pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by poe-me

Posted by Kristine-CA on August 12, 2007 at 21:19:11:

I have a different understanding of tax sales in CA. Tax deed state
means that tax deeds are issued after a county sells them at public
sale. Tax defaulted property in CA does not default to the state (they
do in other staes I’m aware of though). Counties in CA are allowed to
bring properties to sale after the power to sell date (5 years of unpaid
taxes) but many take 6-10 years to be brought to sale. BK and other
legal problems can keep properties out of public sale (and taxes
unpaid) for decades.

Correct me if I’m wrong about the default to state thing.

And as you pointed out, CA is a tax deed state and at this time is
selling no tax liens, so tax liens are not a way to acquire property in

pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by poe-me

Posted by poe-me on August 11, 2007 at 12:43:56:

I have hit an impass with a property I would really like to acquire. Basically, I found a vacant property and I started working on finding the owner. Shortly thereafter, the mortgage went into notice of default. I furiously continued searching–talked to neighbors (no one had any idea where the guy was or where he went), asked the post office (they only had the property’s address), looked up the deed at the county recorders office & local tax assessor’s office (they only had the name and the property’s address), searched many people finder sites on the internet (multiple matches on the name, called them all and they each were disconnected or no answer), even called in my friend who is a realtor with access to more systems and still nothing.

I talked to the president of the Home Owners Assoc for the community the house is in and they are ticked that they have to pay to clean up his yard and cut all the weeds. They wish they could find him too! They think the owner is involved in a straw-buyer scam and hence is in Mexico or something, evading authorities.

So is my only option to wait for the house to go to the bank and try to buy it then? I really would like to find this guy because I am sure he is motivated.

Then I though about buying a tax lien on the property, because his taxes are NOT current. He currently owes $14,000 in property taxes. But, this is in San Diego County, and I dont think they sell tax liens here. I say this because of the following FAQ answer I found at which states:
How do I obtain information on Tax Lien Sales?

The San Diego County Tax Collector does NOT offer tax lien certificates.

The only thing they seem to offer is “Property Tax Sales” which seems to just be property that the county has recaptured and wants to unload.

Any ideas as to how to proceed?

Re: pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on August 12, 2007 at 21:27:22:

Poe-me: unfortunately you can’t acquire the property via a tax lien
since CA doesn’t sell tax liens. So for now cross that off your list.

Have you read every single doc at the recorder’s office. There are often
clues in other docs that may help you find the owner (possible co-
owners that were/are relatives, various addresses, SS# are on some
public docs, believe it or not.)

Are there liens you can buy besides the deed of trust(s)? Joe mentions
HOA (if they’ve filed one yet). Anything else?

Have your checked the Superior Court filings for leads on ex spouses,
child support payments made to another county? Lots of clues there.

If you like, email me and I’ll run the owner(s) names through my
protocols and see if I can find some direction for you to go. I don’t
want any deals in San Diego, so no need to fear any competition from


Pull the bank’s file… - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on August 12, 2007 at 05:53:45:

the foreclosing bank has to make a diligent effort at locating and serving the defendant homeowner or their foreclosure judgment can be vacated. Their file is public record and can be obtained at the courthouse or through a seach service.

Re: pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by Joe Kaiser

Posted by Joe Kaiser on August 12, 2007 at 24:49:26:

Buy the HOA lien and take control.


Attempt to buy the Deed of Trust - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on August 11, 2007 at 18:50:21:

Not all lenders are going to entertain the idea, but if you don’t ask them, they won’t be asking you first. The worst they can say is NO… but maybe they say YES. Purchase at a discount of fair value…

Therein, you step into their shoes and become the party pursuing the foreclosure action. You will likely end up with the property if you are successful in becoming the owner of the paper. In that case you could pursue the foreclosure action, still continuing to attempt to locate the owner for a deed in lieu offer, providing that the title to the property is clean, except for the taxes and the DofT… Be careful on this and make sure you rely on accurate info when assessing what to offer.

Start by locating the loss mit folks of the DofT or servicing company and ask “if they sell the paper”. IF they say yes, then you could an idea in mind of what you might offer; ballpark. Even if they don’t react favorably to the idea, the experience of dealing with them will expand your horizons.


Re: pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by Bill H

Posted by Bill H on August 11, 2007 at 14:04:29:

CA is a Tax Deed State…that means the property taxes have been delinquent for over 5 years and it has deafulted to the state. Doubtful this will happen if there are mortgages or other lienholders…they must be notified and can redeem to protect their interest.

ill H

Re: pre-forclosure: cant find owner - Posted by Jeff

Posted by Jeff on August 11, 2007 at 13:33:53:

I recommend you buy the ebook from this site: It will show you what to do next.

Nah, this is CA, foreclosure is non-judicial - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on August 12, 2007 at 21:10:26:

HI Ben. The original post is about a missing owner and Deed of Trust. No
judicial activities on this one. The trustee has to do precious little,
actually, to notify the borrower. Non-judicial means no court file, etc.