Google Real Estate Search Maps Nationwide Foreclosures

I’ve known about Google’s foray into real estate search for some time now, but since the feature set pales in comparison to the offerings over at Redfin and Estately, I haven’t really spent much time with it.

However, today I learned of an interesting feature that Google seems to do a much better job at than any of the current competitors: Foreclosure search.

Over on the left side the first option is “Listing type” which allows you to check “Non-Foreclosure” or “Foreclosure.” Here’s a look at the Magnolia / Queen Anne / Ballard / Fremont area:

[Update 2011/01/26 – Unfortunately, Google has decided to discontinue the real estate features on Google Maps as of February 10, 2011.]

Note that when you are zoomed further out, far fewer homes appear on the map. You have to zoom in to about the level shown above before it shows you all of them.

The downsides are that apparently Google is pulling this data from a variety of sources, “foreclosure” may mean anything from homes that have received the initial notice of default to fully bank-owned houses, and some of the addresses are only approximate, with the full details behind a third party pay wall. Either way, it’s still interesting to poke around with.

Hat tip: Calculated Risk

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Heh, either some addresses are indeed approximate, or the building I work in at MS is in foreclosure.

  2. 2
    Orion says:

    Looking in my neighborhood, it seems that all of the listings are behind a pay wall, and at least one of them is way underpriced for the neighborhood, so it must be in a different part of town. This is amusing, but too bad Google can’t get more real foreclosure listings and not just the teaser junk from all those pay sites. Pretty worthless as far as I can tell.

  3. 3
    Softwarengineer says:

    It clearly tells you foreclosures are like moles or pimples; they’re equally distributed and occur in any neighborhood, rich or poor….

  4. 4
    David Losh says:

    Stay away from short sales and foreclosures. Especially stay away from those hard money Foreclosure Investment Groups. At the rate prices are dropping there is no way out. Buy it if you intend to keep it, but the investment aspect is all in the hard money being lent. Beware, there is no exit strategy I can see.

  5. 5
    minitheden says:

    One big problem with this is that I am seeing the same foreclosure showing up multiple times, as multiple red dots. Each source that lists the foreclosure gets their own dot. The real number of foreclosures is way less than what you see.

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    They pull from some pretty shady sites–ones where you don’t get the full address unless you pay for a subscription.

    I picked one of the hits (from as the source) then went to Realist to find the property. I found the property by matching both the house size and date. The property was in foreclosure starting back in June, 2008. It was sold, in an apparent short sale, in October, 2008.

    Not terribly current information. I wonder how long some of those sites keep them listed as being a foreclosure?

  7. 7
    cheapseats says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Agreed, I pulled up the area that I watch pretty tight, and all of the houses listed have long since sold….

  8. 8
    alex says:

    RE: cheapseats @ 7

    now that would be nasty! you pay to get the full address, only to find out the house has already been sold. ouch!

  9. 9

    By Softwarengineer @ 3:

    It clearly tells you foreclosures are like moles or pimples; they’re equally distributed and occur in any neighborhood, rich or poor….

    More than we realize. Like pimples, they’re advertising products to make foreclosures go away. And like for pimples, these products often don’t work.

  10. 10
    Jonness says:

    Here is an interesting chart showing the state of Orange County foreclosures. There is a lot of market manipulation occurring in housing right now that makes things seem a lot better than they really are. And truthfully, things don’t seem that good.

    REO Rate: Bank took back home
    Foreclosure Rate: Notice of Trustee/Default
    90+ Day: Haven’t paid for 90+ days.

    In conclusion, the banks want these homes even less than we do.

  11. 11
    Racket says:

    RE: Jonness @ 10
    Many people are waiting for 90 to get loan mods. Also, the banks can only process so many foreclosures at once.

  12. 12
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Also, banks have never foreclosed as soon as they could (60 days late in WA). With the possible exception of some predatory lenders, they’ve always preferred the debtor to go current, and they’ve allowed time for that to happen.

  13. 13
    Harold Hing says:

    Are there any websites out there that pull REO/Short Sale data straight from the NWMLS? Does Redfin have that option available?

  14. 14

    […] subscribe to a service like PropertyShark or RealtyTrac. You can also head straight to Google Maps (instructions here) for foreclosure data in classic Google style:[Update 2011/01/26 – Unfortunately, Google has […]

  15. 15

    […] The Tim is employed by Redfin.After Google’s recent announcement that they were pulling their real estate map features, I was somewhat disappointed that we had lost a mapped view of unlisted foreclosures. Fortunately, […]

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