So Now Everyone Knows I Got Foreclosed On

It must be one of the most difficult things to go through. To lose your home to foreclosure. Over the last few years we have seen the American dream crumble before our eyes. Countless families have had to give back the place they thought they were going to raise their children in. An investemnt that was going to be the largest and best of their lives ended up being exactly the opposite.

Whether the people losing their homes should have ever qualified to buy in the first place is not a debate I want to have. Who to blame for the entire mess is also something I don’t want to touch.

What I wanted to point out today instead is that Google is now including foreclosures in Google Maps. I think it is a big deal and is important for you to all be aware of. I have embedded a Google Map with the foreclosure data below for 90210 as an example.

I know that these properties need to be seen to be bought. I know that almost every buyer that you meet wants or at least thinks they want to buy a foreclosure. Just not sure how I feel about this mass exposure outside of the real estate specific portals…

If it were your home on the map how would you feel? Should these properties be included in the most viewed mapping system in the world?
Would love your thoughts below.

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  1. Lisa Giloti Kanter December 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    I think it is terrible and serves no purpose. The home and the neighborhood and now the family, all suffer!

  2. Christina Ethridge December 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    @Chris – I’m really neutral about this. Saw it the other day on @phxreguy’s site and promptly went and researched it for my area. It’s interesting – gives a good aerial perspective – but I don’t think it’s any more revealing than other data available to the public (ie, the newspaper).

    However, I also understand your perception that this is like announcing it in the yellow pages (when we used to actually use the yellow pages).

    I don’t know – I’m just pretty neutral about it. Foreclosures are definitely NOT private and the people you know who know where you live will find out (whether through the newspaper announcements, listing/selling of your home after foreclosures, etc).

    • Chris December 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Just seems like we have become callus to such a poignant process.

  3. Andy Lasner December 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Interesting. I believe this will be trend in 2011. Shadow inventory will be increasing national inventory levels.

  4. Renee Drumm, e-PRO, REALTOR December 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    It would be nice to keep our private business private, as it was in “the old days”, although, in my opinion, mapping foreclosures and making the data available online isn’t anymore damaging to one’s reputation than published foreclosure lists and the countless numbers of court systems now publishing cases online (i.e., local court, bankruptcy court (PACER), etc.)

  5. Rick Sterling December 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Until the bank is ready to put it back on the market as an REO sale .. I don’t think it should be there …. things can change fro the time of the NOD letter being issued until auction at the courthouse steps …. besides most banks buy them back at the CH steps … no advantage to the general public. Real question is … where is goole getting the data …. Real Trends is noted for putting out old or inaccurate, unreliable data. No one seems to care any more about providing accurate reliable data … just data-mine it and throw it out there!

  6. eric December 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I guess good and bad. There are alot of people in Cali that do strategic foreclosures so maybe it exposes that but its sad for those who lost their home and couldnt help it. They should make a google map of “Shady Bankers” too!

  7. Barry Givens December 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    I am also very neutral about this subject. I see from both sides the importance of not having it displayed or having it displayed. It is not that google is letting the cat out of the bag, as you can find this information in a number of easily accessible resources. But I also understand that google is the #2 most visited website and that this is an embarrassing and frustrating time for those families. I guess it just depends what side of the fence you are on.

  8. angela December 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    oh i see what they did. they’re folding in the info from realtytrac et al. Hmm. So the info was already out there, but was limited to those who paid for subscriptions.

    Now Google is bringing that info to the masses and realtytrac and their colleagues are probably assuming they can gain more subscribers who will want access to the piles of documentation they collect on each property. Which may indicate the flow of foreclosure buyers also trickling off. just a guess. i could be wrong {shrug} i haven’t looked up any hot off the press stats on the subject…. where’s phil????

  9. Scott Feirn December 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Tons of aspects to this one. Possible embarrassment, a possible nudge to help consumers to get off their #$$ to get a Realtor’s help quicker in the process, maybe a new tool for Realtors to help consumers or even Bank/REO clients. I like the access to data piece but it’s what people will do with the data that we all need to be concerned about.

