how to buy a pre foreclosure in california

However, with judicial the previous owner has up to one year to redeem his property by paying the sale plus interest and any additional expenses incurred by the lender.
In California, foreclosure sales are held on business days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You are not allowed to view the property before bidding, anyone can bid, and the foreclosure can be postponed to another time and location by the trustee managing the sale.
There are three stages at which you can buy a foreclosure: during pre-foreclosure, at an auction sale and as a bank-owned property, also known as a owned (REO) property.
From then, they have three months to make up for the default on the mortgage before the lender schedules a foreclosure sale.
There are several online foreclosure listing sites, like, and They allow you to filter your search by area, price or even number of bedrooms.
If the owners cannot afford their mortgage, they might accept a low offer that covers their mortgage balance, in order to avoid a foreclosure.
In addition, it’s possible that after you spend the time and money to vet the property and the owner, the homeowner could avoid a sale completely by working out a deal with the lender to avoid foreclosure, such as a loan modification or a deed-in-lieu arrangement.
In a deal where the owner has no equity in the property, one option is to negotiate with the lenders to do a short sale, which means the lenders agree to accept less than is owed and retire the loans without recourse.
There is a rather lengthy notice and cure period between the time a property owner receives a notice of default until the property is sold at a public foreclosure auction sale – usually about four (4) months or more.
Many California properties are bought at public foreclosure auction sales, but the competition may be strong and the prices are higher than during preforeclosure to cover the lender’s legal costs.
Therefore, a deficiency judgment may not be obtained when a property in foreclosure is sold through a non-judicial public foreclosure auction sale or if the foreclosure relates to a purchase money mortgage.
If you wait until the public foreclosure auction sale – or afterwards – the competition may be stronger and the prices will be higher to cover the lender’s legal costs.
To find these sales, read newspaper notices prior to the auction date, look for public notice posted – when required – on the property, or search other public places in the county where the real estate is located.
Find a Real Estate Agent in your area that can help you with the purchase of a foreclosure or any other property you’re interested in buying.
WRONG!! We were lied to, lost the complete deal, lost all escrow monies (we do know that money was NEVER set aside in escrow), lost everything we put into the home including money to be taken off the purchase sale, they were to report to the Credit Bureaus, never did and didn't inform us until 2 years were up and they knew from the beginning they had to report in order for us to purchase the home, I called 1 year ahead before the end of the Lease and advised we know our credit scores are not up to what they need to be in order to purchase since you didn't report so what is going to happen, are you going to work with us no matter what so we can one day purchase the home? He said I told you I would work with you no matter what, even if that means rewrite the Lease because as far as I'm concerned the house is yours, I don't want anything to do with it, and don't worry you still have another whole year.
Once the property is listed with an agent there may not be as much bargain potential, but you can still possibly negotiate a good deal because you know the owner has a limited amount of time to sell before the bank repossess the property or sells the property at public auction.
If the owner rejects all of your contact attempts, you may still have a chance to purchase the property at public auction, which occurs if the owner doesn’t sell or pay off the amount owed during the pre-foreclosure period.
The basic message you want to communicate to the owner is that you’re interested in buying the property and you want to work out a purchase agreement that benefits both parties.
Another question, when we are trying to get Pre~Approved and/or contact a Realtor why aren't Realtors advising Buyers of the Homes that are going to be Foreclosed on? Why doesn't the Realtor who has listed properties, discuss with the homeowners about these options to save themselves from damaged credit….. Lease To Purchase; Rent To Own; Let a very interested buyer work out a deal with the homeowner to take over payments; etc.
SO… get a realtor, there is nothing to see on realty track, you could try to contact the seller directly but you need a realtor to negotiate the short sale with the bank and list the property on the MLS as this is a requirement, at least in FLorida.
You need to find out as much as you can about the estimated market value of the property, how much is owed on the property and if the owner has any other liens against the property.
Because owners in foreclosure may not have the money to make repairs to their property, you might be willing to buy the property as is, but you still want to keep a tab of estimated repair costs and subtract them from your purchase offer.
All we need is the basic info how to contact the bank or owner, since there is NO MLS listing for the property.
You or your real estate agent should initiate contact with the owner to express your interest in the property.
In most cases, the owner has not listed the property for sale, so you will need to pro-actively contact them.
If the owner has decided to list the property for sale, you can simply contact the listing agent.
