Posted by Bill (OH) on March 26, 2000 at 06:51:34:
John, be very careful with this situation—here’s why:
When the owner defaulted on the mortgage, and abandoned her property, then the holder of the note may become the new owner through what is called ‘adverse possession’. The note holder had family members living in this house for three years–in some states, that may be enough to establish adverse possession, so check your state statutes. If the folks living in the property can meet the statutes requirement, they can file a ‘quiet title’ action to defeat your effort to get the property.
You also have the question of how are you going to get these tenants to move out? Sure, you can pay to evict them–but the court costs add up as well as the ‘eviction party’ these tenants may throw for you.
Further, as clueless and careless as the note holder seems to be, I’d be very careful in doing a title search. Who knows what kind of encumberances this dummy may have put against the property in those three years.
I also think that the court is going to have something to say to the noteholder who delayed for three years. The lady who defaulted can come back in with a defense of ‘laches’…which is a legal defense that says the plaintiff isn’t entitled to what they are asking for because they knew their rights and sat on them—in this case for three years. Result–could be a messy, time consuming court fight.
Again, if you can make forty or fifty thousand from the property it might be worth it. Otherwise, I’d leave the headaches to somebody else and look for a vacant REO.