How to find foreclosure listings
Recently I solved a mystery. I get asked a lot about how to find great deals on real estate. There are definitely lots of options, and I feel my best advice is to pick a system and be focussed. It is important not to chase every new shinny penny.
Finding foreclosure listings is definitely one strategy. I live in Halifax Nova Scotia and there is an online publication here called allnovascotia.com they list foreclosures once a week, however, it is not free. I decided I would find out if I could get free information about houses that were going to be placed up for auction.
What I learned is that it was easier than I expected. I contacted my lawyer (Garnet Brooks) I asked him where I might find the public foreclosure listings. In the case of Halifax, Nova Scotia they are located at the Provincial Supreme Court on Lower Water Street.
I headed to the court house. I was a bit nervous, because I had no idea where exactly I was going, who to ask, or exactly what I was asking for.
I walked in to the court house and I will admit, it is a bit of an intimidating environment, however, the guard at the front desk was friendly and directed me to and office.
I did have to pass through a metal detector to get to where I was going, but I think that is pretty standard nowadays at every court house.
When I entered the office, there were several clerks behind glass. They seemed to all put there heads down as soon as I walked over, but I managed to get one of them to look up and point to a bulletin board with the information I was looking for.
There it was mystery solved. It turned out to be easier than expected.
I copied down the information, if you pay they do allow you to photocopy the listings. I have a page on my website that I list the upcoming foreclosures (www.fortnovagroup.com).
What the listings offer is a court date when the properties are going up for auction, the names of the owners, and the lender, and in most cases the balance owed.
It is important to note that just because a property is in the foreclosure process, it may not make it to the auction block (if a deal is reached with the lender), or the bank will not necessarily let it go for super cheap.
If you do go to a foreclosure auction you will need to have money set up and ready to go. In Halifax you require 10% immediately after winning a bid, and then you have 10 days to provide the balance.
I decided that since I also deal with a portfolio of properties in Digby, that I would search for a Provincial Supreme Court there. I did a quick google search and was able to find an address and phone number. I called and asked the following question (Digby Court House) Can I ask you a random question? The person that answered said yes. Do you post foreclosure listings? She said yes in the foyer. I asked could you fax or email them to me? She said no. I said ok great thanks.
I then called my area property manager and he collected the information for me.
What I would suggest you do, if you want to find free public foreclosure sale information is to google provincial supreme court and what ever province you are in. Then even if you want to see how the process works, write down a date and time for an auction and attend a sale.
Good luck finding listings in your town.
Michael P Currie
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