Stupid Question - Posted by JoeSoCal

Posted by JT-IN on July 24, 2003 at 15:17:22:


Only a couple ways to acquire such a property before tax sale… since you obviously can’t buy it from the owner of record…

  1. Find an heir, educate them just a little, then get the probate started with a competent Atty, as well as a contract to purchase the Heirs interest as soon as the probate is completed.

  2. Purchase any other lien on the property, then foreclose on the lien. This does not guarentee that you will be the one to end up with the house, unless the lien is rather large. You could simply bring the property to foreclosure auction, only to be outbid by another investor willing to pay more than you are… hence only collecting the face amount of your lien, back interest and cost of bringing the action.

Just the way that I view things…


Stupid Question - Posted by JoeSoCal

Posted by JoeSoCal on July 23, 2003 at 21:26:32:

What happens to a property (home, vacant land, etc.) when the owner passes away without any known heirs?

Also, what is the notification process for surviving relatives when a property owner passes away?

I have seen it mentioned on here before that there is a belief that many of the properties with delinquent taxes are delinquent because an owner as passed away. Who seeks out the next of kin?

One more approach to find heirs - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on July 25, 2003 at 24:20:16:


One thing that we have done successfully, when attempting to track down heirs… in order to create a probate scenario, is from the Obituary Notice (archived in the paper), determine who handled the final services. Many times the funeral director will be forth right with info concerning these cases, telling you who the next of kin, or at least who provided info for the death cert… You can also obtain this same info from a copy of the death cert…, but these are getting harder to look at unles you have a good reason. Good reasons include being a family member, or other need to know, etc…

Once you have determined who provided this info then they will surely know the family tree… Knowing this info and where everyone is located, will allow you or an Atty to determine how mucky the case will be to probate… Kind of like a Columbo movie… tracking these folks down…


Re: Stupid Question - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 24, 2003 at 22:24:42:


If there is any notification, it would be one of the following:

  1. a neighbor or other person who happens to learn of the death and knows that their are heirs and how to reach the heirs and cares enough to notify them.
  2. the public administrator might do that
  3. perhaps the coronor’s office or sheriff’s office?

Why don’t you research the CA law on this topic and report on what you find?

Good InvestingRon Starr****

Re: Not such a Stupid Question - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on July 24, 2003 at 07:01:13:


Ocasionally, there are folks who have no heirs and have made no other plans for estate as far as bequests. In this case, the clearing point for real property is generally a tax sale for delinquaint taxes. AS has been stated before, many of the properties that go to tax sale are from decedents who either have no heirs or the heirs are not aware of the property or their property rights. Also I have run into heirs who for whatever reason had a family rift with the decedent, and wouldn’t as much as accept a 10 dollar bill, if they knew that it came from the deceased. Makes no sense, but people can be a strange lot… As far as seeking out the next of kin in a tax sale property, the only means of doing so is from the advertisements of sale, which is public notice to collect a debt. If no one sees this notice, they forfeit any claim to the property, once sold, or when the redemption period laspses.

Laws vary from state to state as far as reporting of estate assets. It is not really a matter of reporting assets from the date of death, as much it is from the date of opening an estate for a deceased. The opening can be immediately, or it could be years later, but once an estate is opened then the period of time begins for creditor notices, etc… for any claims against the estate. Usually the notice period must run 120 to 180 days before an estate can be closed, which has nothing to do with the date of death. I have seen estates opened years after someone dies, and only then does the time period for notice begin.

Just the way that I view things…


Re: Not such a Stupid Question - Posted by JoeSoCal

Posted by JoeSoCal on July 24, 2003 at 11:13:14:


Thanks for the response.

After reading the first paragraph of your response, I take it then that it isn’t possible to acquire such a property before the tax sale?

I have literally seen some municipalities wait for SEVEN freaking years of delinquency before they try to auction off the property. Then, once they do try to auction off the property, they usually wont get the full amount owed, because the property isn’t worth the outstanding taxes PLUS interest and penalties.

Re: Not such a Stupid Question - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on July 24, 2003 at 20:19:56:

Joe: it is possible to acquire these types of properties before tax sale if you have enough time and find an heir to the property that will work with you. My experience has been that this process can be quite tedious and there are costs involved, so it is important that the property be one with enough equity to warrant the legal costs, the encumberances and necessary repairs. Some properties are definitely better deals and will convey better title at tax sales

Also, I have seen longer than five years of delinquency at tax sales in CA. It’s five years from the delinquency to the power to sell date. Then the county is required to offer at sale within four years. Any installment plans or BKs can add even more time. You are correct that on low valued properties the taxes and penalties will often be more than the county will get at the tax sale. Which is why most of those types of properties do not sell until their price is reduced after the first round of the tax sale.

Finding good deals on vacant/abandoned properties where the owner is deceased is definitely a niche. A lot of research and a lot of dead ends. But not everyone is working it either.

Hope this helps. Sincerely, Kristine