Where to start with deceased owner, no heirs and in Pre-foreclosure

7 Replies

So, while we were out canvassing, we came across a property that we were very interested in.  As we were walking around, a neighbor came by to tell us all about the house... the owner had died and the house had gone into foreclosure.  

I asked if there were any heirs and the neighbor said "Nope, there were no heirs."

I've found the Lis Pendens filing in the county records, but no probate filing. 

Where would I start with this house, since, as I recall, you need the owners permission/cooperation to do a short sale, and the owner is deceased? 

There needs to be a personal representative, or other person "of standing", in order to proceed with any action on behalf of the deceased.  Try to get a copy of the Death Certificate.  The declarant, if other than a county official, may be a person with more information about any heirs.

Thanks, Dave. I'll look into that tomorrow. 

You may be able to find info in the foreclosure case you found in the civil court records online - see if anyone was served on behalf of the homeowner (attorney listed for them as defendant maybe?) in the docket online and/or go into the courthouse to look in the paper file to see if there's anyone that the bank (plaintiff) is serving on the homeowner's behalf.  It's almost impossible for a wholesaler to have a good skip trace service (that is legal), so that's probably the best way to start

Hey Josh, yep, I've checked. All service is addressed to the deceased and 'Unkinowns.' The neighbors did confirm that there are no heirs at all. So I'm not sure what to do next, other than wait for it to go to the courthouse steps, or try to buy it as an REO if it doesn't sell at the steps.

@Josh Thomas,

You said it is almost impossible for a wholesaler to have a good skip trace service (that is legal), not at all most wholesalers don't want to pay the fee each month.

Joe Gore

Joe, my company has access to a skip trace service and it costs us $1 per search that gives more info then we could ever need, but we are in the business of finding people that are owed money.  I wouldn't be able to subscribe to this service if I was only trying to locate homeowners (i.e. vacant houses, etc).  There are 2 Acts I believe and I believe one of them has to be met in order to subscribe to this service.  We don't use much anymore, since we rarely work w/ titleholders these days but it really can be cheap for certain business practices.

Get yourself a 14-day free trial service with Ancestry.com .

Find out birth/date details of the decedent

get copy of his death certificate, which is possible in Florida

There'll usually be an informant mentioned, who's often a relative.

If the decedent was born before 1940, you can usually find him in the old census records - latest ones are from 1940. You can find sibling's names and then search for them. If they're deceased you'll look for obituaries, which usually names their children etc. 

Anyway, there's no reason  to hire a skip tracer , even though @Joe Gore is always trying really hard to sell his services here . So many ways that you can find people. Google is your friend

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