, with no fine print or hidden exclusions or membership fees. Over the last 10+ years, Auction has had more than 4 million registered buyers, with more than 15,000 auctions per year throughout all 50 states - resulting it more than $39 billion in total sales since they got their start.

Getting started is as simple as entering your name, phone number, zip code, and desired password. Voila - you now have access to everything Auction has to offer. You can begin your search by entering your target area (state, county, city, zip code, or address) in the search bar, or click on the Buy dropdown at the top of the page.

Once you've entered a search, you'll be taken to your results list. This list will show you at a glance the address, auction date(s), beds/baths and sq.ft, the estimated resale value, and any minimum opening bid amount. You can also see if there's a buyer's premium, whether the auction is in-person or online, and whether it's bank owned or a foreclosure. This results list can easily be sorted by Property (e.g. number of beds/baths, desired range of sq.ft., and property type like single-family or condo), Asset Type, Auction Type, Condition

The amount of information available on each foreclosure listing is extensive. First, you can see immediately the estimated resale value, the estimated debt owed by the homeowners (if any), and where the auction is to be held - such as the online auction for the county where the property is located. You can also see details about the property, like the square footage, the year the home was built, number of beds/baths, and so on. Often there are photos, but they may be limited to images from Google Maps and might not include photos inside the residence. Finally, you can quickly see whether the property is cash-only or if financing is allowed, whether the property has received final clearance for auction (you can set up an alert to be notified when the property clears), and if there's any contact information for the property.

Either from the tab at the top of the listing or in the scrolling images below it, you can also see properties similar to the one you're considering. That's a handy way to see what else might be available within your price range, desired property size, or preferred geographic area.

We really love that Auction has a detailed section about Due Diligence on each listing. Click on "Learn how to perform due diligence" for a great tutorial, or simply look at what's available on the listing itself:

  • Review any additional property information
  • Examine title and liens
  • View sales documents
  • Prepare for auction (registering on the county site, placing a deposit if required, and more)

If you still have questions, Auction's staff of more than 1000 employees can help. You can reach them via toll-free number Monday-Friday from 6a to 5p Pacific time, via email, or through the website's live chat feature.

One thing to be aware of: unless a listing is described as "Absolute Auction" or "Minimum Bid Auction", there is a minimum selling price set in advance by the Seller. Unless it's prohibited by law in the state where the listing is located, Auction can counter bid on behalf of the Seller until that minimum is reached. In other words, don't get too excited when you see a home with a starting bid of $100 - because chances are good that the minimum selling price will be much higher.

That brings us to another aspect of using Auction that is different from most Foreclosure Listing services: you can actually use this site to start the process of purchasing a foreclosed or bank-owned property. Most services just provide lists of potential properties, leaving you to do the legwork on your own. Auction, on the other hand, gives you a direct path towards bidding on and purchasing the properties in their listings.

The one negative we found about Auction is that its parent company, Ten-X, had a "B" rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review. According to the BBB, that less-than-perfect grade was because of the number of complaints filed against the business: 29 (when we last accessed the BBB listing). However, many of these complaints seem to show that the customers didn't understand Auction's terms and processes - which are explained both on the website and by the company's responses to the BBB complaints - and Auction continues to be accredited by the BBB despite those complaints. Just be sure that you read the Auction site very thoroughly before bidding on the properties found there.

Auction is detailed, intuitive to use, and has the potential to connect you with a vast number of properties that could be your next home or investment. And, best of all, it's completely free to create an account and start browsing listings in any area you choose. Auction is our first choice among Foreclosure Listings services.

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4 stars
Realty Trac


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7-day free trial

$49.95 / month thereafter

RealtyTrac was founded in 1996 and offers all types of Foreclosure Listings, including properties in pre-foreclosure, auctions, and bank-owned.

