Sheriff Sale...owners died...missing heir... - Posted by Nate Tyler

Posted by Nate Tyler on March 13, 2002 at 15:09:22:

Hey Joe-

Property goes up for sale tomorrow morning…we can’t find the guy anywhere in the state. We could do an extensive Internet search or hire a PI, but we won’t get that done in time to make the Sheriff’s Sale.

Is there any reason why we couldn’t just let the property sell at the sale to whoever…then try to locate the heir after the fact and offer to buy his redemption rights. After buying those rights could we not then redeem the property on our own??

Sheriff Sale…owners died…missing heir… - Posted by Nate Tyler

Posted by Nate Tyler on March 11, 2002 at 22:15:37:


Looking forward to seeing some old friends and meeting new ones at the convention this year!


We’ve located a property with a first and only which is in default because the owners died. It is now scheduled to hit the Sheriff’s sale in a couple days, and the amount owing on all existing liens is about 20% of value. The question I have is regarding how to play this deal, due to the fact that there is at least one known heir which the Sheriff’s office has attempted to contact. Up to now, they have had no luck contacting ANYONE. In our State, the owners have a 180 redemtion period after the date of the Sheriff Sale.

The obvious plays would be:

  1. Try unconventional methods to track down the heir and have them sell off their redemption rights before the sale.


  1. Buy the property at the sale and keep your mouth shut for 6 months and hope the heir never shows up.


  1. Buy the property, THEN try and contact the heir, and HOPE that they are cooperative and don’t see the opportunity and take advantage of the 6 month window to find some way to buy the property back.

I’m posting this to see if anyone has any input I haven’t thought of…



Re: Sheriff Sale…owners died…missing heir… - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on March 12, 2002 at 09:22:42:

Some factors that would effect my decision would be;1. vacant lot or SFR? 2. Do you have the cash available to purchase at sale without putting a strain on your fianaces? 3. What is the interest rate? The most important factor in my mind is whether the property is a vacant lot or not. If it is a vacant lot most investors have passed on this one, and there will no interest from nosey neighbors. Hence I would bid on the lot at sale, then wait. I have seen situations where the ‘heirs’ let the property go to sale then bid on it (in order to avoid probate).

Go find the heir . . . - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on March 12, 2002 at 24:25:06:

It’s the “bird in the hand” thing. I don’t know about you, but I got tired of “wishing and hoping” years ago. Me, I want the sure thing, even if it’s not the killer deal it otherwise might have been.

It rarely makes sense to get involved in situations where you’re waiting for the clock to run out. It happens, I’ve got one going right now in fact, but if there’s a choice, I rather nail it down right now, even if it costs a little more, and walk out of there with a sure thing.

That sweating the clock thing is no fun, especially when I imagine there are guys like you and me out there playing beat the clock themselves.


Re: Sheriff Sale…owners died…missing heir… - Posted by Bob H

Posted by Bob H on March 11, 2002 at 22:43:07:

I had the same situation a couple of years ago. I ended up opting to locate the heir and buy the property from him. He was located in another state, so I arranged for a local attorney to open probate and handle the estate.

If you buy the property at sale, six months is a long time to wait and expect no one else will find the heir and buy the redemption rights. If you can find him, so can others.

Also, when a person with indentifable assets dies intestate, many states will appoint a public administrator to open probate and liquidate the estate.

Hope this helps