Where the Foreclosures Are

cheap-house.jpgWhat’s the best way to find foreclosed properties? Plenty of sites charge fees to get you a list of bank-owned homes. You can visit individual banks and lenders to get lists, but that’s time-consuming.

I came across a cool blog that features a  list of homes owned by good old Countrywide. Click here for the link.

The blog keeps a running tally of the Countrywide foreclosures in the U.S. At this moment, that total is 15,007, including 4,293 in California. You can click on individual listings that include addresses, pictures and a contact number for more information.

It also includes links to properties owned by about a dozen lenders, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

If you plan on buying a bank-owned property, do your homework. One good place to start is this list of tips from AOL. Most important: Don’t commit to anything until you’ve inspected the house thoroughly.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors this week reported that nationwide sales of existing single-family homes and condos fell to a nine-year low in January, while median prices fell for the fifth straight month. In these uncertain times, a bargain-priced bank-owned house could be the way to go.

Recent Redfin posts:
What Not to Do If You’re Losing Your Home
It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Sky Garden!

  • http://www.propertyshark.com Brian

    Also, we would suggest looking through a detailed property report to assess any permits or violations filed on the property. And running comps of similar properties that recently sold should at least give a boundary of what the foreclosure might be worth, after adjusting for risk. Finally, it’s a good idea to browse our thousands of properties in LA with a Notice of Default, as these can be researched before they ewnd up in a Trustee Sale.

  • http://losangeles.redfin.com/blog/author/cindy.allen Cindy Allen

    Thanks for the additional advice, Brian. I think Property Shark is a great site; I link to you guys all the time. You provide information the agents won’t give! I give you guys props whenever I can.

  • Pingback: L.A. Area Hit with Steep Price Decline | Redfin Los Angeles Sweet Digs

  • Vickie Coleman

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  • http://www.Kens411.com Ken Brand

    Radical change is REALLY hard to deal with when you’ve never had Radical change to deal with before.  Competition is always threatening.  I feel threatened competitively, and I should, it drives everything and everyone who is In-It-To-Win-It forward and upward.  And of course, most certainly not the last. Who ever sits on the sidelines and watches will get stuck there.  Thanks for the update.

  • http://mocorealestate.com/ Bruce Lemieux

    Glenn – This program has more than a whiff of dishonesty on several levels.  You are indexing agent names, so a Google search for an agent will now show the Redfin Scouting report.  And what’s on the top of that page – Refin agents.  Why do you think it’s necessary to take this SEO approach? How does driving traffic to your site from a search of an agent in a competing broker help improve the industry?

    The two metrics you calculate for listing agents are average days on market and average price change.  I assume that you show these two metrics along with the detailed transactions so consumers can evaluate the effectiveness of the agent.  Are these metrics really that helpful to consumers?  What about the agents who take tons of listing and don’t actually sell?  That’s a huge problem in the industry.  Yet you don’t calculate the % of homes sold.  When I look at your listing numbers, they aren’t great.  Is that why this metric isn’t included?

    Based on your last statement, it sounds like you expect – and welcome – other brokers to publish their interpretation of performance for all competing brokers – including yours.  Do you believe that a plethora of new MLS-based agent ‘scouting reports’ is good for consumers?  I hope that you don’t suggest that Redfin is the only broker with the moral authority to take on this industry role.

    • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

      I’m going to have to agree with Bruce about the SEO implications of this. You are already on first page search results for many agents with this scouting report, clearly receiving search engine clicks for the names of your competitors. There should not be permanent search engine-indexable profiles on your site for your competitors unless they consent to it.

      And if you are going to point this lens at everyone, how about a little consistency with your own agent profiles, which show different and less data than your competition.

      • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

        Our agent profiles show every field that is included for those of other agents, so far as I know. What data are missing Kevin?

        And yes, we also show data from customer reviews that we don’t show for other agents; do you want us surveying other agents’ customers, or should we refrain from showing reviews for our own agents?

        And what would you honestly have us do with regards to Google? Should we take every listing from another agent out of the Google index, and every agent profile out of the Google index, so that we can all pay Trulia for traffic?

        • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

          Your agent profiles don’t break out sellers vs. buyers, yet everyone else’s does. The implication people are drawing here is that you are trying to hide your weaker seller data. 

          I want listings to be found everywhere, and that is the compromise we make be entering into MLS IDX agreements. Those listings are transient for a few months. You’ve now put up permanent profiles by agent name/brokerage that is sure to rank high in SERPs for their names because your site has great SEO authority. Long term, I value the SERPs for agent names to be critical, and want to control where they appear.

