This doesn't mean that now isn't the time to buy a home, but it does mean that you may be looking in the wrong place.
Instead of visiting the online websites of realtors or flipping through their brochures, place your focus on foreclosure properties.
Foreclosure properties are often considered a great buy, as they are easy to find and affordable.
One of the ways to find these properties is at a foreclosure auction.
Auctions typically takes place at a county, town, or village government office such as the clerk's department, or in some states on the property itself.
You can find these foreclosure auctions by doing some research.
Often they are advertised in local newspapers.
You can also search local court records, since foreclosures are public notice.
One of the few downsides to buying a home at a foreclosure auction is the property cannot be accessed for inspections and you will have to pay all the outstanding municipal liens.
You may also have to close on the property with the previous property owner or their tenants still occupying the property.
Most bidders are bidding on the home as-is where-is, and if you have not viewed the interior of the property, you may get many surprises after you own it.
We can never judge a book by its cover, it may look shabby outside and be a gem inside, or it may be that the interior is a disaster.
Since foreclosures are public notice, you should be able to get the address of the property you are interested in.
You will want to do a drive by.
The property may be listed for sale by a Realtor with the seller hoping to beat the foreclosure by selling it with a short sale.
Call the Realtor and ask them to view the property.
If this cannot be done, and if you have doubts, it may be best to move on and target other auctions.
If you decide to attend a foreclosure auction, the last thing you want to do is show up unless you are just there to see how an auction works.
When you are serious about purchasing a foreclosed property at an auction, you need to be prepared.
This preparation involves having financing lined up.
Many will require that you either have the money on hand or show proof that you do have the financial resources needed to follow through with the sale.
Contingency loans are generally prohibited.
Check deposits are sometimes required before you can even place a bid.
As for the auction itself each State has different requirements.
It is not uncommon for bids to be sealed.
Once everyone has placed a bid, the highest bidder will be announced.
For bids that are not sealed, the auctioneer will start with a figure, often around $1,000 or less and the bidding will continue on.
If you are the winning bidder, it is important to know that you may not be able to move into your new home right away.
As stated above, the property may be occupied.
Many states give current occupants a redemption period or a grace period, this is where they can still fight to keep their home.
After this point has passed, you can start the eviction process if the current occupants don't leave voluntarily.
Check your State Laws and or call the Attorney that is handling the sale for the bank for guidance.
As was previously stated, you may want to attend a foreclosure auction and just sit on the sidelines.
You should be allowed to do so and if you are unfamiliar with the buying and selling of real estate, foreclosures, or auctions, you can learn a lot.
This knowledge is important, as many bidders will be investors looking to turn a profit, not buy their first home.
The "professional" bidders are looking to buy low and "flip" the property.
If this is not your intention, you may be able to find a good deal since you will not be influenced by a large immediate profit.