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Level I Division

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Sibyl Fendley
Sibyl Fendley

How To Buy Distressed Properties

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As foreclosure moratoriums in different parts of the country come to an end, some real estate experts predict that a flood of distressed properties will hit the market. In fact, properties with foreclosure filings (defaults, auctions, and bank repossessions) were up 27% in August 2021 month-over-month, and up another 60% year-over-year.

One of the best ways to locate distressed property is to search online. Top websites that specialize in distressed property listings include,, HomePath by Fannie Mae, HomeSteps by Freddie Mac Homes,, and RealtyTrac.

Another good way to find a distressed property is by going directly to the source. During the last recession of 2008 - 2009 lenders were foreclosing on so many homes that they set up their own REO departments. Bank REO sites from Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still a good way to find distressed property investments today, or simply contact a local credit union or community bank.

Many real estate investors are (pleasantly) surprised to learn that U.S. government agencies seize property literally every day. Look for government-owned distressed property for sale from agencies such as the VA, USDA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Real estate wholesalers are experts at finding distressed properties, estimating needed repairs and after repair value (ARV), and putting the property under contract. After that, the wholesaler assigns the purchase contract to a distressed property investor in exchange for a small wholesale fee.

Short sale, pre-foreclosure, and even foreclosed property are often listed on the local multiple listing service (MLS). Contact a local real estate agent who has experience working with distressed properties, or search online using sites such as Zillow,, and

Purchasing a distressed property through probate court is another option, but the process could take months and investors have to negotiate with multiple parties. USProbateLeads and SuccessorsData are two good websites for probate leads, while the legal resource website Avvo maintains a list of probate lawyers by state.

After the last recession, a tidal wave of distressed properties flooded the market. With the way the housing market has been acting lately, many real estate investors are wondering if the same thing could happen again. The current market cycle is seeing historically high housing prices, which means the acquisition of income-producing properties is more challenging and expensive.

Distressed property is an opportunity to find undervalued and below-market properties that require some TLC. Although the TLC portion of this strategy can be risky, the outcome can be lucrative with the right team and plan.

Ultimately, although there are some risks involved, investors who know where to look for the best distressed property opportunities can earn instant equity, own affordable property in expensive areas, and potentially generate a very attractive ROI.

You might also consider buying government-owned foreclosure properties. These properties are similar to the ones owned by banks or lenders. Government agencies, like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, typically take ownership of homes after the owners default on mortgage loans insured by the federal government.

A distressed property is real estate that the owner has been unable to maintain or pay the mortgage on. Distressed homes may be in a pre-foreclosure status, currently in the process of being foreclosed on, owned by a bank or government agency, or simply be property in bad condition.

Your local multiple listing service is another good resource for finding distressed properties. Ask your real estate agent to look for properties with more days on market than average, homes that have been listed for sale multiple times, or listings that have expired.

If the property is distressed and requires a lot o


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