Your Questions Answered
At Ashlar, I firmly b that an educated home buyer or seller is best equipped to make their own decisions. That’s why I take time out of my day each and every day to answer someone’s real estate question. And, when I think the answer can be useful to you as well, I share it here. So without further ado:
Public court records and the auction website for each county are your best bet.
Hillsborough has a web based system.
Pinellas I’m not sure, should also be web based, never specifically looked as it’s never came up.
I can tell you that buying a house at auction is a great way to get WAY in over your head. It is not like buying a traditional house.
For one, you’ll need cash. Immediately. Like within a few hours to put down the deposit. Then you’ll need the remainder also in cash, in full within I believe 3 days. There’s no financing the conventional route.
Second, you get to bid sight unseen with no right to inspect the property.
Third, just because you won the auction doesn’t mean the house has clear title. There can still be plenty of ownership claims, unpaid mortgages (first, second, third), codes compliance fines, open permit issues, mechanics liens, unpaid utilities, and all sorts of fun stuff that attaches to the Property, not the Person that doesn’t always get mopped up when you’re given ownership.
I specifically have a client right now who bought a “steal” at a HOA foreclosure not realizing that mortgages that the foreclosed on person STILL has to be paid or satisfied in some way to be able to sell the property. They’ve been trying to get that resolved since before COVID.
Remember, people don’t usually just stop paying the mortgage… they stop paying EVERYTHING. Sometimes other stuff gets paid off / solved at the foreclosure auction sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it depends on who is actually foreclosing (HOA? Lender?) Don’t know the details of each? Oh well that’s now your problem if you miss something.
To further compound things, there’s not a lot of auctions because currently you can sell a home still for way more than you paid for it, even if you just bought it a year or two ago, payoff the mortgage, and even put some money in your pocket. So there’s high demand on the auctions but low supply. It’s not currently like 2009 where there’s a veritable flood of them.
Short Sales which I consider a slight leading indicator for foreclosures for both Hillsborough and Pinellas have been monthly single digits for couple years now. Like, there was 1 Short Sale on the MLS in November 2022. That’s 1 out of 1200 homes sold, or .08% eight- hundredths percent of the total market.