  10. Cheryl Hampton December 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    What happened to any kind of privacy. I looked up my neighborhood just to check it out and it not only shows the homes but the level of default with a definition such as “this homeowner has missed at least one payment” “this home is a notice of auction sale” A few things I noticed though, there are no exact addresses so I guess that is good for the homeowners privacy but at the same time… what is the point for anyone else. I also know that my next door neighbors house is going to be foreclosed on 12/27 and it isn’t even on the map, so wondering how accurate it even is…

  11. Joe Sheehan December 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    While I feel great sympathy for those who have been through a foreclosure, once the process is done, the house is no longer yours.

    REO properties must be advertised, marketed, and liquidated as quickly as possible before the market returns to any semblance of normalcy.

    I think the GOOGLE map view really depersonalizes the foreclosure market. There sure are a lot of dots on that map!

  12. Margaret Pelc December 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Well I have not become callus to this issue. I think it is horrible and that there should be some privacy to the homeowners that have been foreclosed on. However, I think that it is really sad when you look at the sheer volume of people who have lost their homes. This map should serve as a wake up call to those who can make a difference and to hold those who are responsible, accountable for their actions. Very sad and I hope that this message is heard by those who can “make a difference”. I know that I will be doing what I can in my little neck of the woods. I will be educating my prospects and clients at the get go about homeownership and responsibility. I will not try to convince anyone to purchase anything they cannot afford.

  13. Matt Carter December 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Most (if not all?) of these appear to be REO properties — homes that have completed the foreclosure process, and are now owned by banks (or Fannie and Freddie) that have put them on the market.

    Question for Google: How can “foreclosure” be a “listing type?”

    Foreclosure is a legal process. If a house has completed that process, it’s REO (unless it was bought by an investor on the courthouse steps).

    If a property is in foreclosure, and its owner has put it on the market for less than they owe, it’s a short sale.

    If a property is in foreclosure, and its owner has not put it on the market, it’s not a listing!

    • Chris December 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Great insight Matt funny how Google has said publicly they are not getting into the real estate space but their actions show otherwise!

  14. Yalda Alawi December 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    This is public data, so it is not like they are revealing anything that is not already available.

    Plus it is just the address of the home, not the name of the owner. So someone would have to do some real digging to line up the names with the addresses, but again, it is public data.

    Finally, most people who are going through foreclosure are not alone. It is a tough situation to be in, and many lost more than just their down payment and money they put into their homes…. Which is very sad and I am in no way trying to minimize that….

    But it isnt the end of the world. If they short sale, most people can buy again in a couple of years. If they get foreclosed on, it may take a few more years than that. But they will recover as long as they take the right steps now (meaning dont stick your head in the sand and give up).

    Do we see any of the ‘big too fail banks’ CEOs hiding in shame?? Why should a homeowner? Maybe we should help get the stigma of foreclosure out of people’s minds… especially after looking at the sheer amount of dots….

  15. Garth Jones December 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Not sure if Google has done a good job of making people aware that you can search real estate on a map. If the public does not know about this feature, the REO listings will not have much impact. As far as being callous, I am sure this is only one of MANY embarrasments someone who has lost their home will go through.

  16. Jason Allen-Rouman | SF Real Estate December 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I’m with those who’ve rightfully called this data. Our value as professionals increases every time there’s more information for the uninitiated to synthesize. For someone unfamiliar with valuing property, neighborhoods, and comparables, this is like opening a trigonometry book somewhere in the middle and thinking you can answer the equations.
    If anything, Google’s presented a throwback to the days when cities and towns were small enough that when you open the local newspaper (and probably the only one in town) and saw your neighbor’s name in the notice of defaults column. It is the pits, but among the perils of having a mortgage.

    Thanks for posting this Chris; I’d missed it in the news.

  17. Yalda Alawi, Realtor December 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I dont know if anyone has taken the time to look more closely at the data.

