Preforeclosure listings are wild goose chases for clients a week does not go by where I don’t have a homebuyer contact me from Zillow or RealtyTrac about a “preforeclosure,” a home that’s in the foreclosure process. And these sites that boast preforeclosure listings are doing a huge disservice because buyers are confusing what is available inventory and what is not.
In fact, the entire process of homebuying involving a foreclosure gets confused, too. I think these sites do try to define terms correctly, but for whatever reason, the message is getting missed.
The problem is that listings do not start with Zillow, RealtyTrac, or even realtor.com! The source of all listing data begins with the local MLS. If the MLS does not have the listing, then the property is not for sale. Not even a bank-owned home because banks also list homes through MLSs. But buyers don’t always understand that, and so they waste a lot of time thinking about properties that are not on the market.
Recently, I had a buyer actually ask me when we could go by and see the inside of a preforeclosure property that he found on Zillow; the property was allegedly supposed to be sold on the auction block within a few weeks. I politely told him we could not view the inside because the house was not for sale, and whether or not Zillow had it noted as a preforeclosure, the owner would not be remotely happy if we walked up on his front stoop to ask if we could see the house his home! before he lost it.