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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mellissa Ellis was in the market to buy her first home in Charlotte and she hoped to stay close to center city.

I wasn t finding anything in my price range so I thought I was going to have to (go) outside of the city, Ellis said.

Then her realtor showed her a condominium in uptown Charlotte.

He showed me this place and it happened to be a foreclosure. I got it for a great price and something I didn t think I was going to be able to find and living in Uptown for the price I got it for, she said.

Ellis paid in the $100,000 range. Property records show the condo last sold for $210,000.

Her real estate broker, Scott Lindsley, has spent much of the past two-and-a-half years focused on foreclosures.

About a year-and-a-half ago, he started a Charlotte Foreclosures page on Facebook, which now has close to 2,000 users following his daily updates.

People are buying what they see as a good opportunity, he said.

Lindsley backs up what recent numbers from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association show. The number of new bank-owned properties listed in the region is dropping.

In July, there was a 4.6 percent decrease in foreclosed or short sale listings.

While many worry about another big wave of foreclosures, Lindsley offers this explanation for what he s seeing right now.

I think a lot of the inventory ended up getting sold. And I think that a lot of banks have finally worked out some, not all of the kinks with the short sale process so the bank doesn t end up with some of the homes that it would have a year or more ago, he explained.

But of those coming on the market, Lindsley is still seeing what his buyers would consider deals.

There are 13 condos in Charlotte under $20,000, he said.

One example is a townhouse in the Sharon Lakes neighborhood of South Charlotte.

It is two bedrooms and two baths with about 1,100 square feet for $15,000.

Up in Dilworth closer to Center City, a two bedroom house with a tax value of $404,000 is listed at $204,000.

And in Piper Glen, an 8,000 plus square foot golf course home is listed at $790,000. Its tax value, assigned this past year by the county, is $1,239,500.

Even if one of these distressed properties is on your street, Lindsley feels it is better to get them sold quickly.

If it doesn t sell or if it takes a while, the price will continue to drop so it s sort of a bitter pill to get it sold sooner, and get it over with, he said. I think what we re going to see for a number of months, is just stabilization which is what we all should be happy with for a while. And that is just for the fall to stop and prices to stay steady for a while.

One thing to keep in mind when buying a foreclosure, they re sold as-is.

Some of what Lindsley showed NewsChannel 36 did need cosmetic repairs, like carpet, hardwood refinishing or paint.

Back at Mellissa Ellis s uptown condo, she got lucky.

Most people think foreclosures are going to be in poor condition. I just painted and bought a refrigerator and changed the carpets, but that is basically just it all I had to do to it, Ellis said.

For more residential market statistics, check out www.CarolinaHome.com.

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