Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  1. What is pre-foreclosure?

    Pre-foreclosure is the period of time leading up to the sale of a property for mortgage and/or tax delinquency.  A pre-foreclosure property has not yet set at the auction and can still be sold by the existing homeowner.

  2. What is post-foreclosure (a.k.a. R.E.O)?

    A post-foreclosure property, or R.E.O., is a property that has been sold at the auction and is now owned by the lienholder.  At this time, an investor can attempt to contact the lienholder to see if they are willing to sell the property.  Our exclusive Confirmation Report will provide you with the quickest access to the results of the auction allowing you to immediately begin reaching out to the lienholders who recently acquired the property.  The information in this report comes to you so quickly that sometimes the lienholder hasn’t even learned of the results from the auction yet!  Do note: Shortly after the property sells at auction, most lienholders will obtain the services of a local broker to attempt to sell the property on the open market for fair market value. 

  3. What is the redemption period for tax foreclosures?

    Redemption periods for tax foreclosures vary in many ways depending on the type of sale.  The most common sales are property tax foreclosures.  The redemption periods for these properties first depends on whether or not the property has been homesteaded.  The Tax Pre-foreclosure Report will provide you with the exemption status, which will help you determine the appropriate redemption period.  If a property is homesteaded, the redemption period in Texas is 2 years.  If the property is non-homesteaded, the redemption period in Texas is 6 months. 

  4. What is the redemption period for mortgage foreclosures?

    There isn’t a redemption period for Mortgage Foreclosure in Texas.  The only exception to this situation is the non-judicial foreclosure of Assocation liens and Tax Transfer liens.  These foreclosures will have redemption periods.  Association foreclosures have a 180 day redemption period.  Tax Transfer Liens have a redemption period of 2 years. 

  5. How do I get inside to view the homes before auction?

    Prior to the sale of a property at the foreclosure auction, the homeowner in default is still the owner of the property.  Therefore, if you wish to have access to the property you will need permission from the homeowner.  Otherwise, you will be unable to get inside.

  6. What is the final day a trustee can post a property for foreclosure?

    The final day a property can be posted for foreclosure in the State of Texas is 21 days prior to the auction per the Texas Property Code.

  7. How can I locate notices of default for these properties?

    Using Harris County as an example, trustees file between 1000 and 3000 Notices of Foreclosure each month in county records under the requirements of the Texas Property Code.  However, the Texas Property Code does not require the filing of Notices of Default. Most of the major Trustees who represent the most active financial institutions do not file Notices of Default.  Seeing as how most trustees do not file these Notices of Default and the Texas Property Code does not require such filings it comes as no surprise that a recent review of deed filings yields only a small handful of actual Notices of Default and certainly not by the major lienholders.  F.I.L.S., Inc. chooses not to deceive its customers by providing a list of these minimal and inconsequential Notice of Default filings.

  8. Who are the trustees?

    In most cases, the trustees are attorneys that have been hired by the lienholder to foreclose on the property.  However, a trustee does not have to be an attorney.

  9. Can I call the Trustees for information?

    The trustees' general obligations are to their clients, the banks and mortgage companies, and they are generally very reticent to disclose pending foreclosure information. They also have privacy disclosure concerns.

  10. Can I contact the banks for more information?

    As is the case with Trustees, the banks will generally not disclose any information from their files which concern the rights of privacy of their customers, the homeowners.

  11. Which law governs foreclosures in Texas?

    The mortgage foreclosure process in Texas is governed by the Texas Property Code, Section 51.002. To read this statute, visit the Texas Legislature website at www.capitol.state.tx.us, click the Statutes link, then the Property Code link.

  12. What is the foreclosure timeline?

    First, the homeowner purchases a property and takes out a new loan.  At some point during the course of the next several months/years, the homeowner begins defaulting in payments to the lender.  The lender will send a demand letter to the borrower providing a final 20 days to bring the note current or face foreclosure.  After non-payment during this period of 20 days, the lender will post the Notice of Trustee’s Sale at the designated location per the Texas Property Code and a copy will be mailed to the homeowner.  The first Tuesday of the following month will result in the property being sold by a trustee who has been appointed if the homeowner has not cured the note.  By selling to an investor, filing bankruptcy, or bringing the note current the homeowner can avoid the pending foreclosure. 

  13. Can I use this information to re-sell it or provide it to other people?

    No. Under no circumstances does F.I.L.S., Inc. authorize, allow, or encourage the use of our copyrighted information for means of re-selling and/or sharing with other individuals.  Such behavior is in direct violation with the copyright and will result in legal ramifications.  Please see our policies page for more detailed information.

