Mining Unknown Properties for Gold

Mining Unknown Properties for Gold

One of the things that people who are just getting started in the foreclosure business are often frustrated by is the poor quality of public records data. I was looking at a property today where the notice of default listed an address that did not match the APN, and neither of which matched the legal description. While this is certainly the exception rather than the rule, I have found that the exceptions often offer the best opportunities for investors.

Early on in my foreclosure investing career I was fortunate to have a partner and mentor that encouraged me to research every property going to foreclosure in the county I covered. Didn't matter whether it looked like a good deal or a bad deal, whether it was easy or hard, I looked at everything. Admittedly there were far fewer foreclosures then vs. now, but it taught me an awful lot. Not just about property, but about title, and most importantly opportunity.Turns out that I made a good living buying typical foreclosures, which became a great living by gaining a knack for uncovering the hidden deals that others missed completely.

One of the opportunities with ForeclosureRadar that I see even some of my more experienced customers missing is the "unknown" records. While there are relatively few of these on a percentage basis, they happen when we are unable to match up the property listed on the notice with a property record from the county assessors' office. Sometimes it's just due to a typo, sometimes it is because there simply isn't an address on the notice at all. By playing detective you can unravel the mystery and start finding the deals everyone else is likely to miss. Start by selecting your county, then entering "unknown" into the street address or city fields. This will provide you with a list to start from.

Next, you'll likely need to get a copy of the actual recorded notice. You can do this by visiting the county recorders' office, asking your title company, or using an online service like DataTree. The document number and recording date are listed on the notice details within our service. Once you have the notice, compare it to the record in ForeclosureRadar and see if you can't quickly identify the mistake. If not you may need to get a copy of the Deed of Trust and see if it doesn't offer the address or other clues. In truly exceptional cases you may need to take a step further and actually decode the legal description. I won't dive into that here, but the folks are the county is often helpful when you are first learning how to identify a property from its legal description. If your experience is anything like mine you'll find that 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your deals and that those "lucky" few deals required 80% of the perspiration.

The bottom line... never skip the tough ones.


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Start discovering new opportunities using public records data today.

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