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Article of the Month for February 2003 Printer friendly version

Foreclosure Foibles

(Amateur Mistakes & Biases)

1. Will only bid on a senior trust deed position and pass up the foreclosure of any junior lien, regardless of how the deal actually "pencils" out.

2. Will not bid on any property that's encumbered with a junior IRS lien. That's if they have researched the deal enough to know about the IRS lien or heard about it from the talk of others.

3. Will not bid on any property that they wouldn't live in themselves, regardless of the deal's profit potential.

4. Will avoid using investor money—thus severely limiting their deals and profits by 50% to 75%.

5. Will not buy foreclosures in a Buyer's market.

6. Will bid up to 80%/85% of the Fair Market Value of a foreclosure property in a Seller's market.

7. Will buy without looking at the property, prior to the sale, when pressed for time.

8. Will not bid aggressively on properties that are located more than 20/30 miles away.

9. Will take all information at face value rather than independently verifying the property's description, address, title lien record, sale date/place, and looking at the "open", active docs.

10. Will tend to over rely on "secondary" information alone.

11. Will waste lots of time driving and looking at tons of foreclosures far too early rather than looking at them and their comparables a day or so before the sale.

12. Will not think to look at the sold "comps" that form the basis of a foreclosure property's current, fixed-up, market value in order to vouchsafe the comps applicability.

13. Will not spend any time researching property records at the county recorder's office nor look at the owner's filings at bankruptcy court, thus limiting their reach to just the simple deals.

14. Will not understand the blessing of postponements and consequently will fail to keep track of great deals that are temporarily sidelined by a bankruptcy, forbearance agreement, TRO, etc.

15. Will bid from emotion rather than from an objective, pre-planned computation.

16. Will be easily rattled at the trustee's sale by rumors, gossip, and incredibly, by the absence of other bidders.

17. Will assume that a title company's "property profile" is an accurate, dependable record of title despite warnings to the contrary that are emblazoned on its front page.

18. Will take title directly in their name, rather than availing themselves of the protection, privacy and deal-making flexibility of a title holding trust.

19. Will assume that the fastest, cheapest way to get an ex-owner out is to pay them to move.

20. Will sacrifice their on-going foreclosure research to personally do a lot of the rehab work on properties they have already bought, rather than jobbing it out to subcontractors.

21. Will not fix a property up enough to justify getting top dollar for it upon resale—thus needlessly foregoing an extra dollop of profit on each deal they do.

22. Will assume that the way to sell a house quickly is to simply lower its sales price rather than employing more glitter, using value range marketing and arranging for a standby lender.

23. Will stop doing their on-going foreclosure research when they're temporarily out of money.

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