  14. What is the difference between the current month listings and next month listings?

    Current listings for use of this website are considered active postings for the upcoming auction (the first Tuesday of the upcoming month).  When F.I.L.S., Inc. refers to “next” month’s listings we are referring to the early postings for the NEXT month’s auction, which is the auction following the upcoming auction.  For example, if it is October 10th then the current listings are for the auction on the first Tuesday of November.  The next month’s listings (or early postings) are for the auction on the first Tuesday of December.

Auctions

  1. When is the foreclosure auction?

    Per the Texas Property Code 51.002, the foreclosure auctions are held the first Tuesday of each month (in the respective county) regardless of holidays (such as January 1st and July 4th).

  2. What time is the auction held?

    The auction is held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  3. Where is the foreclosure auction?

    Harris County – Bayou City Event Center @ 9401 Knight Rd, Houston, Tx
    Montgomery County – 501 N. Thompson Room 402, Conroe, Tx
    Fort Bend County – Travis Bldg @ 301 Jackson 1st Floor Meeting Rm, Richmond, Tx
    Galveston County – Justice Center @ 600 59th St, Galveston, Tx
    Nueces County – Courthouse @ 901 Leopard, Corpus Christi, Tx
    Brazoria County – Courthouse @ 111 E. Locust, Angleton, Tx

  4. How do I pay for a property purchased at the auction?

    You must have your funds immediately upon becoming the successful bidder.  You can pay with cash and/or cashier’s check in full for the entire amount of your bid.  You cannot make partial payments and/or financing to purchase at this auction.  We recommend you make the cashier’s check out to yourself so that if you are the successful bidder you can endorse it over at that time.  We also recommend bringing different checks for different denominations so that you can get as close to your bid price as possible.  If you are owed change from your purchase, you will not receive it at the auction.  The trustee will take the money back to their office and a check will later be disbursed to you for the difference. 

  5. Do I have clear title immediately upon purchase at the auction?

    We strongly recommend that you abstract title prior to your purchase at auction.  Please visit our Contact Us page to ask about abstractors that can search title for you. 

  6. Tell me more about title regarding Mortgage foreclosures?

    It is important that you abstract title to make sure that the lien that is in foreclosure (that you are considering purchasing at auction) is the senior lien.  Knowing that the lien you are purchasing at auction is the senior lien, this purchase would wipe out junior liens.  Lien superiority is determined by loan date. The older the loan date the more senior the lien.  If there is an Internal Revenue Service lien against the property, it is a good idea to check with the trustee to ensure proper notification has been given to the I.R.S.  Buying a junior lien at the foreclosure auction means you (as the successful bidder) would become subject to any senior liens and their loan balance/monthly payments.  Non-payments of these liens would obviously result in foreclosure action and potential loss of said property. Don’t forget to check back property taxes and maintenance fees that could also be independently owed.  CAUTION: FILS, Inc. does not guarantee the accuracy or entirety of this clear title question/answer.  It is important that you consult a title company, abstractor or attorney for title advice.

  7. Tell me more about title regarding Tax foreclosures?

    It is important that you abstract title to see what liens exist against the property.  Now having an itemized list of the liens that are owed, you will need to take this information to the District Clerk’s office located on the 2nd floor of 201 Caroline in downtown Houston.  Use the cause number provided on our list, to research the lawsuit of which you are interested.  Viewing this lawsuit will allow you to ensure proper notification has been made to these lien-holders.  As long as each lien-holder has been properly notified and enjoined in the lawsuit such liens would wipe out as a result of the foreclosure.  Any lien-holders NOT properly notified or enjoined in the lawsuit would remain in place, which means you (as the successful bidder) would become subject to their loan balance/monthly payments.  Non-payments of these liens would obviously result in foreclosure action and potential loss of said property. CAUTION: FILS, Inc. does not guarantee the accuracy or entirety of this clear title question/answer.  It is important that you consult a title company, abstractor or attorney for title advice.

  8. Where do I register to bid on Tax foreclosures?

    You have two choices for registration.  You can visit the Harris County Tax office online at: http://www.hctax.net/Property/TaxSales/TaxSales

    Or you can register the morning of the foreclosure auction.  In Harris County, registration is conducted outside under the white tent.

  9. Do I have to register for Tax and/or Mortgage foreclosure bidding?

    Yes, to bid on tax foreclosures you have two choices for registration. You can visit the Harris County Tax office online at: http://www.hctax.net/Property/TaxSales/TaxSales

    Or you can register the morning of the foreclosure auction. In Harris County, registration is conducted outside under the white tent.

