House in foreclosure. Owner deceased. How to buy?

5 Replies

Looking for my first flip and found one pretty interesting. Its actually the house I grew up in.

Owner died a few months back and the house is now in foreclosure. It seems they served a Lis Pendens

shortly after his death. What happens to the house? It seems he refinanced it about 15 years ago for about

240K with an adjustable rate 30yr mortgage. I dont know value of that currently but the house in current condition

maybe worth about 100-120K. ARV would be about 219K with maybe 25K in repairs.

Some heir has to gain the legal power to sell....if there is a surviving spouse it is much simpler.  If not, probate has to be opened and a Personal Representative appointed.

Note, if the house is upside down on the mtg, there is no incentive for an heir to go thru a short sale process.....they just let it go to foreclosure as they have no liability.

Thanks Wayne. so if there are no heirs, is there a way to locate the representative appointed for probate? also, is the probate procedure a very long process? A friend of mine passed away in FL several years ago and some of his property was in probate for several years. Not sure why. He had no family and 0 debts.

@John Mills have you searched the recording office to see if any of the owners have an address different from the property address? Maybe one of the heirs can be found that way. You will have to find someone who will have the authority to act for the estate. 

These are tough. But already it doesnt sound like a deal if the mortgage debt is higher than the arv. However if buying this property could give you access to landlocked developable parcels nearby then thats another story however its a big risk and you need cash to do it. 

Anyways you need to see if there is a probate file for the dead owner at the probate courthouse. My state has these online but im not sure about yours. If a probate file was started the personal representative will be listed. This is who you need to talk to.

Reviving an older thread for a similar situation:


A homeowner died and did not have heirs, so the state appointed an attorney to be the Executor. The house is in preforeclosure. I have reached out to the attorney about the property but have not gotten a response. 

As the Executor they have authority to sell, but are they incentivized to do so or just let it go to foreclosure and back to the bank? It could be an excellent deal if I could pay only what is owed, but if it goes to auction it will likely go for quite a bit more. 


Any advice?