Trustee’s are the ones processing a foreclosure and typically the only information they will give out regarding a property will be the date, time and location of a sale, along with an opening bid price.
20 days prior to sale date Notice of sale is posted on the property.
The borrower has probably been contacted by the lender several times prior to beginning the foreclosure process .The official foreclosure process then begins by the lender contacting a Trustee and instructing them to file a Notice of Default. offers immediate online listings of all properties the moment they become REO’s, giving you the opportunity to purchase property before the lender has to do anything to prepare the property for sale.
If the sale generates proceeds beyond the satisfaction of the debt and foreclosure costs, the balance generally must be refunded to the party who has lost title to the property.
Foreclosure Sale (NTS) – The actual sale of real property at the conclusion of a foreclosure proceeding.
Prior to an actual sale date, property owners are often motivated to negotiate with someone who can help solve their short-term problems.
When a property sale has been postponed, many times other investors will lose track of the properties, thus reducing competition at the actual sale.
The pre-foreclosure stage is the stage in the foreclosure process when the property has not yet gone to sale.
20 days prior to sale date Notice of sale is mailed to borrower and required parties involved.
A future sale date will be referenced in the Notice of Sale ("NTS"), filed approximately 90 days after the Notice of Default ("NOD").
In most cases the borrower has tried every possible way to save the property (refinance, borrowing, sale, joint venture, etc.). Auctions typically take place at the civic center or the courthouse of the county where the property is located.
Foreclosure – A legal process in which, against the wishes of the owner, real property is sold to satisfy a public or private debt for which the real property has been pledged as security.
90 Days Notice of Default period ends and Notice of Trustee Sale period begins.
The MLS is fully accessible for any real estate agent, so it is highly recommended that you either get your own real estate license or work closely with an agent you like and trust (after all, a real estate agent is generally paid by the seller, so it’s free for you to use an agent!) However, you don’t need to only rely on your real estate agent to tell you what properties are listed – because you can generally get that information online through many different websites such as,,, or These sites will help you sift through nearly all the listings and give you at least some of the information about the property.
Buying a property during this period known as “pre-foreclosure” is a common technique used by many real estate investors and can be a good way to find motivated homeowners.
This process is known as the “Trustee Sale.” The bidding generally opens with an automatic starting bid of whatever amount is owed on the property, so no – it’s generally not possible to simply go and bid $1 on a property at the courthouse.
Cash Only – Finally, when buying a foreclosure at the courthouse steps, you will need to have all the money the same day to purchase this property.
Although poring over county records is time-consuming, it is one way to find free real estate pre-foreclosure listings, sometimes before anyone else knows about them.
I’ve been to a $2000 weekend real estate investing training seminar and they push PropTrend real hard but I can’t seem to find any good reviews.
If you’re looking for free, comprehensive information, offers some of the best pre-foreclosure listings available.
The state of Virginia does not require a separate pre-foreclosure notice to be filed in order to start the foreclosure process, so there is no lis pendis or NOD filed with the county court.
I am looking for pre-foreclosure listings in Fairfax County, VA.
If you go to and search for Fairfax, VA, then click on “Preforeclosures” (you’ll see the option on the left side of the page), you should find listings for that area.
I’m seeking listings of pre-foreclosures in King County, WA in the north Seattle area.
When a foreclosed house in good shape and in a desirable location gets to market, it often attracts multiple offers, even in this struggling real estate market.
Consequently, many houses receive no bids at auction, and the lender ends up putting the house on the market through a real estate broker.
In both my day job covering the housing market and my own search for a house, I’ve seen what has worked for many buyers of foreclosed homes.
Buying a foreclosed house at a "courthouse steps" auction requires a good amount of knowledge — and cash.
If a house is up for auction with an opening bid far below its current market value, it’s likely to be snatched up by professionals who regularly attend the auctions, armed with stacks of cashier’s checks to pay the full amount.
But a foreclosed house might still be an easier way to get what you want than trying to get stubborn individual sellers to lower their list prices.
In a non-judicial foreclosure state, the lender does not have to operate through the courts and can claim what is known as a 'strict foreclosure', or repossessing the property for the debt owed.
A pre-foreclosure home is a property that is facing foreclosure but has not yet been repossessed by the lender.
While the case is in court, though, the homeowner can negotiate with potential buyers and arrange a pre-foreclosure sale as a way to avoid foreclosure.