    As for mortgage foreclosures, there is no registration required.

  10. What if the first Tuesday falls on a holiday (such as July 4th or January 1st)?

    The auction will be held regardless of holidays.

  11. Can anyone bid at the auction?

    Yes. The bidding is open to the public.

  12. Do I have to be and/or have a real estate agent with me to bid on property?

    Absolutely not.  Anyone interested in bidding on properties or witnessing the foreclosure auction is free to do so.

  13. What is a resale?

    The term re-sale only applies to Tax delinquent properties. It means that a property has been up for tax foreclosure before, was not purchased by an investor at the first auction but instead was struck off to the taxing authority and is now back up for auction again. Re-sales are found on the Constable Sale Posting List.

Website Inquiries

  1. Why can't I log in?

    In most cases, this is a function of the browser you are using.  Please be sure to use Internet Explorer to access our website.  If you are using Internet Explorer and experiencing a problem, we recommend first trying to disable your firewall to see if this resolves the issue.

  2. Can I get a FREE trial?

    We do not offer a free trial. However, you can view the Free Listings section where you can view approximately 10-15 free listings that are actual postings for the upcoming auction. In addition, included with your purchase of our pre-foreclosure report are both the upcoming auction data and the following month's auction data.

  3. I ordered a Deed of Trust but when I tried to open the document nothing happened. Why?

    In most cases, this is a result of a pop-up blocker on your computer.  Please be sure to turn off the pop-up blocker.  If you do not want to turn off the pop-up blocker, simply hold down your control key (as it will temporarily disable the pop-up blocker) and then click to view. If you have already successfully ordered & viewed one Deed of Trust document and not closed the window before viewing the next Deed of Trust document, the subsequent Deeds of Trust will appear in the already opened Deed of Trust window. 

  4. How do I change my password?

    Use the Live Help button on most pages of our website, call our office, or email to change your password.

  5. What are the free listings?

    The Free Listings section allows you to view approximately 10 free listings that are actual postings for the upcoming auction.  To view the other 2200-2800 (on average) properties, please click ORDER NOW.

  6. What is the difference between the current month listings and next month listings?

    Current listings for use of this website are considered active postings for the upcoming auction (the first Tuesday of the upcoming month).  When F.I.L.S., Inc. refers to “next” month’s listings we are referring to the early postings for the NEXT month’s auction, which is the auction following the upcoming auction.  For example, if it is October 10th then the current listings are for the auction on the first Tuesday of November.  The next month’s listings (or early postings) are for the auction on the first Tuesday of December.

Billing Questions

  1. Why has my credit card been charged again?

    As seen on our subscription form, our policies page, and our user agreement the one month subscriptions are subject to an auto-renewal.  This auto-renewal service was highly requested by many of our long-standing customers.  For cancellation, please use the Live Help button located on most pages of this website, send an email, cancel online once you are logged in, or call our office during normal business hours.  Please refer to the policies page and user agreement as we do not offer a refund for the charges that have already occurred.

  2. Can I convert my 1 month order to a long term subscription?

    Yes.  Conversion can only be made with a customer service representative.  Please use the Live Help button located on most pages of this website, send an email, or call our office during normal business hours.  The longer term subscriptions have built-in discounts and are recommended to save you money!

  3. What is the $5 charge I see on my credit card?

    The order of PET via the camera icon results in a $5.00 charge which is clearly stated when you initially click the camera icon.  You have to acknowledge this charge prior to the charge being placed on your credit card.

  4. I just received an invoice and I do not want to renew.  What do I do?

    As noted at the bottom of the invoice, renewal is optional.  If you do not wish to renew your subscription with our service simply discard the invoice as your subscription will simply expire.

  5. What does it mean that my subscription is 1 issue NOT 30 days?

    One month means one issue NOT 30 days.  Each issue expires the first Tuesday of the month following the date you first enroll.  By law, the foreclosure sales in Texas occur on the 1st Tuesday of each month and consequently all data in the current issues expires.

  6. How do I stop the auto-renewal?

    This is easy! Simply use the Live Help button located on most pages of our website, send an email, cancel online once you are logged in, or call our office during normal business hours.

    To cancel yourself simply log in with your Username & Password.  The first page to appear is the File Access Page. Scroll down to the 4th peach colored heading titled "Field Title Definitions, User Agreement, Statement of Purpose, etc.".  Click the 3rd choice "Membership Options".  This will open a Pop Up window.  (If you use a Pop Up Blocker you will need to hold down your control key on your keyboard to allow the window to appear.) This window will ask you if you wish to cancel your monthly membership and you will simply click Submit. Please write down the dated Monthly Membership Cancellation Confirmation Number for your records.

