I bought a foreclosure house on the courthouse steps

This guest post is from Naomi Mannino. Naomi is a freelance consumer personal finance and health journalist who reports on health, medical and personal finance news and how it will affect your life today. You can follow Naomi on Twitter @naomimannino.

Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.

Can you really buy a house at auction on the courthouse steps for $100? Do you have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as the house-flipping guys do on TV?

My husband and I have just recently achieved our long-time goal of buying a foreclosed house, turning it into a rental property and creating a steady stream of income from the monthly rent we collect (at 17 percent profit on the initial cash investment every year). It's neither quick nor easy, but it is a viable investment solution if you meet the five requirements below.

1. You Need Cash

I came into a small inheritance and thought hard about what to do with the money. I don't know enough about the stock market, so I stayed away from that. Then there's the low interest yet tried-and-true 5-year CD ladder I opened. But my husband and I have always wanted to buy a foreclosure on the courthouse steps and now we finally had the chance. Every county is a little different, but one thing is a constant in all foreclosure auctions: Cash is king, as certified funds are required usually within 24 hours of winning the bid and making any initial deposits required.

2. You Need Experience

We are not newcomers to buying houses at a low price, renovating them over a number of years and then selling at a higher price. My husband is a carpentry contractor, skilled in all the building trades, so we do all the work ourselves. That means we can look at a property and calculate in our heads time and expenses necessary to make the house desirable and rentable. We only want houses with good bones on a nice family street. They are not large and upscale and do not require granite counter tops and stainless-steel appliances (in fact, the best place to get the best appliances for less is to buy used through Craigslist.org).

We don't need to pay for inspections, surveys or other contractors unless it is for HVAC (air conditioning/heating) or septic system repair or replacement. We have learned this through small mistakes and overspending on the past five houses. Now we have a formula for choosing tile, vanities, cabinets, roof shingles, paint colors, and carpet because we have done this all before and know what works. If you have to hire contractors, you will pay twice as much or more for the entire renovation. (Foreclosure homes are usually severely neglected, if not destroyed, and need a lot of renovation.)

In terms of the foreclosure auction itself, we had no experience, so we agreed we should attend many auctions and just watch how it works, learn what the rules are and who the major players are in our small county. Every county has seasoned investors who know exactly what they are doing, and it pays to watch and learn from them. I have learned to stay away from the big city auctions with deep-pocketed investor groups who buy up tons of houses, because you really can't win a bid against them. In my small county, where you can pick up a 1,000-square-foot 2- or 3-bedroom house for $20,000 to $40,000 to flip or to hold and rent, there are just five regular investors plus us, all with different interests and focus areas.

3. You Need to Research, Research, Research

Our county publishes a twice-weekly list of the properties to be sold at the foreclosure auction held each Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. A large portion of our time each week is spent physically viewing the properties and researching them online or in the courthouse books. We never skip these steps.

After you identify a few houses in your chosen location or size range, research each offered property's sales and tax history, as well as its current assessed value on the County Property Appraiser's website, which are all public record. Note these details for the properties in which you are interested.

Next, research each property owner (also listed on the County Appraiser's property record page) online via the County Clerk of Courts Public Record Search because whatever that the owner owes regarding that property outside of the loans (liens, back taxes, etc.), you will owe when you purchase a foreclosure home.

Finally, physically go and see each home you might be interested in (we never buy a property sight-unseen.) We've made the decision to stick to houses in our city proper so we are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods, not traveling more than a seven-mile radius from our home. We create a map of five or so houses that suit our specific purposes, and then we use our smartphone navigation to get us from house to house. From the outside, you can see the state of the roof, house structure, land, doors and windows and can look inside through any clear windows. Many times houses are so distressed they are open, in which case we can identify pros and cons regarding the inside: kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, lighting, air handler, walls and ceilings (but you didn't hear that from me!). Bring a flashlight.

