Cheap foreclosures for sale

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How to Buy a Cheap Foreclosure

When a home buyer or investor wants to buy a cheap house, it's easy to assume they can find a foreclosure for a deep discount. However, that impression can be somewhat false, especially if the bank has a different idea of what's "cheap," as they want to get as much as possible from the sale. If you'd really like to find a house that is cheaper, there are some places you can look besides realtor listings, such as sheriff's auctions, estate auctions, private auctions, or directly from the bank.

Key Takeaways

  • If you want to buy a "cheap" foreclosure, you may have to look in a few places other than traditional real estate listings.
  • You may be able to find foreclosures at sheriff's auctions, estate auctions, and private auctions.
  • The best way to eliminate most of the competing buyers for a cheap foreclosure is to contact the bank directly.

Buy at a Trustee or Sheriff's Auction

You can find notices of auctions online and in local newspapers. There are a number of websites that post information on auctions, and some might offer free trials. You typically pay in full at public auctions and buy the home in "as is" condition. Smart buyers will pay a title company to do a preliminary search prior to bidding.

If there are liens such as taxes, delinquent homeowners association (HOA) dues, or superior loans, those encumbrances stay with the home. There could be a number of professionals and investors at public auctions who can reduce your chances of winning a house.

Buy a Cheap Foreclosure at a Private Online Auction

Auction houses generally advertise online and in newspapers. These auction outfits might have marketers traveling around the country holding auctions at various venues. A private auction house often will let you obtain financing to buy a cheap foreclosure. You can also bring a buyer's agent to represent you.

Some auction companies will let you inspect the foreclosures prior to bidding. However, you should be prepared to set a limit and be careful to not get carried away by the excitement created during the bidding process.

Buy Directly From the Bank

The best way to eliminate most of the competing buyers for a cheap foreclosure is to contact the bank directly. Banks are often willing to give a break on the price if a buyer or investor buys more than one home in a bulk-purchase package.

What you will find more often than not is that the bank does not want to sell to you. If the home is not on the market, but it's bank-owned, it's probably because there are tax advantages to the bank not to sell it.

Some banks maintain a list of foreclosure homes online that are available to buy. Buyers can also check the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website for a list of HUD-owned homes.

Foreclosures Listed on a Realtor Site

You can buy a foreclosure generally for much less than its original loan balance, especially in a declining market. However, that doesn't mean that the bank will sell the property for less than market value. The market value might be 50% less than the last time the home sold, but that foreclosure price will generally reflect the value of the comparable homes around it, less the costs to fix it up.

The truth is that it's rare to find a cheap foreclosure listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Every so often, if you're lucky and fast enough to write an offer, you might be able to buy a foreclosure for a little bit under comparable sales, but bargain-basement deals are typically not listed in the MLS.

That's because banks, like any other seller, want to make as much money as possible. They hire real estate agents to prepare an estimate of value and tell them how much they can get. The agent takes the condition of the home into consideration and names a price. Then, other agents in the MLS compete to buy that home for their buyers.

When buyers compete, multiple offers are the result. Multiple offers tend to drive up the price. To find a cheap foreclosure, buyers need to reduce the competition by exploring the alternatives.

Buy From Federal Agencies

You can also buy homes directly from various federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). You can search for homes that federal agencies have listed and learn about auctions they hold. The Department of Housing and Development has a search tool for finding homes, and you can place a bid using the site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a foreclosure?

Foreclosure is when a lender takes ownership of a home because of a defaulted loan. Default happens when a borrower misses multiple payments on a home. In some states, lenders have to go to court to get permission to foreclose on a home. Foreclosure is typically a last resort, as it's expensive for the lender and difficult for the homeowner.

What does pre-foreclosure mean?

Pre-foreclosure is when the lender has sent a notice of default to the homeowner, but the home hasn't been foreclosed on. This usually happens when the borrower has missed a set number of payments. During this time, the borrower could catch up on missed payments or work with the lender to modify their loan.

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15 Best Foreclosure Sites for Finding Properties

You may remember that foreclosures were a big part of the Great Recession. As the economy cratered, foreclosure filings soared. In the first half of alone, million U.S. homes spun into foreclosure, according to data from ATTOM Data Solutions, a property database provider.

10 years later, will the COVID pandemic lead to a rash of foreclosures? That could spell a lot of hardship, but also an opportunity for investors to flip homes for profit as more American workers switch to full-time remote work, often in less-expensive cities and towns.

Ongoing efforts to ease the pandemic's economic impact – including the CARES Act -- have slowed the foreclosure process, particularly for properties where mortgages were federally backed. But that stay doesn't apply to lenders or servicers of loans not backed by the government (though state laws may).

Buying and flipping foreclosed homes might be a path to consider if you are building a home-selling business.It follows the maxim of buy low, sell high: buy a foreclosed home on the cheap, make the needed improvements, and sell at or above the market value.

