Getting clean title on a foreclosure


When buying foreclosures (or preforeclosures from sellers)from court auctions, or REO’s from Banks etc., does the previous owner have a set amount of time for which to reclaim the property if they are able to raise the proper funds? How is it possible to ensure there are no liens or claims that can be sought for the property? Obviously a lawyer can do a title check, but I am new to this and am wondering if you buy a property and the owner is able to find the money to get back the house after it has sold at auction usually how long a period of time do they have? Do laws differ on this from state to state? I’m from around VA, DC, MD area. This is one of the pitfalls I have been led to believe in buying a foreclosed(preforeclosed too?) property at auction…that the original owner can come out of the woodwork and have rights in reclaiming it, title insurance is definitely in order before buying, but just curious about the law.

My goal is to learn all necessary information about RE investing before jumping in. I’d hopefully like to get into rentals. Buying them through (pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, HUD, etc…) just would like to know if anyone has had old owners come to them and demand their house back or if this should not be a concern when looking to buy at auction…

Always do a title search.

redemption periods vary by state. check here.


What I think you are referring to is regarding properties that are sold prior to the judgment of foreclosure being signed by the judge. In those cases, the owner can redeem until the judgment is signed. Otherwise, ask the auctioneer or read the notice in the newspaper. In many cases the newspaper will state where the property is in the forecloseure proceeding.

If you do it during the preforeclosure period, you shouldn’t have to worry. In this case, you are making an offer to the owner. If the owner accepts your offer and the deal closes, they transfer clear title to you - there is no redemption.

Again, as has been mentioned above, laws vary in different states. Make sure you find out your state’s law before you jump in. For example, I’ve heard that in California the owner might be able to claim you took unfair advantage of them and may have some recourse.