If you are an impulsive buyer, it is not recommended that you attend a real estate foreclosure auction to get a deal on a home (either to live in it or to invest in it). Auctions give off a feeling of urgency worse than bladder after drinking a two-quart bottle of cola. If you’re serious about obtaining property in a particular area, you’d better watch HUD’s foreclosure listings like a hawk.
Click with the mouse
To find HUD foreclosures in your desired area, you must first go to the Housing and Urban Development home page at hud.gov. This will take you through a series of links on how to bid on a HUD home in foreclosure and what is (and is not) included in a HUD home. Most importantly, there is a list of states for HUD’s foreclosure list in those states.
For example, let’s say you want to see all of HUD’s foreclosure listings in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you click on the Pennsylvania link, you will most likely receive a warning that you are leaving the HUD home page to another website. This is no cause for alarm. Click “Go to requested website”.
This will take you to the Pennsylvania HUD approved corridor, Hooks Van Holm. You will see that there is a long list of towns and cities in Pennsylvania, but certainly not a complete list of all towns and cities in the state. These are the only ones who have a HUD foreclosure property. Scroll down to find Lancaster and click on the link. You can also breathe a sigh of relief that your hometown is not on the list (if you reside in Pennsylvania).
You bid on the homes on a HUD foreclosure listing the same way you would for an item on eBay. You have a lot of time to make a decision and you are not pressured. You need to inspect the property yourself and have it checked by a home inspector. Never bid on HUD property without being seen.
The first ten days a HUD property goes up for “auction” is reserved for bids from previous owners (in case some miracle happens in their financial lives) or for people who really want to live in the home. As of the eleventh, the offers are open to real estate investors or “flippers”.