4. You Need to Know the Opening Bid

People get the idea they can buy a house at auction for $100 because they have heard that someone “bid on behalf of the plaintiff (the bank) for $100.” But auction buyers cannot counter the bank bid at $150 dollars. Instead, you need to start the bidding at the acceptable opening bid amount for each property, which is the lowest amount the bank is willing to accept for a property at the auction that day. And you can get this number by simply asking the bank reps, who are all at the sale. Getting to know these guys and gals on a first-name basis makes things even easier. Once you hear this number you will need to evaluate on the spot whether purchasing the property is financially feasible given your cash budget, current market conditions, the research you did on the property and your personal criteria and plan for the investment.

Just because the property is offered for sale at public auction doesn't always mean it's a good deal. Often, the opening bid equals the judgment amount (the money the bank is trying to recover) or more and includes the original purchase price or mortgage plus a second mortgage, other home equity loans, interest and legal fees. The opening bid is ridiculously high compared with its current assessed value. These high-priced properties revert back to the bank because nobody bids on them. What you are looking for is an opening bid way below the current assessed value, and these are few and far between.

We can afford to bid a couple of thousand higher than a flipper — an investor who plans to renovate and sell quickly, who needs every bit of profit he can muster out of each house now. I was told that's how we won our first bid later by the flipper bidding against us.

5. How to Bid

Make sure you arrive early enough on auction day to go to the correct county courthouse office to register as a bidder and receive your bidder's number card. Leave time to approach each bank rep for the opening bid necessary for properties you might want.

When the auctioneer (the county courthouse employee whose job it is to administer the weekly foreclosure sale) arrives at the sale site, he or she will announce some specific rules about deposits for a winning bid. Then things move quickly. When the auctioneer announces a property (by case number, not by address) you want to bid on, hold up your bidder's card and announce your opening bid. The auctioneer will repeat it and then open it to other bidders to counter. I learned from a very seasoned investor to only raise the bid by $50 each time. He says, “There's no sense in bidding it up for myself or the other guy by going hundreds or thousands at a time. I work too hard for my money.” Always have a ceiling in mind, and stick to it. If it goes higher, drop out.

After lurking on the edge of the auctions for about two months, we were finally ready to jump in with both feet. We got a bidder's card, talked to the bank reps and found out that one house we saw and researched had an opening bid within our budget and under the assessed value of the home — so we bid on it! Two other investors counter-bid a few times, but we won the bid and got our first house at the foreclosure auction.

But I must warn you: The fast pace of the auction and hopeful thoughts of steady, slow investment income can be addicting despite all the work involved! Any questions? Have you ever participated in a property auction?

More about...Investing, Home & Garden

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
79 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gayle McLaughlin
Gayle McLaughlin
7 years ago

I have always thought about buying a foreclosed house. Thank you so much for your thorough step-by-step analysis of how to accomplish this feat. Kudos!

Carole
Carole
7 years ago

While the writer and her husband can handle this, probably most people just don’t have the “know how” to make money on this. After you figure out the procedure to purchase a property this way then comes repairing the place and making it presentable. That seems pretty daunting to me unless you really know what you’re doing and have the time to spare.

cynthia
cynthia
7 years ago
Reply to  Carole

And they become their own contractor (because they can) How do they value the opportunity cost? (lost wages while the husband works on this place)

Naomi Mannino
Naomi Mannino
7 years ago
Reply to  cynthia

That’s true – The opportunity cost is figured into the rental income produced. It is part of my husband’s daily work to work on our rental properties as he carpentry contractor and can take on other work as he chooses and fit in our houses needs when necessary. If he had to work 9-5, he would work it nights and weekends and hire others to do it and that would cost more.

Kingston
Kingston
7 years ago

In my area it is still possible to buy fairly low-priced properties through the normal channels, which saves a lot of the legwork that you describe and reduces the chance of unpleasant surprises. But this is probably the best article I have seen on how a small investor can participate in the auction process. It’s great that you have given so many specific details. I don’t know how much difference it makes, but I am curious as to which state you are in … ?

