The $1.75 eBay house: Foreclosure bargains aplenty

For months, I've been hearing rumors and tales about incredibly cheap housing in high-foreclosure markets. In Detroit, for example, a house that cost $65,000 in 2006 recently sold for $1, and it's apparently fairly common to find houses in the $300 range.

As in the case of the $1.75 house that Joanne Smith bought in Saginaw, Michigan, many of these super-cheap foreclosures come with a tax bill that is in arrears, but even with the $850 in back taxes and cleanup costs that she will end up having to pay, she's gotten an incredible deal.

Searching through various foreclosure listings online, I decided to check out some of the places where I've lived. In Roanoke, Virginia, where my wife and I briefly contemplated buying a home, the cheapest place I found was running about $1,000. Meanwhile, in Blacksburg, where my wife and I worked, even HUD homes used to run in the $140,000 range. Right now, "motivated sellers" and banks are dropping properties at fire-sale prices.