Jim Paul (ALPS Group) is a court-appointed receiver in multiple states, a paralegal, and a developer. He can be reached at jmp@thealpsgroup.com

Real estate investors should not shy away from considering buying properties in foreclosure or in REO. Even though foreclosures are down by 14 percent from 2015, there is still a surplus of cases being filed. According to reports, approximately 940,000 cases were filed in 2016.  So opportunity is still available to acquire a good investment through a receiver or court.

The question comes up on how to go about and find out about properties in foreclosure? Start with the local newspapers where they publish the cases or reach out to the court system in that county. You can obtain information because it is public information. You may have to file a FOIA with the clerk but this can provide opportunities that you were not aware. If a receiver is on the case, you could reach out to them and mention that you are interested in property. Even though the receiver has not received permission from the court to sell the property, they can still serve up to the court and all parties on the offer. The court will make the decision on whether to sell the property.