When real estate investors search for distressed properties for sale or looking for owners who are in some stage of foreclosure, public records is typically the first place to start. A lis pendens, Notice of Default and a foreclosure is filed Foreclosed Homeslocally and can be researched in person or online. When lenders foreclose on a home, they first attempt to sell the home at the local auction. If the home fails to sell at the auction, what happens then?

If a home that fails to get an appropriate bid at a foreclosure auction doesn’t move, the lender places the home back into its inventory, called the Real Estate Owned, or REO department. That is the case if the lender owns the loan as well as the home. However, there are other places to look when homes are foreclosed upon and there are two you need to be aware of.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac keep their list of foreclosed inventory on a special website. Fannie Mae keeps a complete list of its inventory at a special division of Fannie called HomePath. There is even a special section for real estate investors. Fannie holds its own online auctions and keeps a complete list of foreclosed properties. Freddie Mac’s version is called HomeSteps. Each allows anyone to search for properties in a manner similar to searching for properties on any real estate agent’s website. You can search by zip code, price range, number of bedrooms and more.

What you may not find are properties in your area but homes that are in locations much further away from where you live. If you want a physical inspection you will literally have to visit the property or work with a trusted turnkey real estate investment company who can help. If you’ve wondered where all of those foreclosed homes are, many of them are still around, they might be just harder to find.