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But that wasn’t true. “There’s no end to opportunities if you know all the different ways to take advantage of the marketplace,” he says.

No matter what the housing market does, he noted, people will always get into trouble with their money. Homeowners run into problems because of a divorce. Some borrowers become alcoholics or gamble away the mortgage.

“There’s never an end to people going into foreclosure, for so many different reasons,” De Meire says.

Other investors bypass foreclosure auctions entirely.

Every home Meltcher buys is distressed — the owners are in default or the residence is in some other stage of foreclosure. He buys the homes on the open market — including properties on the multiple listing service and pocket listings from agents — rather than at the auctions. Meltcher, owner and principal of real estate investment company The Investment Division in Brea, said he’s on track to buy at least 80 more properties this year, outpacing last year.

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