This question was asked in another thread, but a pop-up there asked if I really wanted to reactivate a three-year-old thread or would prefer a new one. So here’s the new one.
I keep seeing listings for foreclosures and pre-foreclosures on sites like Zillow. The bit of reading I’ve done online seems to suggest that, while real estate auctions can be a little suspect (I’m having a difficult time finding out information about the condition of a property, for example, and sometimes you can’t examine a property because it’s occupied by tenants), they are worth exploring. I’m of course going to learn what I can about the process, but I think that I might use a proxy in the Bay Area (I’m living elsewhere at the moment) to do the research on such properties so that, if it seems desirable, I can either bid online or use that proxy to bid in person. (Bidding at auction evidently comes with its own skill set.) I realize that one real disadvantage of considering auctions is that it can be very unwise to buy property without seeing it myself, so another possibility would simply be to travel there when my researcher finds something really worth buying. In any case: can anyone recommend someone who does this kind of research, that is to say the real condition of the property, whether there are any liens that are not immediately visible, how long a lease tenants might have, and so on?