Legit Foreclosure Listings?
January 28, 2009 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Is there a site that lists foreclosures, reos, etc that is a little less sketchy than Realtytrac.com?

Trulia, Yahoo Real Estate and others all seem to link back to Realtytrac, a site that sets off a lot of my scam signals. For example they require credit card info in advance for a 7 day trial that automatically converts to a $49.95 subscription.

I've seen this advice: "Search for foreclosure listings in real estate magazines, newsletters, newspapers and Internet search engines. Call lenders for real estate owned (REO) properties lists of foreclosures. Government agencies such as Fannie Mae (fanniemae.com) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud.gov) also advertise foreclosed homes for sale. Check public records for other leads. A lender deciding to foreclose must file a notice of default in the local county clerk's office. "

Surely there is someone out there where I can get that in one place without feel like I'm buying exercise equipment on late-night TV. Or perhaps someone has used realtytrac and its not as bad as it seems.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy to Work & Money (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Realtytrac isn't a scam. It really is the best source for this stuff.
posted by JPD at 2:04 PM on January 28, 2009

Zillow.com also lists foreclosures.
posted by mkb at 2:05 PM on January 28, 2009

I'm in the process of buying a house right now and RealtyTrac has been really helpful. I didn't go through with the monthly subscription, I did use the 7-day trial and received a lot of great information I needed on a few properties I was interested in. I found the site helpful for looking up information on properties I found through my realtor or MLS listings first. This gave me great background information on properties I looked at last week.

Note that just because a house is foreclosed on, it doesn't mean the bank is selling it. RealtyTrac just released some information saying that 70% of foreclosed homes aren't listed in MLS yet. In the area I was looking at, I saw a few properties like this that are currently vacant but not listed anywhere.
posted by tommccabe at 2:25 PM on January 28, 2009

I've worked with Realtytrac professionally, running a web service product implementation for them. My experience was that they were quite unpleasant to deal with. However, they are also frequently quoted on NPR, so I suspect they aren't outright scammers.
posted by ellF at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2009

I loathe Realtytrac, everything it stands for, and it's terrible "free" data.

Propertyshark is much better, if you're in one of the states that it covers.
posted by toxic at 2:47 PM on January 28, 2009

When I was working as a business journalist, I used realtytrac out of necessity. I was squicked out by the free-trial-with-a-credit-card trick, I found the information it provided was useful and accurate. When my free trial ran out, I made sure to cancel it before I started to get charged -- of course, they hope you don't.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:14 PM on January 28, 2009

I used a disposable prepaid debit card...even if you only have a $1 balance on the thing, you'll still get authorized for the free trial. This is SO much safer than throwing your real credit card information around.
posted by aquafortis at 5:09 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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