A foreclosure is certainly not an event to celebrate. A property lands in foreclosure after a homeowner has lost their home, often due to financial hardship. These properties, however, still need an owner who can invest in them and ensure they don’t fall into disrepair. Therefore, a foreclosure could be an opportunity to turn someone’s misfortune into another’s fortune.
Whether for personal use or investment purposes, foreclosed homes for sale may offer a chance to purchase a property at a bargain price compared to similar homes on the market. Foreclosures are often a favorite of home flippers who may view them as the perfect investment property to renovate and turn a profit. The best foreclosure sites curate online listings of these properties and can help connect buyers to opportunities that’ll give a foreclosed home a second chance.
- BEST OVERALL: Foreclosure.com
- BEST FOR AUCTIONS: Auction.com
- BEST FOR INVESTING: Equator
- BEST GOVERNMENT SITE: HUD Home Store
- ALSO CONSIDER: Zillow Foreclosure Center
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Foreclosure Sites
Purchasing a foreclosure isn’t always a clear-cut process. Even how to find foreclosed homes can require some savviness in knowing where to look. When pinpointing a site to help, buyers will want to consider the site’s ease of use and the cost of accessing information and property details, among other factors.
Types of Foreclosure Sale Listings
Lenders can initiate the foreclosure process after a homeowner falls delinquent on a mortgage. Buyers can purchase homes at different stages within that process, including:
- Pre-foreclosure: This is the first phase of foreclosure when a lender files a notice of default on a property after a borrower has failed to pay their mortgage.
- Short sale: This is when a lender agrees to accept less for a property than the amount still owed on a mortgage. A borrower first must prove financial hardship to their lender, who will need to ultimately approve any short-sale transaction. Properties in this category may be listed as “pending bank approval.”
- Sheriff’s sale: This applies when a homeowner has lost a foreclosure lawsuit and a court declares a sheriff’s sale. The property will then be sold at a public auction.
- Bank-owned: Also known as real-estate owned (or REO, for short), these are properties owned by a lender after a borrower has defaulted on their mortgage.
- Government-owned properties: The government assumes the title of a home after a borrower defaults on a loan guaranteed by the federal government (i.e., the Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs).
The best foreclosure sites help users narrow their property searches to better match the criteria of homes they’re looking for. Many of these sites will allow users to search for properties based on price, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and property or asset type. In some cases, users can search by potential ROI yields if they are considering the home for investment purposes.
Many of the best foreclosure sites offer tools—like mortgage rate calculators, credit centers to assess financing options for purchasing foreclosed properties, and even ROI estimates if buying the property with rehabbing or flipping in mind. Some sites also may offer broker or real estate agent searches to help find a professional to help facilitate the transaction after identifying a property of interest. These tools can be beneficial to buyers and make it convenient for a buyer to do all of the research and house-hunting in one spot.
Many of the best foreclosure sites allow free access to view foreclosed houses listed for sale. These sites don’t usually allow users to bid on properties directly on the website, but they do show the inventory of properties available. Some foreclosure sites may offer paid subscription services—often via a weekly or monthly fee—for prospective buyers to peruse a wider pool of listings and gain access to advanced tools. Casual watchers of the foreclosure market will likely not want to invest money in one of these services. Still, a paid service might be helpful for those seriously interested in having the greatest access to foreclosure properties and relevant home-buying technology.
Our Top Picks
Foreclosure listings can readily be found online, but not all listings are reputable. This list of the best foreclosure sites has been carefully evaluated and curated to provide potential buyers with high-quality resources for finding foreclosures.
Why It Made the Cut: As one of the longest-running foreclosure listing services, Foreclosure.com offers one of the largest portfolios of foreclosed properties and an extensive variety of listing types.
Foreclosure.com features a comprehensive list of for-sale listings nationwide that encompasses homes that fall at various stages of foreclosure. These include government- and bank-owned properties as well as pre-foreclosure listings, allowing site users a sneak peek at these properties before they are officially marketed for sale.
Visitors will want to carefully evaluate the information in listings at the site because not all properties are foreclosures. For example, the site also includes additional listings from bankruptcies, rent-to-own properties, homes with tax liens, fixer uppers, and those sold in “as-is” conditions that aren’t necessarily foreclosures. However, the site is easy to search with the ability to sort homes by property type, price, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Foreclosure.com does charge to use its service, but users can get a 7-day free trial to help judge whether the site is worth the financial commitment. Foreclosure.com’s weekly pricing structure is convenient in the fast-paced world of real estate, where a user might not need to pay for an entire month of service before they find the property they’re looking for.