  7. What is the deadline to stop the auto-renewal before it charges my credit card again?

    The day before the foreclosure auction each month.

Where to Get Lists

  1. Where can I pick up a hard copy listing?

    Service Docs – Downtown Houston
    1019 Congress
    Law Library – Service Docs
    6:30 am – 6:30 pm (Monday – Friday)

  2. What is the fastest way to obtain the reports?

    Our online listings provide immediate access to the current postings/results.  Online subscription is the most advanced way of obtaining this information.

  3. Why should I order the lists online?

    Our online reports provide immediate access to foreclosure postings and post foreclosure/REO data.  Not only will you have constantly updated access to the current month's pre-foreclosure postings but you will also receive the future month's pre-foreclosure postings at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE!  The online reports include enhanced data such as bedrooms, square footage, year built, estimated opening bid price, number of times previously posted, some with pictures, etc!

Report Details

  1. Can I view the early postings for next month?

    Yes!  As a currently active subscriber you are able to view the early postings for the NEXT month’s auction for FREE!

  2. What does it mean if there isn't any information in a field?

    Most likely you are viewing the report prior to the final publication and that information is still becoming available.  In some cases, it means that we were unable to obtain such information.  For example, a property may not have tax record information or perhaps the tax records are only providing the value of the land as it is new construction.  In these cases, we are either unable to obtain the information or we are aware that the data we are viewing is lacking something of relevance for our customers.

  3. What does it mean if the Sales Confirmation Report says the property was not sold to a Third Party Bidder?

    If the property was sold on the day of auction, but NOT to a 3rd party bidder then the property sold back to the lienholder.

  4. Does FILS, Inc. have the names of the successful bidders?

    No. F.I.L.S., Inc. does not record and/or keep the names of any bidders.

  5. How often are the reports updated?

    The reports are updated as new information becomes available which can mean it is updated multiple times in one day.

  6. Where are the commercial listings for Harris County?

    You can easily view the commercial postings for our reports.  For Surrounding Counties-simply download the entire report and then click the button on the bottom right of your screen that reads: COMMERCIAL.  This button will take you directly to the commercial listings. For Harris County-Simply click to highlight Harris Commercial Properties from the File Access Page, choose to view or sort the report, choose which month you would like to view then click Access.

  7. When is the report complete?

    The final posting day is 21 days before the auction.  All of the property listings are in the system for your viewing late that evening. However, additional information is being uploaded through the remainder of that week.  This information pertains to Harris/Fort Bend/Montgomery counties.  The other counties are complete 19 days before the auction.  

  8. Why is there so little data on the foreclosure report sometimes?

    On the 2 traditional posting days each month (the 22nd and 21st day prior to the auction) you will immediately see basic data published to our reports within minutes of the public release of the notice. Within hours of the basic data posting to our site, enhanced data which may include loan amounts, loan types and terms, bedrooms, square footage and valuation information will be added to each property line.  

  9. How can I tell the report is complete?

    The quickest way to know with certainty if the report is complete is to read the breaking news section of the website.  It is constantly updated with report status and other news of interest. Updates are also found on the Message Board on your File Access Welcome Page after you log in.

  10. How do I contact the trustee and/or mortgage company?

    If you are a current online subscriber you can click on the name of the mortgage company and/or the trustee to obtain their address and phone number. 

  11. What do the field/column headings on my report stand for?

    The field title definitions are found on each foreclosure or tax list once you have logged in.

  12. How do I Export to Excel?

    From the Format Section at the bottom of the Sort and Select page click on Customized Format, Click on Spreadsheet Layout, Number the fields in the order you would like them to appear on the spreadsheet, Click Submit. A pop-up will appear asking to Open or Save the file. Click Open and this will open the data of your choice in a spreadsheet in Excel for you to work or save. MUST use Internet Explorer as your web browser. Exported data from this website is for internal use only. By User Agreement, such exported data may not be sold, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part to third parties.

Glossary

Address: The common address of the property. The common address is provided on a significant percentage of the foreclosure notices, however, some must be researched by FILS staff from tax rolls. FILS does not guarantee the accuracy of this field of data. Note: "VIC"means "vicinity of".

AVC: Automated Valuation Calculation - A property valuation calculation based upon comparable sales data of previous retail home sales for the same street or neighborhood. (Subscribers are cautioned that this valuation is a reasonable estimation of the property's value, however, it is recommended that subscribers obtain an independent evaluation).

