Some Closure re:Foreclosures


For the last few years, since the proliferation of real estate and real estate related topics on the Internet, I have heard comments about great deals available on foreclosures…usually coming from a buyer’s discovery of said opportunity online. Most of the large aggregator sites…Trulia, Movoto, Realtytrac get info from the public record and publish this data and a great many people think they can buy a house on the water in Foster City for pennies on the dollar. Folks can see, for example, a “pre-foreclosure” opportunity on Grunion Ct in Foster City with an amount of $10,649.00 next to it. Every once in  awhile, I’ll get a call from somebody all excited about the opportunity to buy this type of house for a price like this. Ummm…I think not. There’s a ton of this type of listing out there and what they are in reality are notice of defaults filed. It means that this homeowner is experiencing some kind of financial difficulty, maybe has missed a couple of payments. Maybe the homeowner missed a couple of payments on some other type of note not related at all to the subject property too. In my experience, people don’t lose homes around here for amounts this low. Certainly, you can’t buy it for that low amount.

When I looked at the MLS history on closed property in Foster City since the beginning of 2009 I was surprised to see very few foreclosures. That is, homes that were owned by a bank and sold by them. There have been short sales, but most of those are in smaller condos. All told there were less than 10 foreclosures that actually matriculated in Foster City so far this year. Yet, Realtytrac is showing that there are 281 bank owned properties here. Go figure! Where have they been hiding? Are secret buyers buying them from secret bank representatives? I’m confused.

I’d love to see deeply discounted REO’s hit this market…even though they would get lots and lots of offers. I just don’t think they’re coming. I think folks in trouble have found ways to get out of it. Certainly we would see ALOT more short sales in this market long before we would see REO’s. If there really are 281 bank owned properties, how did we miss 281 (or so) short sales? Did these sellers just all emotionally throw in the towel collectively? As a conspiracy…like they all planned to let their banks take over their homes without trying to sell?

I really don’t know the answer…I just know that it makes no sense that Foster City has a large number of secret foreclosures.


  1. Do you think the banks are holding on to these properties because of the laws preventing such sales, you know, as the government props up housing prices?
    I think lots of foreclosures are still to come, but like you say here again and again, lots of buyers are waiting, and lots of investors are jumping at the bit too. Thus, no such bargains.

  2. Jim Minkey says:

    That’s an interesting question. The numbers in question sure would make it seem like we would know they were there. We would see lots of people move out and there would be lots of vacant homes. Again, we would certainly see homeowners try a short sale before we would see a foreclosure…and we havent.

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