    When I did look at San Diego’s market, and just chose the option for “Foreclosure” (removed For Sale and For Rent) it lists both properties that are bank owned, and ‘pre foreclosure’ (which many are Short Sales).

    I would like to know what Google is using as the criteria… Notice of Defaults? hmmmmm

  18. Garth Jones December 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Whoops, now that I have really looked at it, Google shows lis pendens homes, and while this is available as public record in most places, it is not the same as putting it on Google. I think the only thing that should show is already foreclosed upon properties. Especially because so much lis pendens data is already wrong.

  19. Bob Bickel December 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    After reading the comments I was just thinking to myself that the need of terminology control is of great need over at Google.
    As Matt Carter puts it in his comment. A foreclosure is a legal act not finalized by the court. So posting it on a map may be a stretch as being proper and ethical.

    Then my next thought was how ridiculous Google has become with their mapping system. It seems as if their idea of being the top ranked search engine has driven their maps to become ubiquitous.

    I am kind of wondering if like landing page, if would not be just better to make it simple.

  20. Kaiholo Hale December 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Not sure why this would be an issue. They got foreclosed on, life goes on.

  21. Alex Cortez December 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    As it is public data, I don’t think it’s out of place to display this. Besides, for me to look up foreclosures in my market, I had to click on different tabs indicating that was specifically what I was searching for. If foreclosures were shown by default, then I could see the issue/problem (and most google users would have problems with that, not many who search for info on a map are interested in real estate, much less REO’s).

  22. […] So Now Everyone Knows I Got Foreclosed On var cid= 4768; Tweet (function() { var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = document.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0]; s.type = 'text/javascript'; s.async = true; s.src = '//'; s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1); })(); 0 comments It must be one of the most difficult things to go through. To lose your home to foreclosure. Over the last few years we have seen the American dream crumble before our eyesContinue reading: So Now Everyone Knows I Got Foreclosed On 0 commentsback to postAdd your comment Click here to cancel reply.Nickname:E-mail:Website:Comment: […]

  23. Sandy December 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    What’s next? Mapped short sales? Mapped if a home is several payments behind? underwater? I agree with one of the above comments – once it is turned into a bank owned property listed with an agent, then let it be mapped – because, then it is mapped anyway through the listing.

  24. Matt Carter December 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    My comment concerned one point, and one point only: Perhaps Google needs to reconsider whether it was proper to create a “listing type” called “foreclosure.”

    What they are displaying as “foreclosure listings” are a mix of:

    1. Homes that are in foreclosure but not for sale (most industry types would call these “distressed properties”).

    2. Homes that have been through the foreclosure process but have not yet been offered for sale by lenders (“shadow inventory”).

    3. Homes that are in foreclosure and that are for sale (“short sales”).

    4. Homes that have been through the foreclosure process and are now being marketed by banks (“REOs”) or investors.

    It appears to me that Google did not intend to mix distressed properties and shadow inventory in with their “foreclosure listings.”

    The source of these listings is feeds Google gets from brokers, MLSs and third-party aggregators like RealtyTrac.


    There are a half dozen fields of required information that must be submitted for each property, including a description, link to a listing site, listing type, property type, location, and price.


    If everybody was submitting a price for each property, as required, you would only have short sales, REOs and investor-owned properties listed as “foreclosures” on Google Maps.

    But instead of a property’s asking price, third party aggregators will often provide an estimated loan balance or even the amount by which the borrower is behind on their payment for distressed properties.


    Take this 4,600 square foot, 3-bedroom house in Laurel Canyon. According to Google maps, it’s been hit with a notice of default — the first stage of the foreclosure process. Google maps lists the “price” as $1,540. The house is probably not actually for sale — that’s just how much the owner is behind on their mortgage.


    Here’s another property, a 2-bedroom condo in Valley Village with a “price” of $9,377. According to the description, the property “is an REO… ownership has reverted to the lender.” Obviously, the lender is not going to take $9,377 for the property. What’s probably happened is that the lender repossessed the property after not getting a suitable offer from an investor at a courthouse auction.