Naomi Mannino
Naomi Mannino
7 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

FLA!

Omar Esmail
Omar Esmail
5 years ago
Reply to  Naomi Mannino

Hi Naomi…Im in southeast florida. I was told Palm Beach County Auction is all done online. Can you Help me in anyway to get started.
Thanks
Omar

Guild
Guild
7 years ago

Each state has different rules after you buy the house. In our state the house cannot be touched for 6 months because the buyer or bank can buy it back. It’s best to buy it before it goes to auction from the buyer on a short sale. Usually the owners don’t realize that this can be done.

Naomi Mannino
Naomi Mannino
7 years ago
Reply to  Guild

Yes – each state and county has its own rules and protocols which is why researching the rules is so important! To your other comment about short sales, while they are available they are neither short or easy to negotiate with the banks and often take several months to complete, if they even accept your offer…

Christine
Christine
7 years ago

The author is spot on in describing the process and work involved. One other item of note, I am a RE Broker in Colorado and have attended many of these auctions. Meth is a serious problem and the chemicals left behind in a “meth-house” are dangerous to your health. Do as much research as possible, including swinging by the police branch for the home you’re considering and pulling an incident report on the address. It’s one more precaution you will want to take in case you have to add the extra expense of meth mitigation.

Naomi Mannino
Naomi Mannino
7 years ago
Reply to  Christine

I have not run across a “grow house” or a “meth house” in my town yet, and i stay away from houses that look destroyed by drug addicts or crazies but you make a good point about searching for an incident report. Duly noted – thanks!

Grant
Grant
6 years ago
Reply to  Christine

I can second the concern regarding “meth-houses”. We have one near us that is sitting stagnant. There was some minimal mitigation done recently thanks to a neighbor’s persistence with the local police chief. As the story goes, the former owner was getting ready to sell and gave the key to her grandkids to clean the house, and after they partied and such it ended up like it is. I went and looked it up, and the amount owed to the bank is more than ‘Zillow’ says the house was worth. (Before the meth damage!). So much for thoughts of a… Read more »

joseph
joseph
6 years ago
Reply to  Grant

Confuscious say man who put faith in Zillow’s ” Zestimate” has indeed been misinformed about intelligent life on planet. Zillow lie.

Maria
Maria
7 years ago

Very interesting post and congratulations on you purchases! My hubby and i have bought 3 foreclosed properties but none on the courthouse steps like you have done. I think that takes a lot of skill and gumption and obviously you have what it takes. I find the return on your cash investment adequate and the income stream hopefully will appreciate over the years.
Thanks for your insight!

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

Very good post! I have thought about buying a foreclosed property, but really don’t have the time to invest in researching the area, heading to the courthouse, renovating the house, etc. It really isn’t something for the faint of heart!

Deane Bong
Deane Bong
7 years ago

Thank you for sharing your experience! I love your strategy of avoiding the big-city auctions to minimize competition. I’ve never heard that one before.

I invest in real estate, but I’ve only been working with short sales and regular foreclosures so far. I’ve always been intrigued with the auction process and will definitely try this myself one day.

Matt @ YLB
Matt @ YLB
7 years ago

My wife is in to a couple shows where they do this. I would love to be a foreclosed property but it seems impossible to do without the experience because I have none when it comes to any sort of construction costs. So hence I would need contracting…

katana
katana
7 years ago

I must have missed you answering the question – did you pay $100 or raise the price $150? I am wondering how much the final price was bid up from the opening or reserve bid.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  katana

You’re a step ahead of me… I’m still wondering if that should say $100K?

