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Article of the Month for September 2004 Printer friendly version

Foreclosure Work Flow

(Tips in Working Foreclosures)

by Ward Hanigan

  • Create Two Indices
    1. Alphabetical index of trustees (with their addresses and phone numbers)
    2. Calendar index, by sale date (for tracking sales/postponements)
  • Create a full-sized foreclosure worksheet that you can work on without abbreviating everything (so that it'll still make sense months later).
  • Chronology of work effort
    1. Call the trustee first to be sure it's still "on" before putting in any time.
      1. Verify the sale date, time and location.
      2. Ask (whoever you've developed rapport with) to vouchsafe your research regarding loan priorities, IRS liens, etc.
    2. Look at the CD/ROM or web-based property information service for information on your target property.
      1. Verify the legal description, the address, etc.
      2. Locate the property on the plat map. Then you will know precisely where it's located when you're in the field.
      3. Pick up property info, grant deed & concurrent trust deed document numbers, etc.
      4. Look at adjacent neighborhood entries for comparables, etc.
    3. Check the MLS, the AIRD and/or other sources to establish retail value.
    4. Establish the trust deed's priority.
      1. Look in the county recorder's grantee/grantor cross-index in the appropriate years to find other trust deeds, reconveyances, subordinations, general liens, et al that are of public record.
    5. Determine the equity available and compute your maximum bid amount calmly . . . before going to the sale.
    6. Verification of your data.
      1. Verify all the info on your foreclosure notice regarding the sale date, time, location, etc. by looking at a copy of the Notice of Trustee's Sale.
      2. "Private party" beneficiaries can be a wealth of knowledge regarding the property, trustor, tenant, value, last sale, etc
      3. Title companies will fax you specific document info just for the asking (but avoid their "property profiles" since they are mandated incomplete by the insurance commissioner).
    7. Drive by and look at the property, the comps, the neighborhood and local sales activity. Take a digital picture of the property
  • Final Steps
    1. Get the "date down" info from the trustee late in the afternoon, the day before the sale.
    2. Go online to PACER (the bankruptcy court's web site) and check to see if a bankruptcy has been filed or if a relief from stay has been granted, etc.
    3. Get your bank-issued checks (cashier's checks are preferred) in doubled-up denominations - made out in your name (so you can endorse them over to any trustee at any sale).
    4. Call the trustee a final time, just before leaving for the scheduled sale, to verify that it is really "on" this time.

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