Everywhere you go people are talking about how home prices will never be as low again as they are right now. Many are capitalizing on foreclosures, and are picking up homes for well below normal market value. The stigma of selling distressed homes is fading because, well let’s face it – everyone is in trouble these days. Heck, even celebrities have to face the harsh realities of surviving in this economy.

CELEBRITY FORECLOSURES
http://www.zillow.com/blog/celebrity-foreclosures/2008/06/06/
 
It’s a sign of the times. The year ticked over to 2011 but it’s still just as tough out there. Home prices are continuing to plummet and it’s a never-ending battle to sell a home in an increasingly competitive market. Real Estate Agents have responded by tailoring their services to buyers who are actively seeking those that specialize in short sales and distressed homes. 2010 saw a tremendous shift in search volume alone as users searches have shifted from new homes to foreclosures.

In fact this report and chart from Google Insights is of recent search volume over the past 5 years and clearly indicates that there is a shift in what people are searching for. “Foreclosures For Sale” has seen a +550% spike in searches in that time frame.

"FORECLOSURES FOR SALE" SEARCH VOLUME
http://www.google.com/insights/search/#geo=US&q=%22foreclosures+for+sale%22&date=1/2005+73m&cmpt=geo

iHOUSEweb has been building websites for the Real Estate sector for over a decade. One feature Agents all need to offer - is the ability to search their MLS and view their listings. In the past, they haven’t offered distressed property searches because they’ve been quite gun shy about handling those types of sales. Apparently, it’s become so prevalent that they are simply unable to ignore the influx of all of these new customers despite concerns over traditional disdain for dealing with Short Sales and Foreclosures - either because they are not familiar with the practice, the waiting involved or because of the liability if the deal falls through.

Foreclosures Still Rising

Foreclosure Search is now being offered by some industry participants. It’s not going away – agents are being forced to adapt. We’ve noticed the trend here at iHOUSEweb and in response to an overwhelming amount of requests, we’ve incorporated the ability to search for distressed homes into our next and newest version of IDXPro, due to be released 1st Quarter 2011.

Our Foreclosure Search page will allow users to search by city, state, and zip code and will list distressed properties including: Foreclosures, REO, Bank-Owned, Short Sale, Auctions, as well as other properties in default.  Learn More About IDXPro: http://www.idxpro.com

The ultimate goal is to be able to connect buyers with sellers. Even in a time of uncertainty – there is still a need to sell those homes. Realtors realize this and so do we. Personally, I feel that Short Sale & Foreclosures are now a permanent niche in the Realtors customer base. I know from reading some of your blogs that many of you feel passionate about this subject. Tell me how you feel about Realtors who’ve embraced this shift and now specialize in Foreclosure & Short Sales? Has it changed the way that you do business?