Pre-Foreclosure Lists: How to Find Them to Close More Deals

Real Estate Investing6 min read

Learn proven and powerful ways to grow your pre-foreclosure list with this real estate investing guide.

Johnpaul Moses
Johnpaul Moses

We’re on the hunt!

So, whether you’re just starting out or have been building experience for years as a real estate investor, REI is as close as you can get to treasure hunting in a city — with pre-foreclosure lists as your coveted maps to hidden treasures. 

See, unlike the overwhelmingly negative feelings that accompany the term ‘foreclosure,’ pre-foreclosures offer a gleam of hope for both distressed homeowners and eagle-eyed investors.

With the right pre-foreclosure list, you’re not just spotting a house; you’re discovering a potential haven of profit, a cornerstone for a beneficial deal for you AND the homeowner, and a stepping stone to further investment victories. 

The most important thing you can do at this stage is to scour pre-foreclosure listings, or otherwise arm yourself with as much information as you can get about where to find your next pre-foreclosure deal 1 and that’s what we’re here to help with. 

Strap in as we dig into what pre-foreclosures are, how you can find a current pre-foreclosure list, and even some tips for talking your way into buying pre-foreclosure lists. 

How Are Pre-Foreclosures Different from Foreclosures?

Pre-foreclosures and foreclosures are 2 distinct territories. 

A pre-foreclosure is the period following a homeowner’s default on their mortgage (too many missed payments), but before the bank reclaims the property. It’s a time of limbo, where the right intervention can prevent a full foreclosure.

On the flip side, a foreclosure happens when the bank has officially taken over the property, erasing the chance for negotiation between the homeowner and potential buyers. Pre-foreclosure lists grant investors the golden opportunity to swoop in, engage with the homeowner, and craft a deal that could save the day. 

Unlike foreclosures, where the bank is your negotiating counterpart, pre-foreclosures allow for more personal interaction and a chance to forge a win-win scenario amidst looming financial peril.

Can You Wholesale Pre-Foreclosures?

Ah, the whimsical world of wholesaling! 

Wholesaling pre-foreclosures is,, indeed a path heavy with potential profit. It’s a strategy where you, the  investor, secure a contract with a homeowner during the pre-foreclosure phase, then pass the baton (or in this case, the contract) to another end-buyer investor for a fee.

That said, with a little diligence and some basic negotiation skills, wholesaling pre-foreclosures can be a rewarding venture, opening doors to more deals and establishing fruitful connections in the real estate sector. Plus, you help out a struggling homeowner. 

Not to mention keeping you in the black while scouting for the next opportunity. Hooray!

Where to Find Pre-Foreclosure Lists

This is what you really want to know, right? 

So, finding out where to get an illustrious pre-foreclosure list is why you’re here, so let’s cut to the chase…

The first thing you need to do is acquire a reliable, current pre-foreclosure list. Here are some places to start your search:

  • Local Newspapers: (Yep, they still exist!) Often, the legal notices section has pre-foreclosure list additions in its pages. It’s old school, but still a gold mine, particularly in areas where there is little competition.
  • Online Real Estate Platforms: Modern-day treasure hunters can explore platforms like Zillow for pre-foreclosures lists.
  • County Clerk’s Office: A trove of pre-foreclosure listings awaits in the meticulous records of your local County Clerk’s Office.
  • Real Estate Networking Events: Mingle with fellow adventurers at real estate events, where shared knowledge could lead to shared pre-foreclosures lists or other lucrative pre-foreclosure listings.

How to Wholesale Pre-Foreclosures

Now that you’ve got your pre-foreclosure list, it’s time to get to work on your pre-foreclosure wholesale deals. Here are the basic steps of the process, and how you make it from first contact to the closing table.

  1. Contact the Owners: Your pre-foreclosure list serves as a gateway to potential leads. Reach out with a blend of empathy and professionalism, understanding the delicate situation they are in and presenting yourself as a solution-provider can set a positive tone for the interactions to follow.
  2. Negotiate a Deal: This step is where the magic happens. Craft a proposal that offers relief to the homeowner while also securing a potential profit for you. It’s an art and a science where understanding the numbers, the laws, and the human element comes into play to create a win-win scenario.
  3. Find a Buyer: Now, showcase the deal to your network of investors. Your ability to present the opportunity compellingly can make all the difference. Someone’s treasure chest is waiting to be filled, and your deal could be the key to unlocking a successful venture for them. 
    1. Side note: Oftentimes, investors have a solid buyers list first — they ask their list about the types of properties they want to invest in, then they go hunting for those specific types of deals to bring back to their end-buyer with a higher chance of it being accepted. Just another way to go about getting deals done.
  4. Close the Deal: Facilitate the transaction, ensuring a smooth handover from the owner to your end-buyer. Oversee the paperwork, adhere to legal protocols, and ensure all parties are satisfied. As the deal concludes, celebrate the win with a little jingle in your pocket, and move on to the next possibility on your pre-foreclosure list.

Script Tips When Talking with Pre-Foreclosure Sellers

Starting a conversation with a potential pre-foreclosure seller can be incredibly intimidating, and it can involve a lot of nuance. It’s like a delicate dance that requires empathy, clarity, and follow-through to be successful. 

Here are some smart tips to help you make your interactions meaningful and fruitful:

  • Be Empathetic: You’re not just offering a deal; you’re providing a potential lifeline. Express genuine concern and willingness to help the homeowner, making them feel at ease in the turbulence of their financial woes.
  • Be Clear: Clarity is your best friend when discussing the intricacies of the deal. Explain the process in simple, understandable terms, outlining how your proposal can be the light at the end of their pre-foreclosure tunnel. 
  • Follow-Up: Consistent follow-up shows your genuine interest and keeps the communication channels open. Sometimes, a gentle nudge can pave the way for a successful deal. 
    • Interesting fact: Research shows that people need to be followed with an average of 7(!) times before they say yes.
  • Practice Active Listening: Your willingness to listen and adapt can turn potential roadblocks into stepping stones toward a fruitful agreement.
  • Stay Positive and Professional: Maintain a positive demeanor and professional conduct, showing that you’re not just chasing a deal, but you’re there to create a solution that’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Wrapping Up: How to Find Pre-Foreclosure Lists

Real estate investing — and the pre-foreclosure investment journey, in particular, is a venture packed with potentially lucrative rewards… 

By hunting down a reliable pre-foreclosure list, a dash of negotiation savvy, and some empathy, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next profitable pre-foreclosure deal.


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