Foreclosures can offer great deals for savvy real estate investors. And although poring over county records or hunting down foreclosure notices in your area can point you toward potential options, finding foreclosures is actually much simpler than that.
Just look to the U.S. government.
Various government agencies foreclose on properties every day. The IRS seizes homes for unpaid tax debts. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) foreclose on homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. Even the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is in the foreclosure game and can be a good source of potential investment properties.
Are you on the hunt for homes to fix and flip or turn into income-earning rental properties? These government foreclosure lists can help:
- HUD: This agency lists its foreclosed properties at HUDHomeStore.com.
- VA: Head to VRMCO.com. Keep in mind that VA-owned homes will largely be located in military-heavy areas (around bases, stations, and so on).
- IRS: Look to Treasury.gov. If you’re looking to purchase other seized items (cars, boats, art, and anything else you can think of), head to the Treasury’s General Property Auctions page.
- USDA: The Department of Agriculture forecloses on properties with unpaid USDA loans. You’ll find single-family properties, multifamily options, and farms and ranches on the agency’s website.
- FDIC: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation lists its seized properties at FDIC.gov. As of this writing, there are no properties currently available via the FDIC. But that could change.
- Army Corps: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seizes properties and lists them at Disposal.GSA.gov. This one has an easy-to-understand map so you can spot properties in your area.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Fannie and Freddie aren’t technically “government” entities but they are (for now) government-sponsored. They list their foreclosures at HomePath.com and HomeSteps.com.
- U.S. Marshals: The U.S. Marshals Service lists its properties through various private sellers, all named on this list. These listings include properties seized by the FBI, DEA, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
You can also look to HomeSales.gov for all kinds of government foreclosures. Fair warning: The site is pretty dated and not the most user-friendly.
Final notes about government foreclosure lists
Government foreclosures can be an excellent source of low-cost, high-potential investment properties. Keep in mind, though, that many agencies require you to use a real estate agent or licensed broker before you can make an offer -- even at public auctions.
If you’re considering buying a government-owned property, you may want to find a local agent with foreclosure experience before diving in too deep.