Before the Internet, the pre-eminent way to find real properties for sale was through a Multiple Listing Service or “MLS.” An MLS is a private organization, which permits real estate brokers to pool information. All brokers in an area will post their listings on the MLS, and, in turn, all brokers will have access to all of the listings. Non-brokers, in theory, do not have access to the local MLS. In this way, brokers share information quickly, but protect themselves from non-brokers buying or selling without using a broker.
MLS organizations still exist in most local markets, and they are still the backbone of how residential real property is listed. The Internet, however, has been progressively breaking down the monopoly on information, which brokers once had. Now, there are many Internet sites, which freely list information from many of the MLSs.
These sites change all of the time. Well-known sites that you may want to consult include: www.Realtor.com; www.mls.com; www.Zillow.com; www.clms.com (commercial property); www.loopnet.com (commercial); www.costar.com (commercial); www.themls.com (Southern California). Another sometimes useful source are the various real estate listings on your local www.Craigslist.com. Gibson Law PC does not endorse any of these sites; they are mentioned here simply as examples of the resources available on the web.
It is worth spending some time on the Internet to find out which of the listing services have the best and most up-do-date information in your geographic area and for the type of property you are seeking.
How do I find foreclosures and REO properties?
The ideal is to buy when the price is low. Properties in foreclosure can be attractive, because foreclosure tends to depress price. Similar logic applies to bank-owned properties, acquired in foreclosures. (These properties are sometimes called REO properties, which is a bank acronym for Real Estate Owned.)
There are a number of ways to get lists of foreclosure or REO properties. A good place to start is www.all-foreclosure.com. This is a directory of sites on foreclosures and bank-owned property; it also provides other useful information. Another useful site is www.hud.gov/homes/homesforsale.cfm. This is a government site listing properties for sale by the Housing and Urban Development Department (“HUD”) and other agencies.
Other sites you may find helpful include: www.foreclosuredeals.com; www.realtyract.com; www.government-auctions.com (private web site requiring membership, includes real and personal property auctions); www.bankownedassets.com (requires sign-up). There are a number of these websites. You should exercise caution in using them; many of them require you to give them personal information or to pay a fee before you get access to their information. Gibson Law PC does not endorse any of these sites; we suggest that you look at a number of sites and make up your own mind.