HKR
HKR
7 years ago
Reply to  katana

No, the opening bid starts $100 and people think you can just bid $150, but in reality the bank always makes the first bid in the amount of their loan(s) + late charges + legal fees, etc. As the author said, this often adds up to more than the property is worth and then the bank takes it back. Occassionally though, you can find a home that didn’t owe very much compared to what it was worth, but you are still going to pay several thousand, if only because it’s expensive for the bank to foreclose on a home. On… Read more »

Derek - MoneyAhoy.com
Derek - MoneyAhoy.com
7 years ago
Reply to  HKR

That sounds like the craziest law I’ve ever heard of. I can’t believe something like that exists…

HKR
HKR
7 years ago

It’s true; ConsumerAffairs.com has an article titled Buying a Home in Foreclosure: What You Need to Know that talks about it. In comment #4, Guild also touches on it with the statement that “the house cannot even be touched for six months”. In some states you don’t get full rights to the property until the redemption period has passed, but in others you just don’t want to do anything to the property till its passed because you could lose your investment. I did fail to say that the foreclosed on homeowner must also pay interest at an annual rate of… Read more »

Grace
Grace
5 years ago

We attended a few auctions in the city, there were some investors there pros in real estate acquisition. After the auction we talked to at some length, the guy told us of the And the Right of Redemption is very important piece of information in our state is it ROR is 6 months and the investor told us do he does nothing to the house for those six months, he may rent it out during that time! So, that is one way of dealing with it , my perspective is if someone lost there home, the chances of them buying… Read more »

Thomas
Thomas
7 years ago

I have never bid at auction but here that they are something you should go to just to get the experience of the auction. Where I am in Florida there are a lot of people with a lot of cash just waiting to get this homes to be careful. Checking out the properties and neighborhoods are a must. You have to do your research…don’t get stuck with a home that has liens and other things on it.

Robert starnes
Robert starnes
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas

Liens are discharged by the sheriff’s sale when property is sold at the courthouse.

mrs bkwrm
mrs bkwrm
7 years ago

We didn’t buy ours on the courthouse steps, but from a realtor(/bail bondsman). Everything copper had been torn out, so we had to wire and plumb it. It was $6.5K and we probably put around $10K into it before we could move in. Still needs $10-15K to finish it up. It probably won’t end up being worth more than we’ve put into it, but we bought it to live in, not as an investment and we don’t have a mortgage. We’re paying for improvements without debt as we go. I like having a place the bank can’t take if we… Read more »

Ed
Ed
7 years ago
Reply to  mrs bkwrm

True, only the government can take it if you don’t pay your property taxes…..

Hollie
Hollie
6 years ago
Reply to  mrs bkwrm

Great to see another person that is trying to have a place to live. The game this has become so that those that honestly NEED a place to live and are willing to put in the sweat equity CAN’T get a home is just another trigger to irk me. I happened to keep seeing the Bank bought it for $100 on a bunch of homes in our area and the occasional Bank paid at most I think was 50K. I have my tax return and just wanting to hopefully get a little something. Because I am a disabled veteran there… Read more »

Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle
Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle
7 years ago

I nearly bought a rental property this year because of the low interest rates but I am incredibly unhandy so having to pay for every little repair put me off the investment.

I will stick with the stock market.

mary
mary
5 years ago

Take a few of those FREE Home Depot classes. They’re pretty good. Besides there is a lot of How To videos on YouTube that are very helpful. Finally, odds are that just about anything you don’t need a license for (painting, setting tile, replacing fixtures, landscaping, window treatments, replacing doors/toilets, etc.), which is mostly cosmetic fixes will almost always come out just as well, or better, if you do it yourself. Somehow, just about everyone out there charges top dollar for mediocre work. So, take a chance and do much of it yourself. Its crazy how simple much of it… Read more »

Uri
Uri
7 years ago

a further piece of advice: you want to know if the laws of your state permit the homeowner to challenge the validity of the foreclosure after the sale, and understand the risk that he or she may do so.

Derek - MoneyAhoy.com
Derek - MoneyAhoy.com
7 years ago

Great article that covers the details of this process. It sounds like a bit of a gamble, but if your husband is a seasoned contractor he can probably take care of just about any unforeseen problem that could arise.