- Types of foreclosure sale listings: Foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcies, rent-to-own, tax liens, short sales, as-is deals, fixer upper, city-owned
- Search parameters: Property type, price, beds/baths
- Site tools and filters: Credit center, mortgage rate calculator
- Cost: $9.95 per week
- One of the largest online portfolios of foreclosure properties
- Extensive variety of sale listing types, including government- and bank-owned property
- Pre-foreclosure listings available to browse before official market listing
- Occasionally misleading listing-type information
Why It Made the Cut: Auction.com lists foreclosed homes at various stages in the process that are ready to be auctioned off in person or online.
Auction.com offers REO bank-owned homes, short sales, and more properties in the foreclosure process that are being sold via an auction, in which purchasers bid against one another for a property. The site offers comprehensive searches by asset type, the property’s condition, and more. It also includes exclusive sections where users can look at only vacant properties or properties for sale that are under $50,000.
The site is limited to listing foreclosures that are only available to be purchased at an auction. Site visitors should note that foreclosures can be purchased outside of an auction format too, and the site isn’t representative of an area’s complete foreclosure inventory. Auction.com offers access to lots of information to evaluate homes ready to be auctioned off, including photos, property details, estimated resale value, and the minimum opening bid amount for the in-person or online auction (depending on which auction format is specified). Auction.com’s site is free to use for viewing listings.
- Types of foreclosure sale listings: REO bank-owned, foreclosure homes, short sales
- Search parameters: Property, buying type, asset type, condition
- Site tools and filters: Help center
- Cost: Free
- Comprehensive, convenient search parameters
- Online and in-person auction listings
- Vacant and under-$50,000 property listing sections
- Listings limited to auctions only
Why It Made the Cut: Equator provides innovative tools to judge the investment potential of foreclosed properties for sale.
Users can access Equator for free to view listings for auctions, short sales, and foreclosures. The site may benefit those looking to purchase a property for investment purposes. Equator offers property searches that can be filtered by property type, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and potential yields for return on investment. (ROI can be a key data point for those looking to rehab or flip a property for profit.) Equator also offers a Signature Buyer program tool that provides special analytics on properties to help determine which properties may offer the strongest investment potential. The Signature Buyer program, however, is only available in select markets.
Not all homes on the Equator site are foreclosures; traditional for-sale homes also are listed. The site does not always clearly indicate which homes are foreclosures and which are not. Users will need to carefully review the property descriptions to find out. Equator also offers tools to use after the transaction that focus on rehabbing, managing, and selling investment properties.
- Types of foreclosure sale listings: Auction, foreclosure, short sales
- Search parameters: Property type, price, yield, beds/baths
- Site tools and filters: Signature Buyer, mortgage rate calculator
- Cost: Free
- Ideal investment properties identified via market listing analyses
- Advanced tools for rehabbing, managing, and selling investment properties
- Potential ROI yield search filter
- Occasionally misleading listing-type information
Why It Made the Cut: The HUD Home Store is a prime spot for buyers to easily find HUD-approved listings and get in touch with brokers to complete a purchase.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires foreclosures when a borrower defaults on a government-backed Federal Housing Administration–insured mortgage. These properties become listings on the HUD Home Store. Buyers wishing to purchase a HUD REO need to use a HUD-registered broker or real estate agent to complete the transaction. The HUD Home Store has a list of approved brokers on its website to make this search easy. The site allows users to search for properties available using filters like property characteristics and status, although the site can be somewhat confusing to navigate. The site does contain limited information about each listing. Still, purchasers can use it as a resource to find HUD listings all in one place and to contact a HUD-registered broker to learn more about any properties they’re interested in.
- Types of foreclosure sale listings: HUD REO
- Search parameters: Buyer type, beds/baths, status
- Site tools and filters: Broker search, closing agent search
- Cost: Free
- Easy-to-find HUD-approved broker and closing agent listings
- Straightforward, streamlined search functions
- Website can be somewhat user-unfriendly
- Limited information available for each listing
Why It Made the Cut: The Zillow Foreclosure Center offers extensive search filters and keyword search functions to pinpoint properties that match buyers’ specific criteria.
Zillow Foreclosures allows visitors to browse foreclosure listings all in one place easily and offers powerful search tools to help narrow searches quickly. Users can search for properties by price, home type, bedrooms and bathrooms, location, and additional parameters through the site’s intuitive interface. Users can also search by typing in specific keywords or excluding certain home features when trying to sift through listings.
The site does not distinguish between types when presenting search results, so it can be challenging to determine precisely what kind of foreclosure listing is being presented. There are relatively few foreclosure listings on the site in general. However, Zillow’s main site has a robust database of real estate listings, so Zillow may be an excellent option for buyers looking for foreclosures in addition to traditional real estate listings.
