How to Safely Take Possession of the Property?
With foreclosures, the property transfer can be a long, protracted, and messy affair. In a certain area, you take quick possession of a house as soon as you successfully offer the winning bid and pay the courtroom clerk or trustee. In a few cases, the homeowner retain possession of house the during the redemption period, which may last up to a couple of year in some locations. While you are waiting for the expiration of redemption period, you may be tempted to commence work on the property right away. Don't. You may spend $15,000 in renovation investment only to have the homeowner decide to redeem the house just before you wrap up the property project.
Even when the redemption period is expired, you have no guarantee that the homeowners are going to orderly and quietly vacate the properties when the time runs out. In several cases, you can gently urge the homeowners to move out. In other cases, you need to forcefully evict them, which is often a painful process for everyone.
Completing the important paperwork
When you buy a house directly from the homeowners, you and the homeowner attend a closing in which an attorney or a title company's agent file the necessary records and shuffle all the paperwork.
When you buy a house at sheriff's sale or an auction, however, you obtain the deed, which you need to record at the Register of Deeds to get your name legally added to the title. After the deed is dropped off to have it recorded, be sure you get title insurance to protect you from hidden claims on the house. Some title businesses do not offer title insurance on foreclosure houses or houses you pick up at an auction.
Paying insurance and property taxes
When you purchase a house either at an auction or from the homeowners, you become the legal owner of the house even though you cannot take instant possession of it. As owner, you are in charge of paying property taxes and insuring the property:
- Contact your insurance agent to get a homeowners insurance policy for the house.
- Pay the property tax as soon as they are due. (You may be required to pay back taxes when you buy the house.)
- File an affidavit showing you paid the property taxes and insurance. If the homeowners choose to redeem the house, an affidavit allows you to reclaim any insurance payments and taxes you made within the redemption period.
Urging the current residents to move on
As a legal owner and soon-to-be owner of the house, your goal is to urge the homeowners to move out without forcing you to evict them or tearing the place apart. You want the house broom clean and in the same physical condition it was in or even better than when you first visited it. The key to great success in this field is to offer the homeowners an easy and quick exit. Following are a few perks for helping the homeowners move out quickly:
- Offer financial compensation for a non-redemption certificate and keys - a signed arrangement that the homeowners promise not to redeem the house.
- Put up a dumpster in which the homeowners can dispose anything they do not want to move.
- Offer to pay a portion of the relocation expenses or pay for a moving van.
- Offer to pay the first few months rent on a rental unit.