Financial institutions such as Fannie Mae, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, RealtyTrac and Chase all have search functions that allow users to find foreclosure, also known as real estate owned, properties. Banks typically own these properties after previous owners default on mortgage loans.
Fannie Mae has a special feature for homebuyers to have priority when purchasing a foreclosure. The FirstLook Program allows buyers to examine a home listing within the first 20 days of the property's sale. Eligible buyers include owner-occupants, public entities and some non-profit agencies. The basic search for Fannie Mae includes address, ZIP code, city, MLS number, price, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Homebuyers for real estate-owned property go through a different process than normal mortgage applicants, according to Bank of America. Everyone must prequalify and work with a real estate agent to get a Bank of American REO loan. This process occurs for investment buyers after Fannie Mae's initial time period elapses.
RealtyTrac claims to have foreclosure listings for 2,200 counties in the United States. This website narrows searches by state, then by county and then finally by street address in various cities. Each website that offers a foreclosure search allows buyers to login and create an account. These accounts save searches, compare listings and create email alerts when new houses become available with certain search criteria.