What is a pre-foreclosure home?
A pre-foreclosure is a home where the home owners are late paying their mortgage. They are late enough where the bank has decided to protect it's right to foreclosure by filing a notice of intent to
Pre-foreclosures are rarely home owners
who want to sell.
foreclose, or "pre-foreclosure" notice. The banks must do this if they intend to foreclose, so they often do this as early as possible. It is important to understand that pre-foreclosures are NOT foreclosed homes. They are still owned by the home owner, and being late on your mortgage doesn't give the bank the right to sell the property.
Where can I find pre-foreclosures homes?
There is a company called Realty-Trac which manages a database of these pre-foreclosure notices, and offers them to websites, like Trulia, Depending on the website, various information is available for free, and more specific information behind paywalls.
How can I buy pre-foreclosures homes?
This is where many novice home buyers get confused. Very few home owners in pre-foreclosure want to sell. Many of them fully intend to catch up on their mortgage payments and stay put. Even those that are in serious financial trouble aren't interested in selling, because they don't have anywhere to go! They can't just rent somewhere, they are in financial trouble. Although many resolve their deficiencies with the bank, some may chose to stay put until foreclosed on. However that process takes months, and sometimes years, to play out, and even AFTER the property is foreclosed, it is not unusual for the bank to take even more time to get the property ready for sale.
A small percentage of pre-foreclosure folks are interested in selling, and you can write an offer to purchase their home. If the home is on the market, this is easy, but if it isn't on the market, you must connect with the homeowner directly and ask if you can see their home because you'd like to buy it. Because so few pre-foreclosure home owners are interested in selling, be prepared to use a lot of stamps!
Manage your time as well
as your money and you
may not feel pre-foreclosures
are a worthwhile pursuit.
Will buying a pre-foreclosure home save me money?
If you can find an owner willing to sell, and if you can offer them less than market, and if they take it, then yes. But that is a lot of ifs. The bigger problem is that this is a low percentage game, and it may not proceed at the pace you would like.