Putting Your Private Business on a Public Site

NOLA real estate

New Orleans Preforeclosures

There are effectively 3 big real estate sites on the web. Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow grab millions of eyeballs every month. It’s debatable whether all of those eyeballs belong to serious home buyers (pssst – they do not) but that’s not what got stuck in my craw recently.

Zillow has taken on the task of presenting “pre-foreclosures” on their real estate site. What’s that mean?

Don’t get behind on your mortgage, because your private business will be on the site for everyone to see.

When a notice of default has been filed by a mortgage company, it’s public record. But, it’s not information that is typically free OR easily found by the average home buyer. It’s certainly not something that has, up until now, been presented in a way that will allow bargain shoppers to quickly know that you are having some financial difficulties.

What’s the big deal if it’s public information?

Couple these listings with the city assessor’s website and home owners can become a target for all kinds of sleaze. Whether it’s agents offering to help with a short sale or buyers who think they can score a below market value without the hassle of involving an agent, the potential exists for someone to creep around your home in their attempt to decide if they’d like to make you an offer.

The majority of these homes will not go into foreclosure or be available for purchase. Notices of default are filed pretty quickly by lenders as a formality to protect their interest in a property. How quickly will these homes be pulled from the pre-foreclosure section of Zillow when the mortgages are brought current? Considering it can take weeks for the clerk’s office to update their records, I have a feeling the amount of inaccurate data will be huge.

Buyers may be misled into thinking that these homes are for sale when they are not. We are all guilty of skimming when reading, especially on the internet. I’ve personally had to explain to buyers in the past that just because a home is on Zillow doesn’t mean it’s for sale.

Sellers may be put into the awkward position of a buyer knowing that they are behind on their mortgage, leading to out-of-the-blue low offers in the hopes that they are desperate.

There are a myriad of reasons that a home owner may be delinquent on their mortgage, so it’s important be aware that your private business may end up in the public eye.

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