I know it is frequently not the case, but I am trying to determine who I should be contacting for county foreclosure auctions to determine if property is vacant?
Also, rules regarding them allowing an inspection (in Georgia) of the property prior to auction
I have read the 1000 posts and articles on the workarounds for drive by, peak in window etc. however, I cannot find anything stating that they cannot allow you access....so, Again, I understand this is not the common scenario, But I am looking for a definitive answer specific to GA with regards to whether it is possible, and not thoughts on how likely it is.
Thanks in advance!
I can't give you specific for Georgia... but I can give you the "Generally" answer. Generally, someone probably has access... but it is a hired company by the lender to maintain the property, and the possibility of the lender wanting to bother with a POTENTIAL buyer when they really (choose one - Don't Care, Don't Have Time, Don't Need To, Etc) show it to ANYONE - pretty much says that you are going to be chasing your tail trying to accomplish something that ulitmately doesn't matter. Why?:
You are treating an auction, like it is a personalized buying experience. It isn't. It is a "You get it the way it is" experience. What you can't tell by peaking in the windows, you assume the worse. "Does the AC work... assume it doesn't. Does the hot water heater work, "Assume it doesn't", Are there termites, "Presume there are", etc. The point is, you adjust your bid for these things to where if everything went completely wrong, and you win, you are happy. Sure, would it be great to get to preview it, absolutely. Is there a one off chance you might be able to thread the needle and find there person who does care, who will make the call, and they will meet you out at the house? I still say "No"... because it will then cost the lender a fee for them to have the property management company come out, etc... but you can always hope! :-)
Not trying to be cynical... just real... If you don't like the way the game is played, you shouldn't play it. There is a lot of chance about auctions. You hedge your bets by basing your bid on all the "what ifs" listed above. I have pressed my nose up to many a window, I have walked in backyards, maybe even found an open window (but will never admit that). You do what you can to find out what you can. You might consider trying to find the previous owner. They can possibly tell you a lot about the property... who knows... maybe still have a key? But your path through the lender will be a long and (I suggest) pointless one.
Also, not sure how much you know about auctions... but keep in mind that superior loans remain with the property... so if it is the second mortgage foreclosing.. or a homeowners association, the primary mortgage survives the foreclosure, etc. So be careful that you truly know it is going to be free and clear. You can usually look the property up on the county clerk's website and they will list all the people who were notified about the foreclosure, etc and you can get a descent idea of what is going on.
All the best!
Thanks for the input Randy. I think mostly I was trying to determine how i find out if it is vacant. The access was really just more of finding out if it is allowed given that 1 in a thousand chance...i.e. one of the properties I am looking at for September still has a lock box for agents that my agent could theoretically access if we had permission, but as it is schedule for auction on the 1st, but I don't know whether I should be contacting the law firm or the lender to ask if it is vacant?
The lockbox is likely for the caretaker / property management company, and not a real estate agent ... maybe they find it easier to store the key at the property? You could ask your realtor if they see a listing in MLS I suppose. Neighbors can be very helpful sometimes... they can tell you about it. Just tell them you are inspecting the property as it is being auctioned off... they will believe you because they will know it's been empty for awhile and usually strike up a conversation. Often they have been in it! They may know the backstory on the previous owner?! Connect you with them, etc.
Vacancy is pretty easy to determine just by looking in a window for furniture, etc in my book.
Wish you all the best!
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