Best practices on buying a foreclosure in Miami

7 Replies

Hi all,

I'm looking to buy my first foreclosure in Miami and I'd love to hear from anyone that has experience with the county's auction site. 

1) I know many listings get cancelled, how do you avoid paying for full title/lien searches when there's uncertainty in what will actually go up for sale?

2) Is the idea not to get too excited on one property, but focus on bidding on quantity? Do you have to bid on a ton of properties in order to win one?

3) Final judgement amount. Sometimes the number is big... like over 1M. Does the best offer still take the property regardless of what the final judgement amount is? And then is it correct that the remaining amount from the final judgement amount does not carry over to the new owner (ie. me)?

If there are any agents that specialize in Miami-Dade foreclosures, and have experience with the online site, I'd love to talk.

1.  This is one of the things that makes buying at foreclosure expensive.  The best way to avoid this is to do the title search just a few days before the auction.

2. Yes. You have to bid on many to get one. 

3. You usually don't know what the bank's reserve amount. Many times they want to get their full 1 million dollar judgment amount other times they reduce the amount they will take.  These are NOT absolute auctions.  Most auctions do not reach the amount the banks require and the property is sold back to the bank.


Also please realize you need all cash to bid on foreclosures in Miami.  You need to have on deposit 5% of your total bid amount to be able to place a bid and then you have to bring the clerk certified funds for the balance by 12 noon the next day.  So, you need to be very liquid. There is not time to sell stocks or pull money out of a 401k 

No problem.. Let me know if you have any other questions. I have been buying foreclosures in Miami for 30 years..

You must do all your homework first, that means understand who is foreclosing, and what encumbrances are currently on the property and what the foreclosure auction will wipe out or leave. Too many times I get calls for a lien search from clients AFTER they have bought an HOA lienat the county auction for example and there's a big fat mortgage on the property.

Do your homework, get advice, verify advice, and then do your homework again.

@Brian Garrett Yes. Not lately but about 3 years ago when the Miami Market got a bit over saturated, I started buying and Flipping in Palm Beach.  Then the hedge fund started buying up there and they were bidding too high prices at the auctions to make anything work. I don't look at anything up there anymore on a regular basis so not sure if the hedge funds are still buying everything up or not.