Monday, 06 April 2020

Zillow Pre-Market Listings Are Not For Sale

Written by Posted On Thursday, 02 January 2020 07:39
Learn About Zillow Pre-Market Listings - Also Known as Zillow Pre-Foreclosures Learn About Zillow Pre-Market Listings - Also Known as Zillow Pre-Foreclosures

Some Homes Found on Zillow Are Not For Sale

The pre-market or pre-foreclosure feature on Zillow continues to cause confusion among home buyers. Since you have been able to filter Zillow pre-market listings, searchers have been disappointed by the results.

The big problem with this feature is that it shows properties that are potentially going to come on the market. They aren't for sale at the time and they may never be. When they are listed on Zillow in this way, they can, understandably, leave potential home buyers frustrated. I've written on this topic in the past at Maximum Real Estate Exposure in the article about Zillow Pre-foreclosure listings or Zillow pre-market listings.

Working as a real estate agent for the past thirty-three years, I can't even tell you the number of times a buyer has asked me about a property listed for sale on Zillow that is not on the market.

It is painfully frustrating how often this happens. The way Zillow gets information on pre-foreclosure listings is from a company called RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac is a real estate information company, as well as an internet marketplace for foreclosed and defaulted properties in the US.

When a homeowner falls behind in their mortgage payments, they can enter pre-foreclosure. This means an official notice is served to the owner from the lender, and it becomes a matter of public record.

Zillow can take this record and publish it on its website accompanied by a Google Street View image of the home. Zillow also gives some limited information about how much the owner is in default to the lender and the name of the mortgage company involved.

There is nothing the homeowner can do about this to prevent it from being published by Zillow. What is more, the owners of these homes are frequently completely unaware that their home is listed.

However, it is easy for someone browsing the Zillow sales listings to assume that all the properties are actually for sale. These Zillow pre-market listings are misleading the public!

It would be like marketing a coming soon listing that doesn't actually get put up for sale. It is as phony as the shady real estate agent who convinces a homeowner to market their home as a pocket listing but doesn't explain the downsides. You know the type - they care about what's best for them, not the consumer.

The Problem With Zillow Pre-Foreclosure Listings

The biggest issue with Zillow pre-foreclosure listings is the vast majority of these homes will NEVER come on the market. Many of these properties are owned by homeowners who have gotten themselves into a short term financial bind. These folks end up missing a mortgage payment or two. The problem is most of them end up getting current on their mortgage.

In other words, they don't end up in foreclosure. So by publishing this information, Zillow misleads the public on homes that are not actually for sale, and many never will be. Sure they have some fine print that says as much, but so many people miss it.

These property listings are as misleading as Zillow estimates. Anyone who has spent any time looking at properties for sale can tell you how inaccurate their Zillow estimates are. They are the bane of professional real estate agents across the country who are constantly put in the position of explaining their misleading values. Don't be fooled. You could either be over-spending as a buyer or leaving money on the table as a seller.

Let's take a closer look at the stages of foreclosure so you can understand better why the process of a Zillow pre-foreclosure listing actually becoming a real property for sale.

Pre-Foreclosure Process

The process of pre-foreclosure can be a long one, with different factors contributing to the process and lengthening the time it takes. Foreclosures can be different, but they generally come down the same main points.

Missing payments - when the owner of the property starts to fall behind in payments to the lender, it is up to the lender when they choose to begin foreclosure proceedings. This will normally occur when they are 3 to 6 months behind mortgage payments.

Official notice - the lender files a public notice with the County to begin the official foreclosure. This gives the homeowner formal notice that they could lose their home. It is now that the home can find its way onto the Zillow pre-foreclosure listings.

Pre-foreclosure - this period, which can typically last between 30 and 120 days, offers the homeowner the opportunity to dig themselves out of the situation and pay the debt. If they are able to do this, the foreclosure process doesn't continue any further. If not, the lender will move forward to try to recover the money they are owed.

Auction - if the homeowner isn't able to come up with the money during pre-foreclosure, the home will be added to an auction. It can then be sold as long as the owner still isn't able to pay the debt. The owner has the right, depending on the state's rules, to regain the home up until it is sold at auction. This can be an opportunity to purchase if you can find the details of the auction. Buying a house at an auction comes with a significant risk that every home purchaser should understand.

Post foreclosure - if the home fails to sell at auction, it can be listed by a real estate agent through the normal listing services. If you are still interested in the property by the time it has reached this stage, you can make an offer in the normal way. There is quite a bit to know about buying a foreclosure before ever jumping into this kind of transaction.

You can see a helpful summary of the types of foreclosures in the article at Realty Times.

Zillow Pre-foreclosures

If you like a property that is listed as pre-foreclosure, your options are limited. There isn't a real estate agent to contact, and you won't be able to attend a showing of the home. If you like a home found in the Zillow pre-foreclosure listings you will need to bide your time and not stop searching other listings.

There can be other problems with the listings on Zillow. Since they take information from many different sources they are more prone to errors. They can feature incorrect details or information which has changed, leading to properties being shown in the listing though they are no longer pre-foreclosures.

If you are a home buyer who was unsure or curious about the Zillow pre-foreclosures, hopefully, you now understand that they aren't homes you should set your heart on. There may be an opportunity to purchase, but there is a good chance you will miss out. You would be better to look at more viable properties, which are actually for sale.

Other Valuable Realty Times Articles

Use these additional helpful resources when getting involved with your next real estate purchase.

About the author: Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell Metrowest Massachusetts real estate for the past thirty-three plus years. Bill has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade.

His real estate advice has been featured on CNBC, RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame, and others.

Bill covers real estate sales in the following Massachusetts communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

Reach out for his advice anytime.

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Bill Gassett

One of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last decade plus. Providing exceptional real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Metrowest Massachusetts area including the following communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

See my real estate website at Maximum Real Estate Exposure - one of the most visited real estate sites in Massachusetts.

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