New York City forclosures?
August 22, 2007 3:20 PM   Subscribe

The goal: Affordable real estate during housing uncertainty... Is there a local resource for foreclosures in Manhattan? Are there court documents available to the public regarding properties in at risk? Is there a web resource for this?
posted by Shanachie to Work & Money (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have to believe (although I have no source) that any forclosed properties in desirable areas of NYC are snapped up by real estate developer, agents, and brokers long before any "regular" people might have a shot at them.
posted by kimdog at 3:24 PM on August 22, 2007

I found this place: BS?
posted by Shanachie at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2007

Don't do it. In addition to being a vulture taking someone's home you face serious risks. The home is essentially bought sight unseen, you have to pay cash and their is no title insurance. Also, you have to evict the former owners. Nice.
posted by caddis at 3:54 PM on August 22, 2007

Don't get your hopes up. There's a decent explanation here about the logistics of buying foreclosed property. Note, in particular, that most property never makes it to auction and the foreclosure is the end stage after everyone that the bank knows has passed on the deal.
posted by backupjesus at 4:10 PM on August 22, 2007

There are websites like and RealtyTrac that keep tabs on that sort of information, but they generally charge hefty fees.

I can't speak to the Manhattan market, but in most places the process involves public notice via a newspaper, as well as other filings and notices that are technically public information (Notice of Default, Notice of Foreclosure.) They may be difficult to get a hold of without resorting to one of the aforementioned pay sites.

An easier route might be to look into REO (bank-owned) properties. The foreclosure bit is already taken care of and the banks generally don't want to own houses, so it's possible to get a good deal that way. In my local market (MD) I've seen a number of REOs going for 100k less than other houses on the same block. The caveat being the properties are sold as-is and may require some elbow-grease.

Some links to REO lists here, here, here, here and here.
posted by EmptyK at 5:03 PM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

New York Times says that a NYC foreclosure boom ain't gonna happen, Charlie.
posted by saladin at 5:37 PM on August 22, 2007

I don't see how buying foreclosed property is being a vulture. It's not the new buyer's fault that someone had to foreclose on their property. Why not try to get a good deal in a crappy market? Of course, with all the caveats of backupjesus' posts.
posted by zackola at 6:26 PM on August 22, 2007

not a vulture? you get the privilege of evicting the former owners, who become your tenants, yourself. you may think now that this is no problem, but when they come begging about where there children will sleep etc., see how easy that is. it's a nasty business and I wouldn't recommend it for someone just looking for cheap digs for themselves. it certainly is not for the faint of heart, or someone lacking the cash to buy the house outright. if your goal is heartless real estate magnet then have at it if you can live with yourself.
posted by caddis at 6:54 PM on August 22, 2007

Gothamist says that a NYC foreclosure boom might just be startin', Charlie.
posted by extrabox at 7:46 PM on August 22, 2007

I've never heard of someone having to evict the former owners. I'm not sure that's true. Regardless, this is Manhattan we're talking about. The folks on West 79th St aren't roving around the dust bowl a la John Steinbeck. We're talking about a 1 bedroom condo where someone bought an ARM and it has adjusted and they have had to bail because they can't make the payments. Nobody is bringing goons to drive the good ol' folks from the family farm...
posted by Shanachie at 7:56 PM on August 22, 2007

The NYTimes gets a lot of advertising money from real estate companies. They are about as objective on that subject as they were on the buildup to the Iraq war.
posted by turbojav at 9:10 PM on August 22, 2007

I don't know the rules in Manhattan, but I've been studying up on the Maryland/DC foreclosure process. YMMV (Your Market May Vary.)

If you buy a property at a trustee auction, you may find yourself with the former property owners as tenants and if you want to live there you'd have to evict them.

I haven't seen that happen very often recently, as the lender can bid the amount owed, which is usually more than the property is worth if the foreclosure is going through.

Then again if you're buying a property at auction you should probably have a real estate lawyer to take care of things like evictions and title work anyhow. Buying at auction is much riskier, since you may have to deal with liens on the property for taxes, construction or god knows what else.
posted by EmptyK at 11:05 PM on August 22, 2007

It's not a reliable way to find a property to live in for yourself and/or your family. Maybe fifeteen years ago you might have found a deal, or two, but today no.

What's more, the people who show up at the court-house on the day of the auctions (try, buy the membership and go to an auction) are professionals and they might start openly salivating at the sight of you.

NYC especially, because it is such a desireable market, is maybe the last place one should look to buy their first foreclosure property.

Now upstate, on the other hand...
posted by From Bklyn at 4:49 AM on August 23, 2007

just swap "their" and "there" please. oh, those were bad, really bad, even for someone who is as proofreading challenged as I am.
posted by caddis at 5:29 AM on August 23, 2007

I've never heard of someone having to evict the former owners. I'm not sure that's true.

Evicting the former owners can happen, but it's a lot more common to have to evict tenants to whom the former owner was renting the property. The former owner may have rented to bad-news tenants right before the foreclosure in an attempt to scare off the bank. Depending on the jurisdiction, eviciting a tenant can be very difficult and take years (7 years, in one NY example I know). Meanwhile, the new owner will be responsible for maintaining (or, if it's run down, reestablishing) the habitability of the property.

If you're considering a foreclosed property, this may be one of the reasons a lot of highly-qualified people have passed on the "great deal" before it was offered to you. It may work out for you, since you're probably not seeking investment-type returns and can overpay compared to an investor, but you need to consider all risks.
posted by backupjesus at 9:25 AM on August 23, 2007

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