          This is going to drive search results for your competitors to your site, not theirs. Zillow and Trulia allow you to craft a profile to direct people to where they can reach you and they are not competitors. Would you like profiles of Redfin agents to show up in SERPs if they were on Windermere.com? This can be changed by either a noindex or putting the page behind a logon, but that would take 100s of thousands of your pages out of the index.

          • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

            I stand corrected on your agent profiles. You’ve got to click the little filters link to ferret out the seller data. I think you need to represent it in the same way for everyone, with seller/buyer data readily listed up top, not behind an obscure link. The fact that I didn’t catch it in over a week of looking at is probably a good indication of the usability. (or a short attention span on my part)

          • http://mocorealestate.com/ Bruce Lemieux

            I’m rather clueless on how Google does anything.  If I Google Nancy Gudino, the #1 hit is her facebook profile, then linked-in, then Century 21 directory, and then #7 on page 1 is Redfin’s Scouting Report.  When I click it, I see a map of Nancy’s sales, some metrics, and pictures of Redfin and Redfin partners prominently displayed at the top.  So by trying to find Nancy, I get an ad for Redfin.  I’m guessing that Nancy — or Century 21 — didn’t opt-in to run display ads for Redfin.  It doesn’t seem right.

          • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

            Kevin, profiles of all Redfin agents do in fact let consumers separately see statistics for buyers and sellers. Have you visited the profiles lately?
            And yes, I would be very, very happy if Windermere.com showed objective information about Redfin agents, and I would even be fine if those pages showed up first in Google. You must have seen the reports on Redfin agents. 7 of the top 10 spots in King County are held by Redfin agents:http://blog.redfin.com/seattle/2011/07/seven_redfin_agents_in_the_top_ten_in_king_county.htmlBut most of the Scouting Report pages on Redfin require registration, as you know, since you probably are familiar with the MLS VOW policies that license the bulk of the data to us. This means that the pages won’t be indexed in Google.And of course, where Windermere or you are concerned, Redfin doesn’t even offer a Scouting Report, since the Seattle-area MLS doesn’t allow it. What’s really bothering you?

          • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

            I know that it is not allowed in Seattle, but I’m not going to bow out of a discussion on a formative industry issue that is going to affect us sooner or later.

            I’m fully aware of the VOW policies and restrictions and realize that some markets will not allow scouting reports to be indexed. However, so far you have stuffed the Google index with 168k agent profiles, even for ones where the actual report is hidden behind a logon. I think it is wrong to load the Google index with agent profiles which ostensibly lead to ads for your agents and offer no sort of even basic contact information for the competitor. My opinion of this would change if you didn’t compete directly on the brokerage business or source your data from cooperative agreements.
            I’m on the record saying that I like the scouting reports and use this sort of data to expose boasts by “neighborhood experts” all the time. I would like to see the data in our market, but I don’t endorse the SEO implications in the way you have currently implemented it. MLS agreements hinge on sharing listings, and there are necessary compromises to give us all a full inventory of homes, but I don’t agree that this extends to creating indexable agent profiles that are outside of our control. MLS membership should not imply that I immediately have an agent profile on my direct competitor’s site that bubbles up high on SERPs, potentially higher than my own pages.

            I think you need to unify the UI on agent stats between your agents and your competitors. The obscure “filters” link is far from easy to find, and it certainly appears that you are trying to hide something on your agents, even if that is not the case. More than one commentator missed this.

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      We’re not allowed to show an agent’s performance at selling listings, per the MLS. If you look at the picture of the version we originally developed for ourselves, you’ll see that we wanted to:

      http://blog.redfin.com/blog/2011/05/hey_beautiful_upload_your_photo.html
      And I still would if we could. So far as I know, Redfin’s record of selling our listings is higher than the industry average, at least in part because we only agree to list 1 in 3 of the people who ask us to sell their home: our agents make no money on a listing that sells with an unhappy customer, so the conversations that we tend to have during the in-house listing consultation are more frank.

      If we wanted to replace the agent’s page with our own profile of him in Google and elsewhere on the Internet, we would allow photo upload and the like. 

      And I think every broker has the authority to publish objective data about agent performance. I just don’t think that non-brokers do. If we don’t do it, media sites will, and they’ll charge you to advertise there. 

      • Renee Burrows

        I don’t know who you are speaking about “we” in the Las Vegas market.  How many deals has Redfin brokered in our market?  I mean BROKERED.  Your partner agents work for other brokerages. 

         If you want to be transparent you need to post your own brokerage’s stats – not hide behind the skirt of a “partner agent” who maybe closing their own deals and their own broker’s deals too.I hear you are a really nice and great guy but if you want to speak of transparency and objectivity you should probably be providing it yourself.

        • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

          We provide every detail on every deal our own agents and our partner agents do Renee. But you make an excellent point about our Las Vegas business; we need to offer direct service there soon, and I’m very sorry that don’t yet.
           

          • Renee Burrows

            Now it has me listed with the wrong brokerage.  It was fine before (just missing new construction and my rental data).

            http://www.redfin.com/scouting-report/Renee-Burrows/93040

            Since you guys can’t seem to get it right I want my profile OFF your site.  Thanks in advance.  I have requested this in email also.

      • http://mocorealestate.com/ Bruce Lemieux

        A simple, MLS measure of a listing agent’s effectiveness is
        listings closed vs. total listings taken.  If you have the ‘Withdrawn’ and
        ‘Expired’ (and other equivalent status’ in other MLSs), then this can be
        calculated.  It’s an important metric.  When asked if you had
        permission to publish agent stats, Bryan Selner wrote “this is a new
        service, so the licensing guidelines don’t explicitly anticipate what we have
        done.”  Yet you infer that your MLS agreements specifically say you
        can’t publish the ratio of homes sold vs homes taken?  These two positions
        don’t reconcile to me.

        But that detail really doesn’t matter.  What I can’t get my head around is
        how you independently chose to push agent views of MLS data to your public
        website without explicit permission from the brokers.  Your argument seems
        to be “we have the agent data, and since most MLS’ don’t specify this use,
        we’re going to publish it. And we need to do this or media sites
        will.”  For a company built on such high ideals, this is not
        convincing.

        When an agent sits down with a home seller, the home seller give the broker
        explicit permission to advertise their home on the MLS.  And each MLS has
        rules that all brokers must follow to display the listing data in a fair
        consistent manner. That’s how brokers can compete yet still cooperate in a
        consistent manner.

        Where in the process did an agent – or a broker – sit down and agree that it’s
        OK for another broker to display — and profit from – their MLS metrics? 
        They did not.  For some reason, you don’t think this little detail is
        important at all.  I just don’t get it. 
        I do hope that MRIS continues to deny this unintended use of our MLS
        data.

        • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

          Bruce, if you’re a broker, you know that the rules specifically prohibit publishing data about withdrawn and expired listings. I would love nothing more than to publish close-rate data; it drives me crazy that we decided we couldn’t.

          The way that brokers decide what data can and cannot be published is via the MLS rules. If we as brokers decide not to share this data, we’ll change the rules.

          If we change the rules, you can then just pay media sites that build an agent directory to promote you over the next highest bidder. I understand the appeal of that, but I think it’s the wrong way for us all to go.

          • http://mocorealestate.com/ Bruce Lemieux

            So a better way to go is to have your company use MLS data to put over 1 million agent names and their sales history from competing brokers on your for-profit website. So when a consumer lands on Redfin’s site from an agent name search, they see a page that prominently advertises Redfin agents. Click on one of the agent’s active properties, and the visitor is invited to contact a Redfin agent to see the property. At no time is a visitor given a way to contact or learn more about the agent. You argue this will improve the industry.

            What about the home seller who wants to contact the top agents who actually do business in his neighborhood, area or zip code. He goes to the scouting report and can do…. nothing. If the seller has a list of names, he can check each one individually, but he is given no method to be introduced to the most effective agent in his area. He will, however, be invited to contact Redfin agents. This will improve the industry.

            A couple meets Mary Smith with Century 21 at an open house. They like Mary a lot, so they decide to hire her. But first, they check the Redfin scouting report. Mary Smith isn’t there. No sales at all. How disappointing, yet another deceiving agent. Mary doesn’t get the call. Mary doesn’t know that her stats on Redfin’s site are not under her married name. She makes sure it’s correct on Century 21’s site, but Mary doesn’t know (or have time) to check other broker’s sites who publically display her sales stats. No one else is checking to make sure that Mary’s stats are correct. So if she doesn’t catch mistakes, no one else will. This will improve the industry.

  • Leslie Ebersole

    It is worth it if at the end of the day you get it right? For goodness sakes, for 1000s of years, people from the Bolsheviks to the Maoists to Federalists have fallen back on this excuse: “We’re trying to change the world, so it’s excusable to damage people along the way”? 

    Really?

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      If we have unfairly damaged you, let us know and we will make it right. I and many other folks have spent all weekend responding to every individual who has had a problem, to make sure we are fair. We do not accept the Bolshevik idea that we can unfairly harm individuals in the name of a greater good. 

