If you are just entering the foreclosure market, you will notice that there are a few different types of foreclosure listing services. Paid and free. Obviously, you want to minimize your costs, so you start by looking through the free foreclosure listing services first. How can it cost you anything if it’s free? Well, you have to remember that your time is not free and you may be wasting your time looking at a free foreclosure listing service.
Most of the free general foreclosure listing services that I consider are not worth your time unless you are just gambling. If you are serious about seeking foreclosure, it can usually be worth the investment to pay for a premium foreclosure listing service. When it comes to foreclosure listing services, you really get what you pay for. The free ones are often full of outdated listings or just inaccurate or incomplete data. Some of the foreclosure listing services that are labeled “free” will require you to upgrade to a premium membership ($$$) if you want to view the details of a listing. What a scam! Why bother wasting your time?
The only foreclosure listings that have been helpful to me are the bank-owned directories provided by banks or other financial institutions. These can include Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc. Each of these companies will likely have some type of bank-owned listing section on their website. They want maximum exposure, so they won’t charge you to view the listings. The only problem is, there are a ton of different lists that you will have to go through. If there are five foreclosures in your neighborhood, you may need to visit five different websites to find out about all of them.
Paid foreclosure listings are generally worth it if you are a serious investor. Yes, all the information on their websites is technically publicly available elsewhere for free, but they do the service of making sense of it all, compiling it, and organizing it in a way that is easy for you to find and understand. If you are successful buying and selling foreclosures for a profit, the nominal fee of $ 50 per month will seem negligible. If that fee brings you thousands of returns, it’s worth the investment.
However, if you are not a professional investor and are not sure if you are going to buy a foreclosure soon, but just want to scan the market to see what is available, you may want to avoid paid foreclosure lists. The problem is that most have some kind of “trial” offer. Unfortunately, you must cancel before the trial ends or else you will start charging the monthly fee.