Complicated options - squat, find heirs, or bid at auction

9 Replies

I’m working on my first deal and am looking for a little advice as it’s a bit complicated - property is in FL.

The property will be going to tax deed auction in a couple of months and I've had my eye on it for 6+ months because it's abandoned, but looks like a gem. Details:

* The owner is a missing person (presumably dead)

* Next of kin seems to be his father (haven’t found mother yet)

* I don’t think father knows about the property

* Missing people can be declared dead after 5 years (2022) - I don't know if this and probate happen automatically or if someone needs to file

Disclaimer: I may not understand the laws


1. Squat and hope probate doesn’t happen and heir doesn’t take property within 7 years

2. Contact father day before tax deed auction to see if he has power of attorney or wants to sign a QC - if so, pay back taxes, move in and either do adverse possession (7 years) or go through probate

3. Wait for auction and hope nobody else bids

What do you all think?

1st be sure you understand the Florida Statute regarding Intestate Succession (who gets the property when the owner dies without a will).    Then contact the father -ASAP,
and express your interest in the property. You want to be the first to express interest, and if necessary the firs to repeatedly express your interest. Deals often don't happen on first contact. When you talk to the father, find out whether his son had a will? If he did the will control's who gets the property. If not, did the son have any children? A spouse? A living mother, etc? When you have the facts, you can better decide who you need to talk to and which way to work your acquisition of the property. You can always offer to partner with the heir(s) next in line. If you don't have much cash, you can bring in a 3rd partner who does, or you can offer manage the property and guarantee the heir rent each month split 50% with you. Then move in and your rent is only half of what it would have been. The partnership can would then also pay you for necessary repairs, out of your own rent (and the heirs).

Good luck.

@Justin Hanson , be aware that the closer the property gets to being auctioned, the more seasoned investors will take an interest in profiting from it. The messier the title is on that property (more parties with an inheritance and/or multiple liens), the more important it is likely to be that you quickly acquire an interest in the property and remove it from the property tax foreclosure sale sooner rather than later.

The professional investors who watch Tax Deed Sale lists are specialists in acquiring the interest of heirs and in purchasing liens at the last minute. Once a professional acquires some lien or hereditary interest in the property, he or she will certainly have a plan for using their new interest to squeeze you or the father of the deceased, out of whatever legal interest (if any) that you or the father have in the property.

Best to get at least a preliminary title report so you understand clearly who the legal owner was and what liens have been recorded.  Then, if the property still appeals to you -move quickly to remove it from the Tax Foreclosure Sale list, so that it is seen by fewer competing investors.  Best wishes.

@Davido Davido thank you for the follow up! I’ll be having a preliminary title search done this week. It’s not on the sale list yet, but will be in 2-3 months. I combed abandoned properties to find it and figure out it will go to sale soon - county clerk doesn’t have a file yet, but tax assessor is sending to them soon.

The added layer of complexity is the owner is not dead (yet). He’s a missing criminal who is presumed dead.

@Justin Hanson If there is a decent amount above the taxes owed/minimum bid and the current value, it Will get bids.  If it doesn’t, it goes to the county anyway.  If you can’t buy this at the auction, or find the don/father who have legal Authority to sell it, you won’t be owning it. 
I’d forget the whole adverse possession delusion. 

@Wayne Brooks definitely a gamble - no liens or other issues with it besides taxes. The only owner is a missing person, but highly suspected to be dead. The risk of adverse I believe is if the father petitions for his sons death cert within the 7 years. As @Davido Davido said, it’s probably best to contact the father and get his interest.