Buying a home with a squatter in it....

14 Replies

I have a family that I bought 2 houses from call me on a 3rd home. It is a 1700 sqft 4/2 with 1700 sqft. It has a massive yard and is on a quite street. The problem is this one has a relative who is squatting there. She has been squatting there for over 20 years. The home was owned by her father. He grew ill and couldn't get her to leave. The executor of the estate has asked her to leave and had her served a notice to move. Before they evict they want us to buy it. They are worried that when they go to evict she will take it personally and trash the home. The trick is the home is worth 160k and I can get it for 50k. However... How can I see the inside before agreeing? What legal battle am I looking at here? Cash for keys?  

I have never done an eviction. What would you do? 

@Ryan Dossey  

Have you read @Will Banard's worst case squatter tale?  I'd have the family get her out ... a trashed place is easier than a long-term squatter.

In many jurisdictions, you cannot evict someone who is not a tenant ... there is a whole other process which must be followed.

Where the father is now deceased and the daughter has been there two decades, she may be able to make a case for possession (pending the jurisdiction).   

I'd have a chat with your real estate attorney before biting on this one.

Thanks @Roy N.  I spoke with a local attorney who said that it wouldn't be an eviction. It would be an unlawful possession suit. If that didn't work it would be something else. Said the possession suit costs around 500 and takes 6-8 weeks. I agree. I think I am leaning towards having the family handle it as I have no way to see the inside without it. I'd hate to go offer her cash for keys and get a steak knife to the chest... 

Is the daughter who won't leave one of the heirs?

From what I understand she has like a 1/6th heir however all the attorney fees thus far are being deducted from her inheritance for dragging her feet. I'm thinking they remove her or I don't buy it. 

Not playing lawyer. This is just stuff I learned in real estate school. If I were dealing with this, my big concern would be if there were a title by adverse possession thing going on. Since your attorney didn't mention that, I trust that's not the case. But I would make absolutely sure before I waded into that mess.

@Fred Heller  Not currently. However with having been there for 20 years I could see her "getting creative" as the hammer came down. "Dad said I could stay and died before he signed the papers etc."

@Fred Heller  Neither a personal rep., an heir or beneficiary can qualify as an adverse possessor because they cannot be adverse to their isn't interests. 

There are typically at least elements that must be present yo prove up an adverse possession case in a quiet title action. 

This doesn't even begin to fit. 

What you probably have is a forceable detainer matter. Check local state statutes.

@Rick H.   Thank you for the advice. Have you ever had to deal with such an issue?

I have heard that Missouri is squatter friendly. (hear say that may be wrong)

I would highly suggest that you not buy the property until the court has made a decision.

Elements of Adverse Possesion

1) Actual Possession: maintaining the property and improving the property

2) Hostile Possession: Occupy land with intent to own and not in subservience

3) Open Possession: It must be obvious that the person is occupying the property

4) Exclusive Possession: Individuals occupying land for their own use

5) Continuous Occupancy for 10+ years

If your squatter meets those criteria then they might win rights to the property.

@Phillip Tillotson   Great points. I was thinking that as well. With her having been there over 10 years and Mo being "squatter" friendly I would make the seller handle this matter.

Phillip - So what happened ??

This was actually my deal so I'll update. We wouldn't buy it with her in it. They found another sucker who did. They can't get her out so now they are trying to sell it with her in it to someone else.

@Vincent Simone

Grand!  Sounds like you made a good choice....

@Ryan Dossey - Just came across this thread - sounds like you made the right call. Those fat margins can be very tempting, but there is a reason they are giving it away!

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