  • Leslie Ebersole

    I wondered what I would have to throw out there to get a reaction…but you guys are good at that, so some of us are struggling to learn toss and burn in communications. 
    As a broker participant in MRED (the MLS for northern Illinois), you are required to accurately portray data. Unlike the data aggregators who compete for ad revenue, you are seeking competitive advantage for your brokerage.  The standards for broker participation exceed those of the advertisers. The burden of proof is on you as the initiator of the communications — and not on me, the an unwilling respondant.

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      I agree that we should adhere to higher standards of accuracy than media sites. If your profile is incorrect, or if anyone else’s is, please let us know.

      I think all brokerages seek competitive advantage, and we all operate using the same data and the same rules, both from the MLS. Is that unfair?

  • Leslie Ebersole

    The image of a bug crawling into the code is a whimsical and charming image, but hardly the prop of corporate credibility that this sort of error requires.

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      A bug is a bug, and it happens in the largest and most august corporations because someone made a silly mistake. We are not large nor august, but we should have done better, and I’m sorry we didn’t.

  • Loreena Yeo

    Glenn Kelman – How about giving the opportunity of individual agents and brokerage companies to choose participation of your camaraderie?

    Some agents/ brokerages may welcome your idea of leveling the playing field, but who do you think you (Redfin) are to make the judgment call for ALL of us?

    I emailed Matt Gover for my name and brokerage to be removed. I should be able to do that if I choose not to parade around.

    ******************
    Real estate aside, if I chose to publish everyone’s income/ salary/ household budget on my website just because I can, how do you think each of those individuals feel?

    Golden rule – Do to someone else as you want done unto you. You may not care so you do it. But many of us do – being parade around like this.

    I’m not asking you to stop this. But what I’m asking you is what will it take for those of us who do not want participation in this manner for you to stop?

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      We take the Golden Rule seriously Loreena, and thank you for your comment.

      I don’t think that individual employees should have their income published to the world, and we of course have not disclosed to anyone your gross commissions let alone your actual income. 

      I do tend to think that anyone who runs her own business is subject to a different level of scrutiny, because you compete in an open marketplace in which customers want to evaluate your performance so they can choose whether to patronize your business.

      That said, I read your comment feelingly. I will consider an opt-out, though it is not likely we will pursue it just because comprehensive data is so important to consumers. So long as we are fair and truthful, we have to worry about serving consumers first.

      • Loreena Yeo

        Glenn,

        If you and I became friends under different circumstances, had a conversation over coffee and I asked -

        (1) Why are you doing this? And what gives you the right to put another person under “scrutiny”, what would you say?
        (2) My avg DOM is incorrect. Beyond that, I didn’t bother to see if my transactions are correct or not. After having reading comments after comments about needing to apologize, at what point do you consider this more trouble than what it’s worth?
        (3) As agents, we have ALOT of education with the consumers, why create another error for your collegues to have to explain? I can explain what I need to competently in my meetings with my clients. Even publishing avg DOM means nothing, as many have shared.
        (4) Is this the strategy of Redfin trying to gain market share, Internet hits on searches, etc.?
        (5) Is Redfin taking the premise that most agents are out there to lie, therefore needing the set the record straight?
        (6) Lastly, don’t forget. I am not a Redfin employee and neither am I a referral partner. What gives you the right to include those who do not want to join your charade. You are a brokerage just like mine. You make rules for your company. You cannot assume everyone wants to be a part of your game.

        Even living in this democratic country, we have a voting process. Since when Redfin took the liberty of making decisions for ALL just because we belong to a club/ membership?

        You cant publish how much I make because there’s NO WAY you can figure that out. But based on your track record of “serving customers first”, I bet you would if you could. Isn’t that the truth?

        Glenn, I have nothing against you. I dont know you enough to know I like or don’t like you. But you are now coming into my house to tell me what is right or wrong – very lovingly, I’m going to tell you – stop bothering me and those who do not want this.

        • Loreena Yeo

          By the way, Glenn – it should have been opt-in, not opt-out.

      • http://twitter.com/TonyG5003 Tony Gilbert

        Hi Glenn…I’m not going use this website to get into the specific reasons as to why I personally disagree with this – I’m confident it will all get worked out eventually, one way or another.

        Regardless, I wish to point something out – which I think is adding further insult to injury for those who have legitimate concerns (and not because they are trying to hide anything).

        It is Redfin’s repeated comments that they are doing this to “Serve the Consumer,” as you state again in your comment above. I have worked directly with the public all my adult life, and have owned multiple consumer-oriented businesses. I am quite certain that “consumers” can easily read between the lines.

