Foreclosure Property that set for auction July 2019

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I found a vacant house that that's was foreclosed 6 years ago.  I contacted the original owner, and that's the story she gave me.

I called the local county Tax Assessor that they redirected me to the local Land Commissioner because they don't keep records of taxes that's been overdue for 3 years.

After talking with the Land Commissioner, overdue taxes for the last 4 years is only $380.00 but only the original owner could pay for it.  They would not accept payment for any other source.

Looking in public records the name is appended by the word "State-"

"State-Smith, Jones"

Is this worth paying for a title search and trying to work out a deal with the mortgage company? Or should I just wait for the auction?

Thanks in advance.

Pretty high chance IMO until the owner decides to sell it. You can likely find out who is on title for free and see if you can contact the owner. If it's a big mortgage servicing company you probably need to wait until it's listed as a REO, not sure why it hasn't been done yet. If it's a private individual, small company, etc, you can try to call them to work something out.

My guess is that it's a bank owned home and it's just sitting there. 6 years without becoming a REO is a pretty long time so maybe something weird is going on internally with the new owner.

From my understanding, the only reason why it's going to auction is that the $380 was not paid according to the land commissioner in my state.  If it was paid by the original owner and only the owner the State would release the property back to the individual.

Before a property is sent to auction the State would then do a title search and to see who has the invested interest in the property.

What's not exactly clear to me, is why I can't get the owner to pay property taxes with provided funds to avoid the auction, then try to work out an agreement with Mortage company.  It would be a risk for me, but I am wondering what would happen if the taxes got paid.

I have talked with a real estate agent and they told me I would not have a dog in this hunt because it's foreclosed, and it's currently held at State for unpaid taxes and when it goes to auction it can only be sold by a real estate agent, not a private individual.  He said some mortgage companies may have a foreclosure on the books for up to 10 years before they take any action on the property.   The unpaid taxes was a way for mortgage companies to sweep their books.

I am trying to validate those claims and wondering if there is anything I could do to grab the property before the auction.  From reading online, auctions on average only recover up to 37 percent of the owed mortgage.   Why could a short sale not be attempted?  I guess I am missing a part of the puzzle here.

Is there anything that would prevent a short sale on a foreclosed property?

The cheapest title search in my local area would cost $150 per request to find the mortgage lender, I can find the owner all day long, but leans I have not been able to find for free.