A pre-foreclosure property, as mentioned above, is a property that is facing foreclosure due to late mortgage payments.
Finally, online directories like contain lists of properties in all foreclosure states – from pre-foreclosures to foreclosures and REO homes – in all 50 states.
Many buyers go through real estate agents who specialize in foreclosures, but if there’s a particular property you have an eye on, Blomquist says you can approach the lender directly after the foreclosure but before it’s listed for sale.
First of all, if you’re new to the foreclosure market, don’t even think about buying a property at a foreclosure auction, says RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.
If you’re seeking to purchase a foreclosure with an FHA loan, Blomquist says the requirements pertaining to the condition of the property are stricter.
The bank that owns the title isn’t going to make needed repairs for you before the sale, and it’s unlikely to lower the price to compensate you for repair expenses you’ll incur.
Factor the cost of any necessary repairs into your budget, since foreclosures are generally sold “as-is.” “Be aware with these REO or bank-owned properties that a lot of them are in pretty poor condition,” Blomquist says.
The bank is required to pay off senior liens like back taxes, you won’t have to kick out anyone living there and you’ll be able to inspect the homes for damage and figure out how much you’ll need to set aside for any repairs.
An increase in foreclosure activity might sound like bad news, but it’s actually a good sign for these markets because it means the logjam that’s been keeping housing in the doldrums is finally starting to break up.
Prospective buyers can’t inspect the home to determine if there’s any damage — highly likely if the house has been vacant for a while — or find out if there are any senior liens (such as outstanding taxes owed on the property).
To learn more about all aspects of the home buying process, including buying foreclosed homes, fixer-uppers, and others, get Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, by Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, and Marcia Stewart (Nolo).
Auctions often attract hard core investors who have the cash to flip the property (sell within a short period for a profit) and others who’ve been around the foreclosure block a few times.
Here are the pros and cons of buying a foreclosed home at each step in a typical foreclosure process.
Months after the buyer first defaults, assuming he or she doesn’t bring the loan current, the lender attempts to auction off the property.
To search for preforeclosure deals in your area, visit and access the most accurate database of nationwide distressed real estate listings available anywhere.
During this time, the property still belongs to the homeowner, but the lender has initiated foreclosure procedures because payments have not been made and the loan is considered to be in default.
Once you’ve decided on the best loan and how much home you can afford, can help you find your perfect home with our special in-depth library of real estate articles.
REALTOR®,®, the spherical icon of a house within a circular map, the “WHERE HOME HAPPENS” tagline and stylized logo treatments including any one or more of the foregoing are trademarks of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and are used with its permission. can even help you find the best mortgage lenders for your unique home loan needs. will also help you do your homework before you start searching for that perfect home loan.® is the official site of the National Association of REALTORS® and is operated by Move, Inc.
A Foreclosure Estimate is the price Zillow predicts a property will sell for if it’s listed as a foreclosure (bank-owned property or real estate owned).
By analyzing information on thousands of single family homes for sale in California and across the United States, we calculate home values (Zestimates) and the Zillow Home Value Price Index for California proper, its neighborhoods, and surrounding areas .
The lender initiated foreclosure proceedings on this property because the owner(s) were in default on their loan obligations.
The pros and cons of buying a home involved in foreclosure vary with the phase of foreclosure the property is in when purchased.
Use this handy guide to figure out what sort of property is best for you! Also see The Stages and Phases of the Foreclosure Process.
Many buyers associate buying a foreclosure with getting a steal of a deal.
Buying a foreclosed house can mean you get a great deal, but there are some things to watch out for, too.
"if their loan is low and value is high, can i just approach the owners and offer to pay off their debts and default amount?"  Yes, you can.   It isn’t common to find this situation.     If a person has a lot of equity they will tend to sell so they can get the equity themselves rather than give it away to someone like you   There are some very rare exceptions.
The seminar leaders are out in full force, but people who have valuable properties tend to know about it – they have real estate agents sending them mail, knocking on their door, they go to open houses, they have access to Zillow .
By the time a preforeclosure home is listed by a real estate agent as a short sale, the home will most likely be sold at market value.
Another angle is to try to buy a preforeclosure as a short sale prior to the seller listing with a real estate agent.
Some sellers can be current and still do a short sale, so sellers who are current would never really fall into the preforeclosure radar to start with.
Some astute buyers would prefer to negotiate with the seller before the home becomes a short sale.

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