A study recently released by RealtyTrac, a real estate research firm, reports that foreclosures are down by 22% in the United States.

"While that is another sign that the real estate market is recovering in the United States, it does not mean that profits cannot be made from investing in foreclosures," counseled Jerry Cohen, President andForeclosures Founder of EquityBuild, a premier real estate investment firm.  

Cohen furthered that, "I have been a principal in well over a thousand real estate transactions over the decades.  For the properties we have flipped, we have averaged a 17% return.  Many of these have involved foreclosures.  Investing in foreclosures can be very lucrative, particularly for turnkey properties."

Shaun Cohen, President of Equity Finance, the funding arm of EquityBuild, advised that, "Turnkey properties are the best way for an individual investor to profit from foreclosures.  This is a very treacherous area of real estate investing.  There are hidden traps and land mines throughout the process.  Many of these houses need lots of work and a lot come with unpaid taxes and utility bills that the buyer has to cover."

Agreeing with that, Jerry Cohen noted that, "In my decades of experience I have hit every bump and pothole in the road of real estate investing.  Too much can go wrong, especially with a foreclosure, for an inexperienced investor to go it alone.  One wrong move and there is a thirty year mortgage on a property that will not sell or cannot be rented."

RealtyTrac reported that the states with the most foreclosure sales were George (35 percent), Illinois (32 percent), California (30 percent), Arizona (28 percent), and Michigan (28 percent).

"The Chicago area is particularly attractive for turnkey investing, with all the foreclosures in Illinois, "Jerry Cohen stated.  "There are many excellent opportunities for individual investors.  Chicago is a great city with tremendous upside.  Both prices and sales are up over the last year.  It is one of the most attractive destination cities for young people, too.  This is all adds up to making Chicago a great place for buying turnkey properties."

There is another way to profit from foreclosures, too, Shaun Cohen added.

"Financing private mortgage notes for the buyers of foreclosures can be very rewarding.  This entails either lending the money for a specific real estate transaction or contributing to a pool of investors to finance a variety of foreclosure deals.  We average a 12@ return for our private mortgage notes, so it can be lucrative for those who do not want to buy a foreclosure property."