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SECTION II – HOUSE HUNTING Previous Page | Next Page


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House Hunting Resources

It is important for home shoppers to know how to find houses that are available for sale in the community which they have elected to buy. There are many different resources available to the home shoppers. The following are a few of those resources:

Online sites such as or allow you to view millions of homes right from your computer screen. Access to multiple listing services used by the realtors makes these system truley amazing. The last property I bought I found online. If you just want to locate a realtor these online sites will fill your need as well.

Most local newspapers have daily classified ad sections which feature area homes for sale. Real Estate firms often advertise homes that are for sale in newspapers. Usually weekend editions have expanded coverage and often indicate "Open Houses" which are being conducted in the area. Newspapers also list "For Sale By Owner" or "Builder" ads in the classified section.

The Real Estate Shopper Guide are specific real estate magazines which typically feature selected homes for sale in an area. These are usually printed weekly or monthly, and are often available in vending machines, grocery stores, convenience stores, and banks. Real Estate Shopper Guides are helpful because they generally have full color pictures and detailed information about the homes for sale in the local area.

The homebuyer can drive through an area and find "For Sale Signs" in front of houses that are available. This is also a good way to spot unadvertised "For Sale By Owner" properties. Homebuyers should let friends and relatives know of their plans to purchase a house. Sometimes through networking, homebuyers can find homes before they come on the market and are available to the public.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)--Both HUD and VA offer acquired properties for sale to the general public. The homebuyer should understand that these homes are usually sold "as is", and often are in need of repair. The homebuyer may have difficulty finding a lender that will allow financing for both the purchase and required repairs for these properties.

Local lending institutions may have foreclosed homes in their inventory. Interested parties should contact the lender’s Real Estate Owned (REO) office to find out if any are available. In some cases, Lenders may be willing to offer homebuyers special financing incentives in order to sell these houses.

Many local municipalities confiscate property for delinquent taxes. These homes are often auctioned monthly or quarterly and sold to the highest bidder. Information on available properties can usually be obtained from Tax Assessment Departments or from Community Development Departments.

  • Estate Auctions – Many Times when someone dies with no heirs, or files bankruptcy, the property is auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. Homebuyers who may be interest in estate auctions should be aware that buying a house at an auction usually requires an immediate closing. If the homebuyer is financing the purchase of the property he/she may need to be approved for a mortgage before bidding on the house. In many cases, these sales require that the purchase be made in cash.
  • Owners of Record – Sometimes homebuyers may find homes that are obviously vacant, but not advertised for sale. Interested parties should find out who the owner is by contacting the local land records office. Sometimes writing the owner, and informing him or her that you are interested, can result in a sale.
  • In some area, non-profit housing agencies and foundations have been established to develop or renovate housing and make it available for low-to-moderate income families. Homebuyers should check with the applicable state housing agency to see if such programs are available in the desired communities.
  • Other Places – Call the State Housing Agency for a list of their properties for sale. If you see a house that looks vacant, call the local land records office to get the name of the owners. If you are successful in reaching the owners, you may be able to buy the house at a reduced price.

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Table of Contents | Homebuyer Course Start Page | Find A Realtor | Budgeting To Buy a Home | Neighborhoods | Find Your First House | Inspect Before You Buy | Shop For a Mortgage Loan | Mortgage Home Loan Process | Credit Score and Credit Report | Home Mortgage Loan Closing | Being a Home Owner

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