Reviewer: Deb Agliano (team leader)
Product: Foreclosure.com

Reviewer: Deb Agliano (team leader, aka "DebOnTheWeb")
Product: Foreclosure.com

1. Ease. Is it easy to use for real estate professionals? For real estate consumers? How steep is the learning curve?
Although the search function itself is easy to use, I found the results to be a bit confusing at first. The "Power Search" option lets you search by city, zip code, price, number of bedrooms and baths, but the results included all categories including for-sale-by-owner properties. The search results also include inactive properties, which took a bit to get used to. All in all, though, you won’t need a lot of time as either a real estate professional or a consumer to figure out how to use the site.

Strengths:
Foreclosure.com does a good job of assembling all of the information about foreclosures, preforeclosures, sheriff’s sales, bankruptcies, FSBO’s and tax liens in one place. Their listings include the name and mailing address along with the bank’s name, foreclosure filing date and amount of the last mortgage.

Weaknesses:
If you’re looking to contact the owner or bank, the sponsoring agent’s information comes before the foreclosure contact’s information. Reading through the forum, it seems like this causes some confusion to both agents and consumers. Of course, this is only a weakness if you are looking for the foreclosure contact’s information, but a major plus if you are an agent sponsoring a zip code on the site.

Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best):
83

Explanation for rating:
I found the "Power Search" option to be a bit confusing since it included FSBO’s and inactive properties along with the distressed properties.

2. Value. Is it helpful and useful for real estate professionals? For their clients/customers/consumers? Cost vs. benefits: Is it worth the cost?

Strengths:
If you are looking for information on distressed sales, subscribing to this site will help make it easier for you to identify and contact distressed sellers. The monthly membership fee is $39.80.

If you are looking for buyer leads, you can purchase a zip code ad so that your information will be prominently featured (even before the foreclosure contact’s information) for an additional $20/month per zip code (on top of the $39.80 membership fee). If you want to attract buyers interested in foreclosures, this looks like a good way to get your name in front of serious buyers (who are themselves spending $39.80 each month to use the site) at a reasonable cost.

If you become an affiliate, you can add a real time search of foreclosure listings to your own website. As an affiliate, each time someone comes through your website, signs up and pays a fee to use the Foreclosure.com site, you’ll earn at least 25 percent of the fee. (There’s even a WordPress Listings Plugin if you run your blog or website with WordPress.) This is a very powerful feature that gives consumers a reason to return to your site. There is no cost to become an affiliate. An added bonus is you could make some extra money as well.

Weaknesses:
Some of the information on the site is inaccurate. A house that the site rated as an "amazing deal" in actuality had significant damage from frozen pipes and mold and did not have the "$156,780 of potential equity" the site touted. I found other properties that I knew were listed, but no listing agent information was on the site.

Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best):
92

Explanation for rating:
If you want to focus on distressed properties and/or buyers for these properties, Foreclosure.com looks to have the information you’ll want and an easy way to advertise to buyers at a reasonable cost. You can become an affiliate for free, add their search to your website and potentially make some money while attracting new prospects to your site.

3. Power. Would real estate professionals and consumers be likely to use this often? Can it replace existing tools/methods? How much information and how many features does it put at the user’s fingertips? Does it have the power to change the industry? Can real estate professionals and consumers use this on the go? Is it innovative and cutting edge? Is it scalable (can be used by individuals and entire offices/companies)? Does it have advanced features for tech-savvy users? Does it integrate with other products?
I can see agents and consumers who want to focus on the short sale and foreclosure markets and wholesaling properties benefiting from using this site on a regular basis. It certainly beats searching through the newspapers for notices. There is a lot of small text on the site which doesn’t lend to using it on a smart phone. This is a standalone product.

Strengths:
Since this site gets a lot of media coverage, if you’re looking to attract foreclosure buyers, it makes sense to advertise here. If you become an affiliate, you can add a real time search of foreclosure listings to your own website. As an affiliate, each time someone comes through your website, signs up and pays a fee to use the Foreclosure.com site, you’ll earn at least 25 percent of the fee. (There’s even a WordPress listings plug-in if you run your blog or Web site.) This is a wonderfully powerful feature.

Weaknesses:
There is some inaccurate information.

Numeric rating, from zero to 100 (zero is the worst and 100 is the best):
93

Explanation for rating:
Foreclosure.com can be a powerful tool if you become an affiliate and add the foreclosure listing search to your own website or blog. It can also be a good source of buyer leads if you choose to advertise on their site.

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