Bdrms: Number of bedrooms.

Current Owner: In most cases, the foreclosure notice does not disclose the current owner if the mortgage had been assumed. However, in the few cases when the Current Owner name is provided on the notice, the name appears in this field.

Est Bid Price: Bid prices are not public information. They are not provided by Trustees or Banks nor are they furnished on the actual foreclosure notices. However, representatives of Foreclosure Listing Service have recorded the final bid prices of every property foreclosed at every foreclosure sale since 1967. From our extensive data base of recorded final bid prices, we have been able to derive a formula for calculating the estimated opening bid prices. Users of this field are cautioned that the Est Bid Price we provide is not the actual opening bid because again, Texas law does not require the disclosure of such information by Trustees. We also caution users that this field is an estimation but generally is within 3% to 6%, plus or minus, of the opening bids and also caution users that our estimation may occasionally be dramatically different from the actual opening bid.

Est Equity: The investment gross margin. Estimated Equity is the difference between the property value and the Estimated Loan Balance.

Est Ln Bal: Estimated Loan Balance - Texas law does not require the disclosure of the loan balance and such information is not publicly available. FILS programs run an algorithm that estimates the Loan Balance based upon the original amount borrowed, the mortgage term, and the average prevailing mortgage interest rate for the origination date of the loan.

Est Margin: Estimated Profit Margin - The percentage difference between the property's value and the Estimated Loan Balance.

Film Code Nbr: The Deed of Trust filing reference number in County Clerk records.

Final Bid: (Only pertains to the "Last Sale Confirmation Report") - The final and successful closing bid at the foreclosure sale usually occurring only when there is competitive, third party bidding.

Grantee: (Only pertains to the "Last Sale Confirmation Report") - The bank or mortgage company which "repossessed' the property at auction, resulting from no third party cash bid.

Key Map: The reference grid in Key Maps locating the property.

Legal Description: The Lot Number, Block Number and Subdivision location of the property.

Ln Orig Dte: The date when the Original Mortgagor (homeowner) received his mortgage for purchase of the property.

Loan Number: The mortgage company's loan identification number.

Loan Type:

                CONV - Conventional Loan

                FHA - FHA Loan

                VA - VA Loan

                EQUITY - Home Equity Loan

                M - Mechanics Lien (generally a home improvement 2nd lien)

                HOA - Assessment (HOA Maintenance Fee deficiency)

                SECOND – Second Lien

                TAX – Tax Transfer Lien

Mortgagee: The bank or mortgage company.

Opening Bid: (Only pertains to the "Last Sale Confirmation Report") - The original bid announced by the Trustee at the foreclosure sale. If there is not competitive, third party bidding, this is also generally the final bid in favor of the bank.

Org Loan Amt: The original mortgage amount borrowed by the Original Owner.

Original Owner: The original owner of the property. (May also be the Current Owner).

Prop Value: The assessed tax or market value of the property recorded in County Tax rolls.

Sold to 3rd Party: (Only pertains to the "Last Sale Confirmation Report") - Denoting a sale of property at auction to a party other than the bank resulting from competitive cash bidding.

Sq Ftg: The square footage of the home.

Tax Acct ID Nbr: The identification number of the property in County Tax rolls.

Term: The term of the mortgage usually reported in the number of years.

Time of Sale: Texas law requires the statement of a three hour window within which the Trustee will sell the property at auction.

Time Sold: (Only pertains to the "Last Sale Confirmation Report") - The time at which a successful bid closed the sale at auction.

Trustee: The representative appointed by the bank or mortgage company to conduct the sale at auction, usually an attorney.

Trustee Ref Number: The identification number of the foreclosure files and documents in the Trustee's Office.

Probate Report List 1 and List 2 distinctions: In some cases, the applicant (usually the estate executor) is the spouse of the deceased and the address reported in the probate filing matches the property address owned by the deceased. It is generally presumed that this reported address is part of the estate and therefore subject, in some cases, to sale to satisfy claims against the estate.
The Probate Report List 1 includes such filings noted above.
In other cases however, the applicant is either a non-relative or indirect relative of the deceased and the address reported in the probate filing is not the deceased party's address, is not part of the estate, not subject to sale, and is instead simply the address of the applicant (usually the executor), provided in the public record as a correspondence address for matters regarding settlement of the probate case.
The Probate Report List 2 therefore reports addresses of the applicant which are in the public record but such addresses are not included as assets of the deceased subject to sale to satisfy claims against the estate.