Like most subscription-based Foreclosure Listings services that offer a free trial, you'll need to enter your credit card information during the sign-up process. If you decide to keep your subscription beyond RealtyTrac's free 7-day trial period, you'll be billed $49.95 per month. If you decide to cancel your subscription, you may be given access as a "Free Member", with the ability to log in, save properties, searches, and notes in the "Homes for Sale" channel, and limited access to their Stats & Trends section.

Once you've signed up for your account, you'll be taken to a helpful Getting Started page. Here, you'll find Tips for Beginners that show you how to use the site more effectively, like how to search for the right properties and save your searches for later use, how to save properties you're interested in, and so on. If you need more education on foreclosures, particularly with respect to laws in your state, you'll find that in the Learn More section. Finally, if you want the help of a local realtor or need to get an idea of current mortgage rates in your area, those links are in the Next Steps section.

You can also find market information under the Stats & Trends tab. This is the place to click if you want information on market trends in the US, such as the number of foreclosures nationwide, or which states have the highest foreclosure rates.

When you're ready to search for Foreclosure Listings, you can enter a neighborhood, city, zip code or state into the search box, or go under the Search Homes tab. Keep in mind that RealtyTrac isn't limited strictly to Foreclosures, so you'll also find homes that are in pre-foreclosure, bank owned (REO), and that are listed as a traditional sale.

Once we entered our target area, we got a results list that could be sorted by date entered, number of beds/baths, square footage, price, and properties identified as "hot opportunities". We were surprised to see that the first 20+ listings were all sourced from another Foreclosure Listings service in our review, Auction. That left us wondering why we'd pay a monthly fee for RealtyTrac when Auction gives people accounts at no charge.

On a positive note, we were impressed with the amount of information provided in each listing. For example, on one property that met our search criteria, we were able to see that while crime rates were low in the area, there were 15 criminal sex offenders located within a mile, and 8 environmental risks also within a mile. Further information showed us exactly how much had been paid in property taxes, the purchase history, and much more. Those kinds of details can make or break a purchase, whether you're planning on living in a home or you're using it as part of an investment strategy.

RealtyTrac enjoys an "A+" rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. That's a good sign for a business in the Foreclosure Listings industry.

Overall, RealtyTrac offers good value for what you pay, especially with the level of detail the service provides on each property listing.

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Continued from above

At the same time, this can be a huge opportunity for people looking to start or expand their investment portfolio by getting properties well below market cost, or to buy a home for themselves at a significant discount. Plus, the original homeowner may be able to avoid bankruptcy or other negative financial consequences through your purchase of their home, even at a reduced cost.

It's important to realize that many homes purchased as a foreclosure are sold as-is, so budgeting for things like repairs or replacing appliances is key. Another factor to keep in mind is that it may take longer to close on a foreclosed property than in a traditional home sale. If the property is bank owned, the bank may not be as motivated to cut a quick deal or close quickly. And, there can also be a legal component to getting the current residents to vacate the property before you can take occupancy.

Once you're ready to find a foreclosed property, where should you look? There are several services that provide Foreclosure Listings, doing all the legwork of searching databases and other sources of information to give you the details on the properties in your target area.

When deciding which Foreclosure Listing provider to use, keep these criteria in mind:

  • Cost. While some Foreclosure Listings are provided free of charge, this may only be for a short trial period before you're charged a monthly subscription fee.
  • Data Quality. Choose a service that updates its Foreclosure Listings frequently. It'll do you no good to get listings of properties that are no longer on the market. Also consider how much information you get in a listing: most services include the number of beds/baths and square footage at a bare minimum, while the best services include detailed information about the neighborhood, previous sales of the home, etc.
  • Reputation. What do others say about using the Foreclosure Listings they've found on the site? Is the service rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Ease of Use. Can you easily find what you want on the site and in each of the Foreclosure Listings? Does the site make it simple to get through the steps of buying and/or bidding on a foreclosed property? has reviewed and ranked the best Foreclosure Listings available today. We hope this information helps you in your real estate goals, whether you're buying a home for yourself or adding to your investment portfolio!

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