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Foreclosure auction yields deals

Dozens of houses were sold to the highest bidders Sunday during an auction of foreclosed properties at the Raleigh Convention Center.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Dozens of houses were sold to the highest bidders Sunday during an auction of foreclosed properties in Raleigh. 

“It is really an opportunity for folks that were priced out of the market to come back into the market, and realize their dream of owning a home," said Trent Ferris, vice president of auctions for REDC.

Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC), the largest real estate auction firm in the United States,  auctions foreclosed properties for banks. At Sunday's auction at the Raleigh Convention Center, 63 foreclosed homes went on sale for bargain prices.

“We're here to turn those houses back into homes in the community,” Ferris said. "It is a phenomenal silver lining really to what is a tragic situation otherwise."

The mega-auction is growing in popularity as people look to buys homes at a fraction of their previous price. North Carolina, which ranks 10th nationally in population, ranks 33rd in foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac.  In December, REDC sold 46 foreclosed homes during an auction, also held at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Real estate agents say you don't have to wait for an auction to buy a foreclosure.

“In North Carolina, we have auctions down at the courthouse everyday,” real estate agent Tim Westbrook said.

But the safest way to buy a foreclosure, agents say, is to find one that didn't sell at auction, and is listed on the MLS database for real estate listings.

You can view a home before buying if it is listed on MLS. However, that is not an option with courthouse foreclosure auctions.

“Homework is everything in real estate," Westbrook said. "It is the buyer beware, but if the buyer is informed, you can get a very good deal."

A real estate agent or courthouse auction listing is not the only way to find out about foreclosures. You can subscribe to RealtyTrac and many building supply companies also have foreclosed properties for sale.

Some, 2,039 properties were involved in one phase of a foreclosure action last month, down 14.5 percent from January and a whopping 49.7 percent from the same month a year ago.

Nationally, the foreclosure rate was up 30 percent from February 2008 as a number of state bans on foreclosure actions expired. Nationwide, nearly 291,000 homes received at least one foreclosure related notice, according to the California-based company.


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