Too good to be true when it comes to FREE foreclosure websites

I see all these advertisements for FREE foreclosure websites that provide lists of homes that are in foreclosure. I was curious to know how accurate these sites were, so I compared them with my own list. I gathered my personal list of foreclosures in Coconut Grove by painstakingly going through the homes listed on the Multiple Listing Service one by one to see which ones were bank owned.No Free Lunch Version 2

Here is what I found out:

I came up with many more homes in foreclosure by searching the MLS one by one, than the free websites did. These companies that offer free foreclosure information have a search engine (similar to a Google search) do a search of the homes listed on the MLS. They set up a program that will search for words such as “foreclosure”, “bank owned”, “short sale” etc. in the MLS data. The problem here is that the search engines are only designed to pick up homes with those key words. And if a property doesn’t have those key words in their data sheet the computer won’t pick it up. Also, I saw some Realtors misspell the word “foreclosure” so their property didn’t come up in the free website’s search engine.

The opposite also happened. Some homes came up on the free website that were not actually in foreclosure. Again, because these sites are using computer programs to do the searches, there are errors. Some homes came up that read “pre-foreclosure” which is not actually a bank owned property yet. But because they contained the word “foreclosure” they popped up in the results. Another one that came up on the free site was a property that said “bank of french doors that leads to patio”. Because the site is programmed to pick up a home with the word “bank”, this property popped up in the results.

The moral of this story……

There is no free lunch.

Computers still cannot replace old fashioned hard work.

If you are interested in foreclosures in your area, you should talk to a realtor.