- Types of foreclosure sale listings: Not specified
- Search parameters: Price, home type, beds/baths
- Site tools and filters: Help center
- Cost: Free
- Clean and intuitive site interface
- Extensive search filters and keyword search capabilities
- Relatively few foreclosure listings
- No listing-type distinctions
Our top pick for best foreclosure site is Foreclosure.com; its extensive listings of properties allows users to view everything from government- to bank-owned properties, short sales, and more all in one place. The site also offers a rare look at pre-foreclosure listings. Auction.com is an excellent resource for customers looking to get the best deal on a home by listing local online and in-person auctions on foreclosed properties.
How We Chose the Best Foreclosure Sites
Numerous foreclosure listing sites exist online, including several government-operated ones. We compiled this list of best foreclosure sites based on which ones stood out for their unique features and advanced search tools. While we considered it a perk when sites offered free access to their listings, we also considered paid sites if they still provided enough value to justify the price. We carefully vetted the legitimacy of each site we included on this list. As with any real estate listings, users should always do their due diligence when looking online at properties to purchase.
Before You Use One of the Best Foreclosure Sites
A big draw to foreclosures is that they often come at a discounted price, but there are risks to consider. For example, foreclosures are often sold as-is, which means buyers will be on the hook for any needed repairs—which could be significant if the home was left vacant for a long time or damaged by previous owners. (A home inspection prior to closing may help flag big problems.) Foreclosures can carry hidden costs, such as back taxes or liens attached to them that a new buyer may inherit from the home’s previous owners. The purchase process can sometimes be slow and cumbersome with extra paperwork and lender approvals. Purchasers may find that a real estate professional who specializes in foreclosed properties can help navigate the process.
Cost of Using One of the Best Foreclosure Sites
Many of the best foreclosure sites will be free to use, but some may charge a weekly or monthly fee for access. These sites often contain more than just listings, and paid subscribers may be able to access a wider pool of listings or advanced home-buying tools that they wouldn’t get on a free site.
When looking for properties to buy, consider the potential added costs when buying a foreclosure. Buyers will want to factor in the costs of repairs, if needed, to ensure that any discount on the asking price doesn’t outweigh the investment potential. A foreclosed home also could come with liens or even homeowner association or utility dues from the previous owner that the new buyers may be required to pay. Financing can sometimes be difficult. Some lenders may not offer mortgages on distressed properties, or buyers may find loan options more limited.
The Advantages of Using One of the Best Foreclosure Sites
No matter if the real estate market is sizzling or softening, foreclosures still can be found in most markets. General house buying websites are not usually the most efficient place to find foreclosures, since these sites may mix foreclosures in with other listings or may not present them at all. Use the best foreclosure sites for some of the following benefits:
- Buyers can sometimes find a foreclosed home at a discounted price compared with similar homes for sale on the market.
- Foreclosure sites reveal additional and often hidden housing inventories available for sale that may not be as easy to find on other real estate listing sites.
- Websites devoted to foreclosure listings may offer advanced search filters that allow users to find homes based on property or asset type, price, and even ROI yield potential.
Buying a foreclosure can be complex and differ drastically from a traditional home sale transaction. The terminology used to describe foreclosures also may be unfamiliar. Here are a few commonly asked questions and their answers.
Q. How do I get a list of foreclosures in my area?
Some foreclosures can be found on an MLS (multiple listing service) or through the best real estate websites next to other homes for sale. You can also track down foreclosures through county records. Specialized online sites have also popped up to make foreclosure listings accessible and easier to search.
Q. What is the most common foreclosure?
A judicial foreclosure is the most common type of foreclosure. This is when a borrower of a property defaults on their mortgage and fails to meet their loan repayment obligations. In judicial foreclosure states, a lender must sue the homeowner in a civil lawsuit to initiate a foreclosure.
Q. What are foreclosure charges?
These are added fees that a bank or lender charges borrowers as a penalty for defaulting on their mortgage. These may reflect charges for attorney fees, title searches to check for liens, and additional fees encountered by a lender in processing the foreclosure.
Q. Are foreclosure listing websites legit?
The best foreclosure sites listed in this guide were carefully reviewed to ensure only reputable, established companies were included. Still, users should always do their due diligence when looking at online foreclosure or real estate listings.
Q. What is the best app for foreclosure listings?
Several of the best foreclosure sites offer mobile apps to view and search listings and access advanced tools. Popular apps are available from sites like Foreclosure.com, Auction.com, RealtyTrac, and Zillow.
Q. What is the benefit of loan foreclosure?
Foreclosures should always be avoided since they significantly hamper a homeowner’s credit and result in a home loss. Homeowners might reach out to lenders to explore a loan modification as an alternative when facing financial hardship. Homeowners also may want to contact a real estate professional to attempt to sell their property or explore a short sale. If all else fails, homeowners should save whatever money they can to pay for a new place because a lender will eventually take possession of the home if they default on their mortgage.