    BTW, Yahoo! Real Estate, which also allows users to search for “foreclosures,” used to have this problem, but seems to be doing a better job these days weeding out properties that aren’t actually on the market.

  25. Sandra December 21, 2010 at 12:33 am - Reply

    I am not sure of the validity of this information. Checking in my neighborhood (Chicago’s Lincoln Park) there were several places listed that have no homes…like addresses on a highway and in a park. Also, an address that used to be a hospital and is now a major new hi-rise construction project on the park. Yes, some addresses were real…probably most but without spending much time I easily found a dozen that were not.

  26. David December 21, 2010 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Wow, those maps are just stunning. I am not voting on right/wrong; I could argue both sides convincingly. But it really paints an incredible picture of what is happening in my area.

  27. Sandra December 21, 2010 at 7:53 am - Reply

    I cannot see the need for this at all. Its just another stab in the back to the American people.

  28. Darryl Salls December 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I don’t see the big deal. We get a newspaper every month that shows not only the address but the name of the people and how much they owed. Also on facebook marketplace it shows all the foreclosures and addresses. Many of these have already been sold.

  29. Amy Brick December 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    I have to be honest, I feel for people, but if they’re in that situation, they can do a Short Sale on their house and NOT have a foreclosure. AND….get money to move in many cases. This really is the BEST alternative and I spent hours every day, trying to get people to understand that. If you Short Sale, it will show up as a SALE, not a foreclosure. It’s a great chance at a new start.

  30. Holly Browning, Realtor December 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    This is a sad situation that needs to be addressed. The government has forgotten the impact it makes on a family or person to lose their home to a foreclosure. Lots of agents love to place blame for a consumer not doing a short sale or correcting the situation but we need to realize not every homeowner knows these processes or are too intimidated to ask for help. For an agent to lose the emotional side of this type of transaction just shows the callous nature of some in this business. These are humans involved not just a pin on a map or a number on a computer.

  31. Mike -Sarasota real estate December 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    @Matt Carter – THANK you for explicating Google’s (foreclosure) maps.

    @Those concerned about privacy invasion or absence of dignity.

    At least in my area (Sarasota, FL), a banker’s worst nightmare is taking place. Right or wrong, more and more property owners do NOT see moral indignation in falling behind, walking away or selling short.

    Whether luxury or starter homes, these owners are outraged at bankers/banks/Wall Street. At least to me, they show no sign of embarrassment or moral obligation to pay when they can’t or (shouldn’t).

    As a Contrarian, I see BENEFIT in this information:

    1. As Matt Carter and others have pointed out, Google’s maps are highly inaccurate. As with Trulia and Zillow’s notoriously POOR (inaccurate) data, I emphasize this to buyers and sellers who have come to rely on these two aggregators.

    2. More information (not less) makes you and me (i.e. real estate agents) MORE valuable – not less valuable. WE will sort through the noise and BS about short sales, foreclosures, maps, etc.

    Last, I don’t see businesses owing consumers any special regard. On the other hand, I openly laugh in the face of guys like John Courson (President MBA) who attempted to chide homeowners for (thinking of) walking away from their “moral” mortgage obligation…especially after the MBA walked away from its own newly constructed HQ in Washington.

    ‘So now everyone knows I got foreclosed on….”

    Much ado about (mostly) nothing!

  32. Linda -Plumas Properties, Inc. December 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Well spoken Mike -Sarasota R.E. Goggle, Zillow and their kind have created thier own real estate ” lingo”. More than every consumers need experienced Realtors to guide them through the slop we now call the real estate market. The way Banks negoitate with buyers on REO’s laughable. We as agents are required to have paperwork fully ratified, Banks not so much. 5 day inspection time frames I consider duress for the buyer, required Pre Quals by lenders chosen mortage companies and required closers I consider steering and a RESPA violation.

