Buying at Forclosure Auctions (On the Courthouse Steps)

4 Replies

When you buy at Foreclosure Sales at the courthouse what is your procedure?

1. What's the most efficient way to find the property address as they are listed by a partial court case number withe the bank name and owner name?

2.  Do you research the property yourself or pay to have it done ( if you pay who do you use and how much is it)?

3. Is there a way to find out how much the judgement is for?

3. Have you ever been burned buying a home at the courthouse?

4.  How do you ensure that the loan being foreclosed is in first position (I've heard horror stories of second loans being bought at foreclosure sales when the buyer was told by a title search company that it was a first loan}?

5. If you can't see inside the home how do you decide on repair costs?

6.  There seems to be a "good ol' boy" network going on there.  Do they really bid too high against new bidders to scare them off?

Thanks so much for any input!  Anything that I haven't asked but you feel would be useful to me would be much appreciated.

Best bet is to go to your local county clerks office and look up the Les Pendents doc-it for this property. It tells you what legal action is taken place. From there you can look up mortgages, owners name and address, liens, taxes, and any legal papers.

Mike Sedlacek, Real Estate Agent in VA (#0225223133)

Online, county clerk of court, official records.  Search the defendant's name, you'll find: the judgment, legal description, other mortgages, liens, etc.  Been there against the "good old boys"...usually they won't overpay to scare you off.  If they do, at some point they'll stop, if they think you're only looking for one property and will then be gone...yes, I simply told them this :). 

1) No "Most Efficient" way. Many have different methods. Read the papers, call the trustee number on the notice of sale, etc..

2) See your number 4 question to answer this number 2 question! Paying someone $500 bucks to ensure you are spending $200,000 bucks wisely would be insane in my opinion. Yeah, pay them but, do your own research and make your own conclusions.

3) I haven't but, I know many that have and I've gone to sale with my junior lien and had someone bid thinking they were getting it from the senior lien holder. They didn't believe me until I put THEM into foreclosure for not paying off the first (I was servicing the first too).

4) See #2 and #3

5) You guestimate, based on experience and/or worse case scenario. What would a total electrical job cost for a house? What would a total kitchen cost, a new HVAC system, etc..

6) There are the usual suspects however, bidding high to scare away other bidders is just stupid. They have to pay the higher price for the thrill of scaring you away? They are only going to bid what their financial models tell them to bid. I go to sales and bid on behalf of the bank, backed by $4 billion in assets and as many cashier's checks as I want but, if the mom and pop first time investor come to bid, and bid more than I'm willing to spend, I walk away. I wouldn't be in business long if I outbid them to scare them away. I don't see people bidding for the purposes of pushing others around. I think that's more urban legend than anything else.

1. There are some relatively inexpensive providers that offer this service. Some counties are online and provide the address.  (not sure why they all don't offer this)

2.  Both - two sets of eyes are better than one.

3. Lots of times! Worst was when I bought a property where the violations were not properly recorded by city, and didn't show up on initial search. They were in the $10's of thousands worth!

4. "First in time, first in line". Check, re-check dates, follow the assignments, ensure subordination agreements for refi's, etc. Watch out for superior liens, HOA, taxes, etc.

5.  Drivebys, look in windows, etc.  Often exterior is a good indicator of interior condition.  Vacant/non-vacant, etc.

6.  Auctions are all online in SoFlo, so no real bidding up against new comers.  The hedges tend to overpay regardless.