If you see a property labeled as a foreclosure on websites like Zillow or Trulia, you might be in for a rude awakening. Here’s what you need to know.

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Recently, we’ve been receiving a lot of calls about buyers finding foreclosure and pre-foreclosure listings on sites like Zillow and Trulia.

What you need to know is that properties that show up under those categories on Zillow and Trulia are actually not available to purchase. If a property is in pre-foreclosure, that means that the owner might have been late on their payments at some point, but the property is not even under foreclosure yet. If it does go into foreclosure, that still doesn’t mean that the property is available for purchase. In Michigan, an owner has six months to a year to redeem their mortgage.

Further still, when I see those listings on Zillow, the information is actually quite inaccurate. The properties may have been foreclosed upon a couple years ago. The owners might have already redeemed it, or someone else might have bought it.

"If it does go into foreclosure, that still doesn’t mean that the property is available for purchase."

When a bank does actually follow through with the foreclosure process at the end of the redemption period, they will take the property over and it will become a bank-owned property. At that time, an asset manager for the bank is going to put it on the market with an agent, so it will show up as a property for sale. Those are the only “foreclosures” that you’ll be able to buy.

I apologize on behalf of Zillow and Trulia for their foreclosure and pre-foreclosure information. It’s really horrible that those homeowners have to deal with cars driving by their house all the time when they may not actually even be in foreclosure.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to have a conversation with you.