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Overview of the Foreclosure Process
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Estimate the value of the property
Once you have focused on a property, you need to determine how much you are willing to pay for it. There are several tools to help you:

  1. Assessor’s data: In most areas the local taxing authority, typically the county, assigns a value to all real estate in the county. This is done to determine real estate taxes. Often this data is provided by USA-Foreclosure.com, but we recommend that you visit the assessor’s website, or office, to review the assessment file. Besides value, the Assessor typically will have valuable information about the property-size of the lot and the residence, type of construction, year built, bedrooms and bathrooms, and number of floors. Although the assessor’s determination of value is important to obtain, don’t stop there! Assessor’s valuations do not necessarily represent current market value.
  2. Other property in the area: Recent realty sales in the same area are a great indicator of value. Sometimes the multiple listing services in communities can give you this information (search “multiple listing service city” where “city” is the area you want to search). If there are other homes for sale in the neighborhood, visit the real estate agent’s website to see what is being asked for those homes. Although this is not as valuable as sale data, it is more information for you to consider as you determine a value.
  3. Automated searches: There are many automated valuation sites. For example, take a look at Realtor.com and Zillow.com. A Google search under “home valuation” yields nearly 1 million hits, so you have a lot of choices. Some of these might charge a fee.
Valuation is an estimate! Remember that property valuation is not an exact science. Skilled appraisers can disagree on the exact value of a property. Use a good deal of common sense when approaching value. If a house is similar in outward appearance, and in size, to other houses in the neighborhood, then it most likely is worth about the same as its neighbors.