Intro & ? About Determining Equity

Hi all! Newbie here. I love this site and have learned a lot from the archives. :slight_smile: I am in Central Florida, and am currently an Assistant Principal of an Elementary School…my SO is also an AP, but of a middle school. We have been reading books, listening to a course, looking at real estate in our area to get familiar with it, etc. We’ve visited a tax deed auction last week and will sit in on a foreclosure auction this week just to see what it is like. I have been researching the foreclosures in my area because I can get online with the Clerk of Court and see the NODs and LP, etc. Then I can pull up the Property Appraiser’s web site and get the address, lot size, bed/bath info, tax info, what it sold for in the past, etc. I can go back to the Clerk of Court and look for mortgages, leins, etc. that have been recorded on the property. It is so interesting…

Here’s my question: Once I find a property near my home and in an area I know, how can I tell if it has enough equity in it to pursue the property?

I have been looking at a few things to try to determine this…(original mortgate date and amount, any leins / 2nd mortgages against the property) but figure it is not very reliable until I actually talk to the homeowner… Am I wrong?

I think this is a specific question to Florida residents: When doing a preliminary search online at the Clerk of the Court, how can you tell if a mortgage or lein has been satisfied? Is a “Release” the only recorded document and, if so, if there is no release…does that mean the lein is still on the property?

I hope I make sense…I’m pretty green, as you can tell. Hope someone can help me out! :slight_smile:


Howdy JRO:

A lot of foreclosure hunters will look at the original date of the deed of trust etc and try to go after old ones say ten years old or older. You can figure the new ones put as little down and have not had time to increase in value over time. In areas of rapid appreciation the time may be even shorter.

Another way is exactly what you are doing. Compare the original loan amount to the current county appraised value.

If you find a Release you know it has been paid off. These take a lot of time to get filed however. The title company will wire the funds to the lender without getting the Release in their hands. It could take months for the Release to actually get filed at the courthouse with a lot of lenders.

Hery JRO,
WHere are you located in Central Fl. I live there but work in South Florida. I live in Melbourne and work in Miramar. I am also a newbie but more or less understand the short sale process. I plan on starting officially doorknocking in '06

Thanks, Ted, for the info…that really helps.

Hey Steve -
Good to hear from you. I live in Ocala. I am actually contemplating a short sale on a house now that has a 63k mortgage on it from 1992. The roof was damaged in the hurricanes here last year and it looks like it has been vacant for quite some time. The owner died in 2004, he was the only one on the deed, but wife is on the mortgage and it is in forclosure. Lots of damage to the house: garage door ruined, carpet a mess, roof damaged, three small holes in stucco - someone ripped out the light fixtures which left the holes, needs to be painted inside and out, no landscaping. But, plumbing and electric are fine, as well as walls, doors, kitchen, etc.

Thought about doing a short sale, but when I researched the owner’s name, he has another mortgate of 16,000 from '98 and three other judgements against him from '99 - '00 totaling 26k.

Question: How can I tell if the judgements are tied to the property? The judgements don’t actually list the property and they are not recorded as Leins at the Clerk of the Court… If I could get this for 30K in a short sale…how do I know if I’d be responsible to pay off the other judgements?

Would appreciate any insight you may have…and good luck with the door knocking.

Hi Jay,
glad to meet another florida investor. At least your’re further ahead than me. Still researching properites from the clerk of the courts data and appraiser.

I am actually contemplating a short sale on a house now that has a 63k mortgage on it from 1992.

From what I understand of the process, do you have the house under contract? Do you have an authorization to release information as well?

Regarding the judgements, not sure about them. But I’m guessing they should be recorded in the clerks database as well as what it scurrrently owed as well. If you have it already under contract, then in your case, you might want to have a title abstract or title search(I know I’m missing something, so someone can add to this) to find about the judgements and if they are tied to the land or not. Just out of curiousity, is the interrior of the house ok? no hurricane type damage? Carpeting, light fixtures can be fixed. You can get contractors to bid on the property and give you estimates you can use in your negotiation with the bank. I guess the good news is when the bank does a driveby BPO, it cant be too high!!! Hope this helps you. The others in this forum should be able to set us on the correct path!!!

I’m also guessing you might be able to offer 500 to the 2nd lien holdeer based on what you wrote. I ‘heard’ that you can offer 2nd lien holders 5-10% or less, if they complain you can tell them they wont get a thing if the home goes to auction!