Carolyn
Carolyn
7 years ago

Thank you so much for this article!! I know the steps may vary but you have given me the courage to start researching for the future! Definitely something I want to take part in!

Reader
Reader
7 years ago

In Arizona it is extremely difficult for a small investor to get a good deal at a trustee sale (since ’11) because you are bidding against REITs and private equity firms that drive the price up to higher than market value in many cases. And you don’t get the same kind of due diligence you get elsewhere. And if you’re not sophisticated and careful, you could end up buying out the second and take subject to the first, or subject to tax liens (which don’t get wiped out) in a Trustee Sale Guarantee. I don’t like this strategy. I think… Read more »

Georgina
Georgina
7 years ago

Thank you so much. This is a very interesting and insightful article. I am a South African so I shall have to do research for local laws and regulations that pertain but I am really excited.

sam
sam
7 years ago

WOW!!!!

Thanks so much for sharing this article – it truly is so informative.

I buy a lot of property at auction in the UK and have always been fascinated by the US system.

Is FLA Florida?

Thank you again for sharing, this post and the comments which have also been posted below give real insight into the US process and I am thinking I will have to get me an air ticket to come and see for myself!!

mary
mary
5 years ago
Reply to  sam

Really, Sam? Looking to buy in the US? Can I buy in the UK? If so, where would be a good place to start?

sam
sam
5 years ago
Reply to  mary

Mary, it all depends on your budget and investment objectives

Nick Boyer
Nick Boyer
7 years ago

Wow! This is one of my dreams and these practical steps give me the confidence boost I need in order to make it a reality! Thank you for sharing!

Stephen in Florida
Stephen in Florida
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing the tips Naomi! This is actually what we are seeing a lot of foreign investors do in Florida (especially South Florida). That area has had a very high rate of foreclosure for a while now, but now there are many international buyers entering the market and paying all-cash for these properties. They do some fixing up and then rent them out. In fact, foreign investors have spent $50 billion on more than 250,000 properties in Florida over the last 3 years!

Short sale realtor CT
Short sale realtor CT
6 years ago

Thanks to share such a great information about
Reader Story: I bought a foreclosure house on the courthouse steps.

Wendy
Wendy
6 years ago

We have purchased a property at the courthouse in FL and feel you article was pretty accurate.

Eugene
Eugene
6 years ago

Thanks for the info. If you don’t speak to the banks first, how do you find out what the minimum that can be bid?

Beau
Beau
6 years ago

This article was most helpful. It gave me clear information on the bidding process. I may have to apply this information in the near future.

Mr Thomas
Mr Thomas
6 years ago

Only one thing will help you to make it possible is the knowledge and experience on dealing this kind of property, it will also require a lots of research too.

susan
susan
6 years ago

After you bought the home, did you have to do any other paperwork? Like putting the house under your name, what is that process like?

Lisa
Lisa
6 years ago

High credit scores have been a goal for the past 3 years–success has been now achieved.
Bankers do not fully reply in the state of Florida——-The auction court house has become my only source other than my other avenue is a personal loan—-this can finance property in lower interest payment?
Any more options?

Michael
Michael
6 years ago

I bought my first house at auction for $5,000 and am documenting the whole process on a blog I created specifically for it. All the windows and doors were boarded up and I wasn’t allowed in until I got the deed.

Having been the only bidder, I got off easy. It’s was abandoned for decades and used as a storage spot from a family of hoarders.

For anyone who wants to see the nitty-gritty, check out my site.

mary
mary
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael

What’s the site, Michael?

Sally
Sally
6 years ago

These tips are great, thanks for sharing! Basically, what it comes down to is to be prepared and know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s not as simple as walking up to the auction and bidding. There is a lot of behind the scenes work to be able to turn a foreclosure into a steady stream of income.

