My husband and I have bought 11 properties over the last ten years, mostly bank-owned, HUD, Fannie or Freddie properties. We are interested in learning more about buying off the courthouse steps, specifically in Kansas City North - Clay & Platte counties. We are going to go to a local courthouse auction this Friday to get an idea of what it looks like before we're ready to bid. I know you have to be a cash buyer and do your research in advance to know what liens are on the property, because you are responsible for the those liens, correct? Even the first and second mortgages? You have to completely pay those off, yes? Do you usually pay for title searches on properties or do them yourselves? Our recorder's office recently allowed that information to go online if you fill out the necessary form, but I'm not sure what everything means? I would love to have a "cheat sheet" of what all of the various deeds and other lien language mean.
Any other courthouse bidding tips or warnings?
Yes, other liens will carry with the property in a courthouse sale.
Typically one of the lenders is the one holding the auction, so they will sell at an amount that they deem appropriate. Typically this is the mortgage payoff amount. Occasionally lower based upon appraisal. Therefore, you are typically looking for older mortgages going into default.
Most court house investors have ties to a title company or understand enough about the system to do themselves. Platte county is a challenge, but I am able to do my own research in Clay Co online.
Its a very tough game, but there can be winnings. Just remember that you are looking for the rare properties that have equity left in them at the sale. I would say that is only 1% of the time. If there are only a couple of people standing around, there is likely no equity. You will see a few investors show up to bid when there is actually something going on.
I would suggest the Jackson County auctions as a better place to learn. More taking place, more "equity" positions and likely more investors standing around that you can possibly learn from.
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