Monday, July 7, 2008

One Subscription, Two Purposes

I was a little skeptical a couple weeks back when looking at the big spike in foreclosures and NODs in the surrounding neighborhoods. I was using the free search from and thought some listings might be duplicates (but you have to pay the $$ to really know). So I signed up for the three day trial at based on Mr.Mortgage's recommendation.

While the data was slightly different, the results were more or less the same. Best I could tell, neither service had complete and up to date info, without duplicates. All three foreclosure information services that I know of, charge about $50 a month for a subscription, which is pretty steep for an non-investor/home buyer (gratefully I found someone to help subsidize my subscription). kinda pissed me off cause they won't tell you how much their service costs unless you put in all kinds of personal information first, so I didn't even bother considering them.

I plan to sign up this week, for two reasons. First and foremost, to make sure my landlord is paying the mortgage (I see it as a small insurance policy). And second, to get better information on the NODs and foreclosures prior to them hitting the MLS.

Anyone have a recommendation for a better foreclosure info site before I sign up with


Sean said...

Hello Average Buyer,

We'd love to have you as a customer. A couple of things to note that sets us apart from the other services that you mentioned:

1. We track the auctions as well as the filings at the county recorders office. Because of this we will tell you about new REO properties weeks ahead of the other services, and we remove canceled foreclosures.

2. We have over 30 search criteria so you can search by things like the age of the loan (properties with older loans tend to have more equity).

3. We give you more tools for saving and managing properties, as well as analyzing market activity.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact our support team, they'd be happy to help.

Best Regards,
Sean O'Toole

Buying Time said...

Wow! Thanks Sean.

If I could make a suggestion. It would be really great if you could offer a basic homebuyer service that allows for searches in 3 or fewer zip codes.....for like $10 a zip code a month.

It would be perfect for folks like us who are in the market for a home but are hesitant to shell out the $50 a month.

NeuronNerd said...

I have realty trac. It is $50/month.

Signed up mostly so I could get an early warning on possible eviction if the landlord quits paying the mortgage. Also for an eye towards possibly buying a house.

I agree it's rather a lot, but better than finding out short notice that I have to find a new place to live and move my family on very short notice, particularly since my husband sometimes travels out of the country for weeks at a time for work.

I haven't looked at any of the others.

I have definitely noticed some errors and things not being updated, and they're not really that rare, like the house on my small block getting foreclosed has the wrong place on the map and the wrong satellite photo, or searching on a street I was interested in but not getting any matches, but then finding it on their map but no address attached to the little house icon. Since I haven't looked at the other services I can't say if it is better or worse.

I will say that I find the search engine kind of klunky. I would prefer a Zillow-style search engine that has the NODs/NTS/REO data integrated. The way it is set up, it is more cumbersome to find the comps data, and to search on things like whether or not it's got a pool, and I find I have to keep another tab open with zillow or trulia up and cross reference.

They also seem to sell your info. I've had a couple of unwanted calls from realtors trying to be my "foreclosure coach" (no thanks).

I like Sean's blog. Maybe I'll switch if he's $50 too.

Buying Time said...

Thanks NeuronNerd. Your review is making my decision much easier!

We are looking at the service for the exact same reasons as you. My husband travels a lot, and with two small kids, moving on short notice would be incredibly disruptive.

Steve said...

Somebody needs to start a service that will email you if your rental appears on a default or foreclusure list.

Patient Renter said...

Somebody needs to start a service that will email you if your rental appears on a default or foreclusure list.

Yea. Ultimately, that would make any of our lives easier.

Buying Time said...

I will read the terms of use for ForeclosureRadar to see if it prohibits me from doing this for Average Buyer readers. I imagine it does, but it is worth a look.

rtcommunications said...

I really appreciated reading the comments here, particularly the feedback about our service, RealtyTrac. We are always looking for ways to improve the service. I will pass the feedback mentioned here along to our product group, but feel free to contact me directly if any of you have other feedback.

We do run all the foreclosure properties in our database against sales data on a daily basis to see if they have been sold -- and remove them if they have.

Our daily e-mail alerts allow you to enter a zip code and be notified of new foreclosures in that zip code. And you can save properties to a Preferred List so you can easily monitor them for updates.

We also have an Advanced Search that allows you to target your search more effectively based on myriad criteria, including foreclosure status, beds, baths, square footage, auction date, and more.


Daren Blomquist
Marketing Communications Manager
RealtyTrac said...

I have been using Foreclosure Radar for a couple months now and find its information really valuable. I really like its robust search capabilities and ease of and I are probably using it for different purposes, but as an information hound it can't be beat.