Foreclosures can be good deals for homebuyers, but with 1.5 million of them on the market, shopping carefully is important.

Here are some tips for anyone navigating the foreclosure market:

  • Don't pay too much. With so many exuberant buyers, bidding up a property beyond its worth can be easy to do.
  • Get to know the banks. Practitioners who establish relationships with asset managers at banks can facilitate good communication.
  • Factor in fix-up costs. Most banks would rather sell a property as-is. Buyers should consider what shouldering that responsibility will cost. Touring the properties with a contractor can be a good plan.
  • Bid smartly. Help the buyer get the inside track by gathering as much information as you can about other bids.

Source:, Les Christie (11/19/2009)