Nearly 11, American properties received a foreclosure filing – default notices, bank repossessions or scheduled auctions – in October, up 20% from September. The states with the highest foreclosure rates in October were South Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Seeking foreclosure homes near you? Check with your county, town or city. They may have foreclosure websites or other means of listing local foreclosures. But there is a wide range of online resources for finding foreclosures, including most larger banks (we’ve listed a few):

Foreclosure listings - free sites

Equator.com. Equator offers free listings of homes in foreclosure alongside short sales, open-market listings, and properties available through the Hubzu auction process. 

HomePath.com. Owned by the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae, HomePath.com offers free listings of thousands of homes in foreclosure being sold by Fannie Mae. 

HomeSteps.com. This site is owned by Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac. It lists homes in foreclosure that Freddie Mac is selling to investors or potential home buyers.

Zillow Foreclosure Center. The popular website used by home sellers and buyers alike has its own search site for foreclosure listings. You can fashion your own method of searching, filtering by cost or location.

Realtor.com Foreclosures. Similarly, Realtor.com, also used by new-home seekers or sellers, can help you find foreclosures. You can focus your search using a zip code and/or city. And, while we're on the subject of Realtors, you can also check with local real estate companies and their agents directly to search for foreclosed homes.

Wells Fargo REO Properties. Note that these properties are not sold directly by Wells Fargo. You must contact the listing agents or other contact associated with the property.

CitiMortage. This site lists properties or foreclosures that are owned by Citigroup. Potential buyers contact the listing agent associated with the property they are interested in.

Bank of America foreclosures. This site allows users to search for real estate owned or bank owned foreclosed properties, by zip code or other methods.

Foreclosure listings – subscription sites

RealtyTrac. There’s a free 7-day trial; after that, it’s $ a month, with discounts on multi-month packages. Members get access to RealtyTrac’s proprietary information, including auctions dates and locations, pre-foreclosure addresses, owner information, bank loan amounts and more.

Foreclosure.com. After the free 7-day trial, it’s $ per month. Subscribers receive detailed information on the listed properties, tax roll data, files provided by the lender, local school districts and other listing details.

Foreclosure listings – government sites

HUD.gov. Potential investors and other home buyers can find one-to-four unit residential properties that the Department of Housing and Urban Development acquired from foreclosure actions on FHA-insured mortgages.

HomeSales.gov. Another federal government website for hunting down foreclosures is HomeSales.gov. These, of course, are previously owned single-family homes that landed in the federal government’s hands by public auction or other method. Purchasers must work with a real estate agent, broker or servicing representative to submit an offer or bid, according to the website.

FHA Single Family Real Estate Owned Properties. This site is for the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development and includes real estate owned properties. These single family homes land on the site when the Federal Housing Administration pays a claim to a bank or other lending institution on a foreclosed property that was originally financed with an FHA insured mortgage. 

USDA-RD/FSA Properties. The United State Department of Agriculture-Rural Development and the USDA-Farm Service Agency list properties on this website. Here, you’ll find a small number of single- and multi-family homes, farms, and ranches. Buyers must work with a real estate agent or broker to put in a bid, which means there will be a commission to pay. 

IRS Seizures. This Internal Revenue Service website is a portal to finding homes and other property seized by the tax agency for nonpayment of federal taxes.

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How to Find and Buy a Foreclosed Home

Cheapest Properties in America

Foreclosure.com researches, complies and lists the largest selection of cheap homes for sale throughout America, many of them for under $, … and very often for much less.

We can help you find the cheap house for sale on the block — and buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood — with our nationwide database of the best real estate deals available right now. What about cheap houses for rent near me, we have them as well. Whether it’s foreclosed homes for sale, short sale homes, houses for sale near me by owner (and with land), bank-owned homes or any similar distressed property, we have the money-saving real estate opportunity that’s right for you. And we make it so simple to find the cheapest house prices in your area: It's one easy search on Foreclosure.com!

Where should you live in the US? Where you will be most happy and comfortable, of course! But, sometimes that isn’t always possible because of family, jobs, health and, of course, money. At Foreclosure.com, we strive to take the sting out of an otherwise expensive and complicated home buying process. It’s always important to save however — and whenever — you can if possible. And it’s no different when it comes to buying a house. Indeed, you can buy a cheap house and fix it up. You can buy a cheap house and renovate it. You can even buy a cheap house in your area that you find on Foreclosure.com that is a turnkey home.

We have something for everyone with our nationwide list of cheap properties for sale.

You have enough to worry about trying to calculate the cost of living in US. Food, taxes and healthcare, among other expenses, can pile up fast. Housing is often chief among them, so it’s important that you save as much money as possible before making the investment of a lifetime. So go ahead, find the cheapest property in the USA with Foreclosure.com and our free list of cheap houses to buy. We are the best place on the Internet to find cheap homes. If you’re looking for a low-cost place to live with cheaper housing, groceries and utilities, the least expensive place to live is a good place to start!

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