Getting leads from a foreclosure attorney

10 Replies

Hello All,

I'm new to real estate investing and I've been trying to absorb as much info as I can. I'm looking for a property to flip, and I'm looking into all the ways to get a good property. Something I saw mentioned was getting leads from a foreclosure attorney in your area. I'm curious what the best way to approach this is. What exactly do I ask for, how should I ask (phone call, letter, in person?), what should I expect to pay, etc. etc. I don't want to ignorantly approach them and make a fool of myself.

Thanks so much!


Now, you said your goal is to find a house to flip at a good price, correct? Of course, foreclosure rules and procedures vary with each state, but I see that SC is a judicial foreclosure state like WI where I am. I can't say that my experience here in WI will apply exactly the same in SC, but here in WI, assuming a house has gone through most of the foreclosure process, through the various court hearings, etc they'll set an auction date, hold the auction and then at some point after the auction, there will be a confirmation hearing, which is generally a rubber stamp for the results of the auction. The only handful of times I've heard of an auction sale not being confirmed was if the house sold for some ridiculously low price compared to what it should be worth, which is highly unlikely since the law firm handling the foreclosure (along with the bank) will set the opening bid amount. I've attempted contacting several firms handling houses I was interested in and was always told that prior to the confirmation hearing, the house is still legally owned by the soon-to-be former homeowner, so the firm can't negotiate anything. The times that I've called after or even on the day of the confirmation hearing, I've been told that now the home is in the bank's hands (who in most cases, unless maybe for a small bank) will nearly immediately hand it over to a 3rd party asset manager, who will in turn list it with a local RE broker as an REO.

So, my limited experience in attempting to deal directly with the law firms has been a total dead end. I know of one guy who claims to have bought a house or two after the auction and confirmation hearing directly through the law firm, but as is sometimes the case in this biz, I'm not entirely convinced of this guy's truthfulness! I've thought about pursuing this a bit further just to try it, but I've had enough luck finding my projects other ways-auction, mls, etc.

I guess if I had to attempt such a method, I'd certainly try to find an "in" with someone at that law firm or multiple firms, I suppose. Now, how exactly to do that, well that's the big question! One way or another, maybe if you could convince someone inside of the firm (and obviously someone connected to the foreclosure biz there-getting to know a paralegal for a personal injury lawyer at the same firm that never touches anything to do with foreclosures won't help!) that you're a serious buyer with resources who could buy the right house ASAP so the bank didn't have to incur the cost of the 3rd party asset mgr, local realtor, etc MIGHT end up getting you somewhere, but who knows! Could very well just be a wild goose chase!

@Robert Taylor thanks for all the info. My thoughts in contacting an attorney were more along the lines of getting info on the properties prior to foreclosure auction and possibly getting to make an offer to the homeowner. Not sure if this is even something that would be possible through the attorney.

I understand your idea, although as I mentioned in my comment (I know it was a long one so its buried in there! ) Assuming SC is similar to WI (they are both judicial foreclosure states) then the property being foreclosed on still remains the legal property of the homeowner who's about to lose it all through the court process, the actual auction and right up until the confirmation hearing which confirms the auction sale. I of course dont know if SC is exactly 100% the same, but that's definitely how it works here in WI. Thus, the law firm handling the case has no more right to the house than anyone off of the street does.

Now, I do have one idea for you if you're looking to get info (I'm assuming that includes touring the place inside and out!) and attempt to make an offer to the homeowner, which would be to go the short sale route. I worked with another broker who would mail handwritten letters to EVERY home that got scheduled for an auction date in Milwaukee county (which is a sizable number! ) and she would actually get a small percentage of responses, of which some she would get listed as short sales, in fact I bought one of them! Anyway, that's also a possibility there, in which case the soon to be former homeowners would obviously have all the incentive in the world to let you inspect the place from top to bottom, which is certainly NOT the case most if not pretty much all the time looking at a house about to be au

Hmmm, looks like the end of my last comment got cut off! Well, here's what I was trying to say:

I was just finishing up that generally, or really pretty much all of the time, houses coming through the auction are not accessible to be inspected on the inside, at all! So, if you are able to find a homeowner wiling to at least consider the short sale option, you ought to be able to get them to willingly allow you inside for a tour. Now, I suppose that even if the bank has zero interest in any sort of short sale, you'd still come out ahead because you would likely be the ONLY potential auction bidder to have been inside recently and the only one really knowing the true condition of the place, inside and out! One part of that (and I'm not sure how relevant this is in SC compared to WI, where probably 99% of homes have basements) up here is that no matter how many windows you're able to peek in and whatever other cursory inspections you're able to do before the auction, up here you'll often have basically NO CLUE as to the condition of the basement, which can easily turn what looks like a "for sure" money maker into a break even at best or even into a big loser!

it will be harder to get them at a good price here. You want to caught it while it is with the homeowner and you can make on offer.

@Emily Snapp

A good thing to study being in RE is professional ethics, it's important to understand what ethical standards are for attorneys, Realtors, Closing Agents, Appraisers and others that deal in RE. It's important if you don't want to be seen as being foolish or unethical by asking professionals to do unethical things.

Foreclosures are available when public notice is given.

As tempting as this area of RE might be, it is a highly regulated area by federal law and many of the investor schemes can get the novice in trouble. :)

@Bill Gulley I will do that. That's exactly what I do NOT want to do,come across foolish! Thanks

Originally posted by @Emily Snapp :
@Bill Gulley I will do that. That's exactly what I do NOT want to do,come across foolish! Thanks

Yes, good. Need to take care with what other investors might do. There are areas where you can be creative and find what best works for you but you need to know how information flows, what is customary, what is accepted and expected to keep the pie off your face. Good luck! :)

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