I Saw A Foreclosure Listing on RealtyTrac

I was out showing one of my Short Sale listings today. The showing went well, but the house did not really work for them. Before I could ask them if I could help them find something else, they asked me about a property they had seen on RealtyTrac.

Foreclosure For Sale

Licensed from iStockPhoto

RealtyTrac bills itself as a ”Foreclosure Real Estate Listings” site.  According to their website, “Save up to 50% off market value! RealtyTrac lets you search the most foreclosure properties in your neighborhood.” It’s a pay site after a free trial period.

In Texas, it appears RealtyTrac gets some of their data from the county records. The property they showed me was not listed, had not been foreclosed on, and the owners were still living in it. I suspect the lender filed for a substitute trustee (one of the recorded first steps in the trustee sales process) or actually posted it for a trustee sale.

Even if the property had been foreclosed on, it may not be available for purchase. The lender has to make sure the property is vacant and in some cases, wait for the redemption period to expire before they list it with a local REALTOR®. They asked about contacting the lender to purchase it directly from the lender. While I don’t have extensive REO experience, I have two big REO agents in my office and they tell me that it’s not possible to purchase a single property directly from the lender.

I explained this to them and I told them if they were truly looking for active foreclosure listings, the data was available in the MLS. I offered to set up a foreclosure search for them.

My advice to them was to work with the MLS data as it is likely the most accurate source of actual foreclosure real estate listings unless they wanted to try to purchase a property at a trustee sale.

About Tom Branch

Tom Branch has written 597 posts in this blog.


Have you ever just met someone, but felt you like you'd known him for years? That's what most people experience with Tom. He has a knack for making folks feel right at home. After 21 years in the Air Force, loyalty and honesty are the foundation of everything Tom does. In addition to being a Texas Real Estate Broker, Tom is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

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