This is a guest post from Claudia Santa who is a marketing analyst at PropertyShark, a New York City-based provider of real estate data such as property reports, lis pendens and foreclosure listings, sales comparables, maps, for sale listings and more.
When a homeowner fails to keep up with mortgage repayments, a lis pendens will be served. Those less familiar with real estate terminology should know that lis pendens, sometimes termed ‘pre-foreclosures’, represent the first step in the foreclosure process. They come in the form of legal notices filed in order to alert other concerned parties that foreclosure might be pending. While this is bad luck for the home owner in question, for others it is an investment opportunity. When a house is in the lis pendens process, it is possible to buy it for a dramatically reduced asking price. Therefore, under the right circumstances it can make for a great investment.
How do I find lis pendens in my local area online?
The best way to find properties subject to a lis pendens in your local area is to get online and find websites that specialize in doing the work for you. You will have all the information you need at your fingertips, including up-to-date lis pendens locations. Not only are these sites updated regularly, but you can receive an email whenever a potential lis pendens investment becomes available in your area or to the specifications that you set.
A fee is usually charged for these services, which will include access to millions of properties, trained staff on hand to advise, and even information on neighborhoods, schools and amenities. You will also have instant access to details of each property itself, including the all-important address, the number of bedrooms, the price, and often photographs of the building.
Onsite, you will have a number of search criteria to choose from including the type of property, the location, a price range, or any combination of such factors, making it very easy for you to find the property you want. While online, you can also find sites that allow you to access your county’s tax and property records. It is also advisable to visit the website of your local county recorder, who may allow a search of current lis pendens properties.
How do I find lis pendens offline?
If you prefer to do the leg work yourself and work offline, finding lis pendens is a little more complicated, tough still doable for the vigilant bargain hunter. The best place to start is to subscribe to a local legal newspaper, as they print all new lis pendens filed at the recorder’s office on a regular basis. Reading such publications will also help you familiarize yourself with all the legal jargon associated with this type of project, which can get confusing at times.
Alternatively you can visit the recorder’s office yourself and gain access to information on the property. You can get information such as who gave the loan, the home owner’s name, interest rates on the property, and how much the loan was initially for. The information will also contain a record number, which will help you gain access to other files of interest such as tax assessment records. This will contain the address and contact details of the home owner, allowing you to approach him or her direct to make further inquiries.