Finding Underpriced Homes

There is more than one way to find a home at a price that is below market value. Here are some tips to aid your search.

Most of us are always on the lookout for a bargain, so it should come as no surprise that we would want to get more than our money's worth when purchasing a house. In order to secure that bargain, there are a number of avenues to check. With a little effort and some careful planning, it is possible to find the ideal home at a reduced price.

The most obvious choice is the one that most people think of when looking for a new home: the local realtor. Persons who are engaged in the business of buying and selling properties for a living will have information about what houses are available in the neighborhoods that interest you. They will know what has been on the market for an extended period, and have some sense of who must make a sale quickly due to a move or other impending circumstances. With properties that have been on the market for some time, it is very plausible that the realtor would be willing to approach the homeowner with a price that is below market value, if there is a sense that the homeowner is growing tired of the whole selling process.

Banks and financial institutions that finance property are often a good place to look for bargains. When a loan had defaulted, the bank often takes possession and has the property available at a price that covers the outstanding amount due on the loan, plus a little more. By alerting your local bank about what type of home you have in mind, they may be able to tap into the network of other local branches and come up with a property that would be very attractive for you, with a price to match.

Another place to check is with your local government office that oversees property tax collections. Properties that have been seized due to non-payment of taxes are often sold off at auctions, and at prices that are far below market value. Make sure you check with your local government and see what qualifications you must meet in order to participate in the auction. In some locales, only incorporated businesses or licensed realtors are eligible to participant. Whatever the case with eligibility, be aware that you must have the resources available at the time of auction to honor your bid.

Private auctions also provide potential opportunities to secure a house for under market value. As an example, family members may wish to dispose of property formerly belonging to a deceased relative, and choose to contract with an independent auctioneer to schedule a date and time for an auction to be held on the property itself. As with dealing with auctions conducted by the local government, make sure you meet the criteria for a buyer that has been established, and have the funds on hand to honor your bid.

Checking your local newspaper is still an option when hunting for a bargain. The added bonus with locating potential homes through the newspaper ad is that many of the ads will include the address of the property. This allows you the opportunity to visit the neighborhood and check out the general appearance of the property before you ever contact the owner.

Online ads are gaining ground as a source to locate properties for sale. By using keywords to narrow your search, you can quickly locate properties in your area that might be of interest. Be sure to type in several key words to modify your search to the section of your city that is of interest.

Many communities are also served by another print resource that may yield some great opportunities. Usually published on a weekly basis, these publications often have names that infer thrift or bargains. In addition to the usual personals, community events, and ads for autos and trucks for sale, they often include a real estate section. Since most of these publications allow individuals to list items for free, chances are that whoever has listed a house will be in the mood to move it quickly.

Your next home may be no further than your local grocery store. Several large chains now promote a bulletin board near the front of their stores. Persons are free to post a small ad for any number of items, including houses. Checking the bulletin boards in stores that are in or near the neighborhood you wish to buy into will enhance your chances of finding properties that interest you. Some chains will only allow an ad to stay up for a week or two, so check the board often for new opportunities.

Good old fashioned word of mouth can yield results also. If you have something specific in mind as far as neighborhood, type of home, number of bedrooms, etc makes sure you let friends, business associates, and acquaintances know that you are actively looking. Everybody likes to network, and you may be surprised at the amount of information that comes your way.

One final measure is to simply get in the car and go for a drive. Look around your favorite neighborhoods and see which homes have a "For Sale" sign in front. Carry along a small notebook, so you can jot down the address, phone numbers and other details listed on the sign, and a short description of the house and property. Follow up on the ones that appeal to you. Keep in mind that a house that is being sold by the owner may very well be available at an excellent price.

Finding the home that is right for you can be quite a task. But with a little effort and creative thinking, you can find a home that is both suitable for your circumstances and a bargain.

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