Ron A
Ron A
6 years ago
Reply to  Sally

Great information. I live in Florida and have been following the online county auctions. I still do not understand HOW I can be sure I do not bid on a property and afterwards find that it has a lot of liens on it. The only way I know how to avoid this is to get a title company to do a search for me. But this will cost me $150. for each property. Is there another way?
Thanks for your reply. Ron A

Alysa
Alysa
5 years ago
Reply to  Ron A

Ron. I live in Florida, too. I bought a house at a tax deed sale, which is a little different. It’s been a couple of years, but I am looking at buying at a foreclosure auction soon. I went to the county tax collector site and entered the address in the search and pay property taxes section. In my county, this links to the tax record for that property which lists the name of the owner. I then went to the clerk of the court website and searched online public records, then searched court records using the owner’s name. The… Read more »

Maria
Maria
5 years ago
Reply to  Alysa

Alysa, Thanks for rambling and letting us know how you research these properties to find the judgments against the owner’s, etc. It is very confusing! I’ve bought 3 foreclosures in the past but they were directly from the FHA, VA and DEA respectively and the process was very direct and straight forward. Education is key, since you don’t want to have outstanding liens to satisfy after your closing. Where are you in Florida? I’m in Miami and there are so many homes still being sold in foreclosure down here. I do not have the inside scoop on how or why… Read more »

Rman
Rman
5 years ago

I have been doing some research work on Court Auctions. I have been to the auction a few times, but in my research, I see most of them have liens. especially HOA liens. Since the process to foreclose take about 6-12 months, the HOA is not being paid, and that lien with attorney fees and all the junk fees that comes along can really be up there. I understand the buyer inherits that lien, are these lien negotiable, what has your experience been like?

frances gladstone
frances gladstone
5 years ago

I’m a novelist and university teacher.Help.I need a safe roof here and later in France.Given that I know nothing,how can I find out about liens or other owned sums or the real condition…realistically.So I can live in the place in peace.Thanks.

KayEhm
KayEhm
5 years ago

#3 is probably the most important. Research. The information is readily available so there’s no excuse to not do your due diligence. For example, in Oregon, they list every foreclosure property online at http://www.oregonsheriffs.com

Linda Vergon
5 years ago

(This comment came from Kay, a reader of our daily newsletter.)

#3 is probably the most important. Research. The information is readily available so there’s no excuse to not do your due diligence. For example, in Oregon, they list every foreclosure property online at http://www.oregonsheriffs.com

Sunny
Sunny
5 years ago

My name is sunny and I’m wanting to go to an auction and buy a house I really didn’t know where to start until I saw your story thank you so much for putting it out there in a way that people can actually understand I feel empowered and I am going to take your advice.

Rochelle
Rochelle
5 years ago

Hello, I’m not a home owner and have never been one. But I’m very interested in purchasing my first home at a public auction in my county. I saw one that I’m very interested in, but don’t know the steps. Also this home Im talking has a Homeowners Associations on it, and I didn’t know would it be safe or not to purchase it this way. I’m really worried about the bank putting another foreclosure on it… Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

mary
mary
5 years ago

Thank you so much for posting such an informative article! It is very rare to find people, these days, eager to share their knowledge. I am lucky enough to have my own home, but was not lucky enough to retire with a fat pension because I worked in the private sector. Hence, I am now considering purchasing a piece of property that may provide me with supplemental ongoing income. I am very handy so will be able to take on a fixer for all of the cosmetic work. Your article and information gleaned from the many responses has given me… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago

Hi I am actually baffled at some meesages I have seen here. People not understanding why would the bank buy back those properties at $100 usually or that bank employees have the game rigged. Clearly, you have no understanding of the process. The bank is obligated to go to the auction by law, even if they “technically” have the most money in it : The loan. So, if bidding starts and it does not go as high as the bank is expected to get (Yes, they do set the limit : Balance of loan + legal fee or market value… Read more »

Carolyn Abbott
Carolyn Abbott
5 years ago

A friend and myself are going to bid and flip a foreclosure. My question is what happens to the second lien if there is one due to original owner purchasing with a first and second mortgage. I know the second will be lower than original but will secon lien holder have fees attached due to non payment that we will be assuming also?i hope this makes sense 🙂