  33. Cheryl December 22, 2010 at 3:03 am - Reply

    It takes a Village — when people realize how great the crisis is — then there will be the realization that humanity must kick in — it’s not just “the other guy” it’s your next door neighbor — yeah that’s right — the children your kids go to school with — Ever wonder what do they think!!!! The tommorrow of this world . . . What do they think!!!!

    • Chris December 22, 2010 at 3:07 am - Reply

      Love the passion Cheryl what if all of the red dots were faces?

  34. Cheryl December 22, 2010 at 3:16 am - Reply

    I get it — but they’re not faces they are just an overview of our real communities — communities filled with people that are in distress. The wheels that produce this stuff will turn and the sharks have already had their feeding frenzy. It’s time to see the reality of this fallout so people can figure out for themselves how they really view it.

  35. Bill Petrey December 23, 2010 at 7:52 am - Reply

    This search can also be used by squatters and vandals to create a list of vacant houses, since foreclosures are vacant. Bet the banks aren’t too happy about this.

  36. […] given to Chris Smith at Tech Savvy Agent for alerting me to Google’s new foreclosure […]

  37. Ismael December 24, 2010 at 12:18 am - Reply

    If it weren’t for majority of homeowners being nonchalant I would say this would be a little too much but how many times have you door knocked a house and the homeowners are asking how much longer can they stay in their home with out paying. If I knew about this 3.5 years ago when losing a home was degrading to most I would be totally against this.

  38. Maria Hagan December 24, 2010 at 1:12 am - Reply

    I agree with many of the comments above. Foreclosure is not a type of listing but rather a process. A property that have been foreclosed (deed in lieu, auction or strict foreclosure) is a BANK OWNED property. I would not use the term REO because that is realtor speak. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think the pulbic really knows what an REO is.

    Trulia and Zillow both have listing types titled foreclosure. But from what I can see Zillow receives its information from Despite its name has data on more than bank owned properties. includes in its feed to Zillow preforeclosures. RealtyTrac also includes preforeclosures on its websites and to other real estate site with whom it shares data.

    Although I believe industry professionsal should have access to preforeclosure information I DO NOT think it should be displayed on a public website. Preforelcosure is stressful, embarassing, and when displayed on publicly available Internet sites humiliating! During the preforeclosure process home owners made be in mediation with their lender, may be trying to obtain a loan modification or getting short sale approval. I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is anyone’s business. If the home owner can’t work it out and the property is foreclosed our laws require the publication of legal notices. But up until that point, it should not be public. It should be available to industry professionals through our MLS’ (as we have) so that we can try and help the home owner. Helping doesn’t always mean getting the listing (now).

    In addition, preforeclosure data on or RealtyTrac.dom are not alway mortgage related. Sometimes they are collections or judgments where a lien was placed in the land records to protect the creditor in the event of a future sale. This is where this data is really misleading and humiliating!

    I had the misfortunate early in my career of farming a preforeclosure (Do you know the value of your home, We have buyers, etc. nothing mentioning foreclosure or short sale). I received a call from what I thought was a preforeclosure. The owner asked if everyone knew that she didn’t pay her doctor bill! The collection agency filed a lis pendis on the land records.

    NO I don’t think preforeclosures should be shown on a google map. And properties that have transferred to the lender should be titled Bank Owned.

    Our industry needs to show compassion and empathy and if we do that home owner will repay us tenfold when they tell their family, friends and coworkers that they know a good realtor. Preforeclosures are a potential source of income for realtors. But we all have to eat tomorrow as well as today. Sometimes educating a home owner and helping them make informed decision will delay our getting that listing, but it probably won’t be the last business we receive from that client. Referrals may be even more profitable!

  39. Peg Popken January 29, 2011 at 12:33 am - Reply

    During the early 1930’s when a a man lost his job he became invisable. gray and unseen. To the extent some one sees them self as their job their home any loss is like being invisable, a nonperson. A person with out a place or standing. Losing a home is like a death and folks who are in this passage should have as many tools available to them to protect what is essentially human in them.
    A little privacy in not too much to ask.
    if ever there were a time for care and Compassion todays financial mess is right up there with hurrican and earthquakes.

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