Entering homes before auction - "magic key"

16 Replies

Met a guy at a networking event last night who has supposedly has access and permission to enter foreclosed homes before auction. He said he has a key from all the banks that would let his team enter the homes so investors can walk around and do an inspection before bidding. I was wondering if anyone has heard of this and whether is a legal practice in NJ. 

no such thing

I am not an expert and have only worked with worked with foreclosures a couple times but I find that very hard to believe.   

I assume you mean REO auctions? The “key” the guy is talking about......property preservation co.s who look after homes during/after foreclosure typically use only about a half different lock sets/keys for their properties. This is one of the keys he has, but he definitely doesn’t have the bank’s permission to be cruising around in these empty houses.....not that I haven’t “found a way in” myself, once or twice.

If these are bank owned properties - REOs - he may be referring to listed ones. Some of them never hit the MLS and some do. A couple of banks in my area list them. If they do, any licensed agent can get you in.

If these are mortgage and/or tax deed sales then no way. That would be trespassing for sure.

Great, thanks everyone. He was definitely referring to sheriff auction sales, and not REOs. 

Well, most vacant homes in the foreclosure process have a preservation company maintaining them......same keys.

"Well, most vacant homes in the foreclosure process have a preservation company maintaining them......same keys."

Yup and same permission for investors to enter them :)

It's only legal if you have consent from the banks to enter their property. This is also very unlikely if you don't have a great relationship with the specific bank that owns the property to begin with. Also a question comes to my mind the minute you mentioned foreclosed homes. Is this person credible in what he does or is his business practices shady?

I'm not sure. I've seen him at a few previous  meetings, this was my first chance to talk to him. I obtained his business card and couldn't find anything on his business. I'll ask a few other members at the next meeting to see if  they've worked with him in the past, and what reviews they have. 

Maybe I'm jaded... but why would this guy offer you this favor? Glossing over the fact that it's probably a 99% chance of trespassing.... why offer it up. If this was something he actually had, he'd be wise to keep it to himself or people close to him, not blab it at a networking event.

I'd steer clear of this guy and would avoid having my name attached to the same sentences as his...

As 

@Wayne Brooks mentioned, the property preservation folks have keys, and whether is is already REO or a vacant property headed to foreclosure the property preservation team would have likely been there and changed the locks. Just having a key does not grant permission to the key holder - I believe burglary is the charge that one would face for entering without permission.

BTW - the guy who has the "magic key" might just have what's know as a "bump key".

There is no one magic key. Pre foreclosures are still the property of the owner up until the deed is transferred to either the bank or a third party bidder. Entering the property is trespassing for sure. The bank (or it's servicing co) only has the right to enter because of a clause in the mortgage allowing them to do so because of the defaulting loan. Many of these servicing companies use the same basic keys when they do a lock change because it's just easier than having 1000 different keys. Some investors get their hands on these keys. This does not make it legal to enter. 

He was charging between $300-500 to go into houses within a certain area (i.e 5 houses within a 20 minute radius). So he wasn't offering a free service by any means. 

@Daniel Velez I'm not sure if that is legal or not, but charging you to view houses like being stated, sounds like shady business!

Originally posted by @Daniel Velez :

He was charging between $300-500 to go into houses within a certain area (i.e 5 houses within a 20 minute radius). So he wasn't offering a free service by any means. 

 ask him if you for a invoice you can pay via credit card lol.... 

Originally posted by @Daniel Velez :

He was charging between $300-500 to go into houses within a certain area (i.e 5 houses within a 20 minute radius). So he wasn't offering a free service by any means. 

So he probably paid someone at each bank to get a copy of the key and now he charges to use it. Illegal entry into the property, but since it is an abandoned property and he has a key, nobody is going to stop him. Even if someone calls the police, it becomes a civil matter because he has a key. Investors regularly break into properties. Heck it even happens on the flip TV shows. Who hasn't walked on a property and looked in the windows of a foreclosed property - isn't that window peeping?

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