Ron C.
Ron C.
5 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn Abbott

The adage “First in time, first in line”, means the earliest (first) RECORDED lien is the one that will need to be paid before the title can be transferred. If the first position lien is the one being foreclosed on, and a second exists, the second will be wiped out. That said, the second can claim they never were notified of the sale, and possibly try other tactics…but the law is the law. I advise having some money available for legal fees when bidding on a property with a second. Also, talk to a title company, tell them what you… Read more »

Debbie
Debbie
5 years ago

Thank you so much for your sharing your story. I can understand now, why most people would think it too risky to buy a property through a Auction. I however I am looking into a condo in Florida that way. I am wondering if you know if power to a condo would be turned off. As you know air-conditioning is a must when it is hot. If it isn’t running harmful mold would be a health hazard. Do you think it would be too risky to buy a property that may have this issue.

Enrique
Enrique
5 years ago

I wander if forclosure in a house is for the second mortgage and is not money left, the winning bidder has to pay for the first mortgage?

KarlGrath
KarlGrath
5 years ago

I agree that #3 is the most important… should probably be moved to the 1st slot since you should research before you start. Most states provide information on the foreclosure properties in their state, and the laws surrounding each. Someone mentioned Oregon.. FYI the Oregon Sheriff’s Association does have this information online but I think it may be a different site than you have? http://oregonsheriffssales.org/

Nat
Nat
5 years ago

So it was cash only on the courthouse steps or was financing available?

CC
CC
5 years ago
Reply to  Nat

Cash or Cashiers Check. Also I have known friends that use a local mortgage company.

Suzanne
Suzanne
5 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m 22 years old in Washington and I also want to try buying a house at the auction house in hopes of getting a better deal. I just want to clarify that if I were to buy a house at the auction for 300k and the total est. debt was 450k would I end up owing 750k? Also how much cash do we have to have? the full amount we are bidding? or as long as we have the 20% down and a bank that will mortgage the remainder?

Genee Columbus
Genee Columbus
5 years ago

You were so informative! I loved it! I’m a single mom of 3 kids who knows that one day I will be my own boss. I feel like this is one way to slowly stop working at dead end jobs (eventually). Because of you I know it won’t be smooth sailing but I will be successful! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May God continue to bless you!

cathy
cathy
5 years ago

Once the property goes back to the mortgage company for $100, (assuming no one met their minimum) then are they (mort co.) able to sell it to whomever they please? Do they go back to the highest bidder and give him first shot or what?

tracy
tracy
4 years ago

Pay $150 for a title search. You are not responsible for all debt outstanding. You are only responsible for the liens that are ahead of the foreclosing party, the priority liens if any. So if a first mortgage lender is foreclosing, you are not responsible for any other mortgage (2nd, 3rd, etc). You’re not responsible for any judgements. Only the 1st mortgage and any outstanding municipal liens. If the debtor owes the IRS, the government does have 120 days to reclaim the property and will pay you what you paid. In NJ there is a 10 day redemption period so… Read more »

Edward Pierpont
Edward Pierpont
4 years ago

We really appreciate the thorough advisory from Ellen two years ago. We have some related experiences and five huge notebooks filled with real estate research and have made five trips this year in search of a deal. Where we live real estate is too expensive and our retirement income is very low so we could use supplemental rental income. Let’s hope Ellen comes back to enlighten us some more. My wife talked to a County clerk JUST this morning.

David Hathaway
David Hathaway
4 years ago

Very informative about buying foreclosure’s. I’m actually reading this while sitting at the courthouse steps. I have also found using sites like FreeOnlineContractor.com and Angie’s list can make it easier to find contractors if buying properties in severe condition.

Josetta M Palmer
Josetta M Palmer
4 years ago

I am not in the position at this time to start bidding but this article has helped more than anything else I have read. Thank you.

shares