        The fact is, that the only interest Redfin has here is their own – and this is of course, totally understandable – Redfin is a business, NOT a public service. So… if you believe so strongly in this new functionality, then OWN IT! Please do not continue to patronize real estate professionals (and consumers) by implying this is somehow being done out of the kindness of your heart. It’s business – not charity.

        I realize this is a bit like walking a tightrope from a PR perspective. I certainly don’t envy you. :)

  • http://SeattleHome.com Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com

    I actually like the Scouting Report idea, but the roll-out has been a disaster.  Kudos to your programmers for an amazing interface, though. I’d have been ok with my stats being published if this had been accurate from the beginning, but it’s far from it, and you’ve burned a lot of bridges with the agents about whom you’ve published inaccurate information.

    This is what Microsoft historically took heat for:  pushing out a product to the public and fixing it later.  Creating different user interfaces for other companies doesn’t exactly smell like transparency, either, but I’ll certainly give you that it’s your call.  You probably could have gotten buy-in from a lot of MLS organizations had there been some more due diligence and cooperation.  Instead, you’re reinforcing the old ”bull in a china shop” reputation, breaking the rules you agreed to and displaying a lack of concern for accuracy.

    Next time, check the data policies you signed upfront (don’t you guys have a legal team?) and test it before making it live.  We’re supposed to be cooperating professionals as well as competitors.  Don’t forget the former.

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      We tested it but not enough Sam, I apologize. Your point is well-taken about cooperating and competing at the same time; we thought the Scouting Report was fair and we still do.

      As for the bugs, I think there is a significant difference between Microsoft shipping a product and addressing problems months or years later and Redfin, which corrected the only problem that affected most brokers on the same day that it surfaced.Were your stats published?

      • http://SeattleHome.com Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com

        Thanks for responding, Glenn. No, our MLS doesn’t allow our stats to be published, but I wouldn’t mind it.  I like the idea and the innovation.  You’ve corrected some problems, true, and you’ve been expedient about it so far. 

        I think you’ll just receive a whole lot of backlash as agents realize they’re being profiled on a competitor’s site, without their permission (especially if their track record is being portrayed incorrectly).  It’s definitely your right to do it if it’s within the MLS data policy rules.  It will certainly be good for your publicity and SEO, but may set you back again within industry relationships.

  • http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com Jay Thompson

    “Wrong Brokerage for Some Phoenix Agents: Fixed Today!”

    I beg to differ. At this moment in time, you are showing 15 of my 34 agents with either no brokerage or the wrong brokerage affiliation.

    That’s an error rate of 44%.

    If you can’t get something as simple as an agent’s brokerage correct, one can not help but wonder just how inaccurate the rest of your reporting is…

    • The_Tim

      Thanks for the heads up, Jay.  We’ve fixed the code but our site has to do a full pull of all the data from ARMLS to correct all of the brokerages.  It’s running right now, and it looks like your agents are all fixed up already.  Note that you may need to clear your browser’s cache for the correct brokerage to show up for you.

    • http://mocorealestate.com/ Bruce Lemieux

      This is great news for Jay.  Now that his agent’s data is correct, there will never be the need to periodically perform a detailed agent-by-agent check to insure that it stays correct. That’s one of the wonderful things about IT systems.  Once you get it right the first time, it never changes.  I can’t foresee any future event that might alter the accuracy of this data.  Future changes to ARMLS’s data feed, server upgrades, upgrades to application software, network changes, turnover in Redfin’s technical staff – none of these would ever have an impact on the accuracy of Jay’s agent performance on Redfin’s site.  And if it did, Redfin would proactively identify and correct the problem before Jay even noticed. Like in this case.

      • Renee Burrows

        MmmmHmmmmm.  Love your tongue in cheek approach.  Mine was fine and all of a sudden it reverted back to an old brokerage.

  • Greg Swann

    > Both recommended that the buyer’s agent contact the MLS compliance department to get credit for representing the buyer in that sale. These MLSs have a process for this type of issue and will work with both agents to get it fixed.

    For what it’s worth, we have never bothered to correct a listing where we were not properly identified as buyer’s broker, and I expect we never will. MLS data is inherently unreliable, and we tend not to lend it much credence for any purpose.

    I like it that you’re doing this. I especially like the notion of exposing the marketing “magic” behind big-foor listers — nothing but price cuts. But my expectation is that the “What? Me? Accountable?” wing of the NAR will kill this idea in short order.

    I’m ready when you are, Glenn, if you want to do something meaningful to empower real estate buyers and sellers: All we have to do is get rid of the co-broke and the whole landscape changes.