Wholesale a property that needs proof of ownership?

Hi All,

I am talking to a motivated seller that desperately wants to sell her house. She says that she has had difficulty in the past proving ownership. Her grandmother purchased the property back in the 20s but there seems to be no record of it.

The address is on her birth certificate and shes been paying the tax bill there since 2001. A deed search through the county clerk turned up empty because 1960 and later is available online. No earlier. Went to the clerks office and they can search further back but they tell me they cant find a deed in her grand parents name dating back ever.

I called a title company and they turned up with nothing through a preliminary search. They want $400 for a more extensive search but I dont want to pump money into something I may not close on.

I called another title company and they told me that even if I brought them a sale contract and started the whole process of clearing the title, if it turns up they cant find the house in a will or something like that their hands are tied and I would need another lawyer to do some investigating. All of this sounds very expensive for the possibility of not closing. What to do? Thanks in advance.

Someone owns that property. Unless the address is wrong. However, you may have to look up a plot map (ask the Tax Assessor/County Recorder to help you locate the property, the ‘actual’ address, and the corresponding APN (Assessor’s Parcel Number), and work forward/backward until you find the ‘actual’ owner of record.

If that owner is dead, and there has been no subsequent transfers of title, the property will likely have to go through probate before it can be sold/purchased.

Thanks. I went to the registers office and I gave them the block and lot number along with the address and they couldn’t tell me who had the deed. They could only confirm if the last name I was asking for connected to that address. It didn’t connect. Did I speak to a lazy clerk that didn’t feel like looking for who is actually on the deed?

The information is probably buried in the basement, where nobody goes, and there’s bugs and dust. Or the documents were destroyed when Delroy, the mayor’s son, who was also the janitor from hell, accidentally dumped fourteen boxes of records in the dumpster back in '62.

If the seller told you that she wasn’t able to get ownership information on the house, you might want to talk to an attorney and find out how you can legally ‘just take ownership,’ without actually getting a deed first.

It will require a court order I’m sure …and we’re back to probating the deal. Meantime, you’re not getting financing on this until there is a marketable title …and that’s most-likely not gonna come before the State performs an autopsy on the title chain.

*** Or …this… which may get you investing from prison, but I’ve seen in done before …have the daughter quit claim the house to you as the owner, and then record a deed in your name. Have her finance the purchase with virtually nothing down, while you rent the place for the foreseeable future, and pocket the cash flow.

This avoids probate, banks, and interference from nosy relatives.

Eventually, you pay off the seller, and just hold on to the place until you can ultimately achieve homesteading rights, regardless of the deed you hold, and ultimately get a marketable title.

Meantime, who’s to say that the seller doesn’t actually own the house by now? She’s been paying taxes on the hell hole? Right? She’s practically homesteaded the place herself, just by living there for a couple of Devil’s decades? Right?

I mean you won’t get title insurance on the place, but… again, you could also just homestead the place yourself, like a glorified squatter with the consequent ownership rights. But this takes some time.

There’s an investor on here that told me how he gets title by adverse possession. I don’t know that strategy well enough to explain that here, but maybe this is an option???

Otherwise, most likely, you’re gonna have to probate the dump, in order to get a marketable title, and the court will decide who owns the place.

BTW, the Daughter of the Corn here, is gonna be the one on the hook to deliver a marketable title, even though you’re probably going to do all the leg work to make this deal happen.

That’s all I got.

Move on, work smarter not harder. There are bunch of other motivated sellers out there. Some of them dont even know about their motivation until you call them. They will be happy hearing your offer to help them to cash out.

I hear that. Not getting a ton of leads in NYC. I’ll work any opportunity that comes my way until i get distracted by other opportunities. Currently knocking on doors and direct mailing. Will start cold calling tomorrow. I’ll find something good. In the mean time, let’s see where this complicated story goes.

Cold calling is probably the fastest …and yet the most frustrating …most time-consuming …and energy sapping strategy for finding deals I can imagine. And probably the cheapest.

Some of the Pros:

  • You beat the competition to the punch. It often gets you in the door before anyone knows there’s a deal available.
  • Often, you get to a seller before he’s even thinking of selling, and then all of the sudden your offer represents a solution for him …like getting money, and any number of other things he hadn’t been thinking about.
  • The numbers of calls you actually make directly impacts the number of deals you find and close on.
  • You can create instant momentum by taking action this way.
  • You will necessarily develop a thicker skin as you learn to deal with truly unmotivated, mean, ornery, lying, socially-retarded jerks that offer you zero respect …no matter how respectful, pleasant, and did I mention respectful and pleasant you are?

Some of Cons:

  • You’re calling as a stranger, instead of as an invited guest. It’s more difficult to establish and maintain control of the conversation as an intruder. ~~ Get ‘hung up on’ much?
  • The onus is on you to uncover the seller’s motivation level. Otherwise, when a seller calls ‘you,’ you can assume the seller is motivated …and it’s just a matter of making an offer.
  • It’s harder to qualify leads in advance (depending on how you’re gathering leads).
  • Phone numbers are harder to scrape than addresses. So, you end up mailing to more than you can call.
  • You’re face-to-face (on the phone) with all the ‘not-interested’s,’ that would normally be sifted out, if the leads were forced to call you instead.

I could say more on that, but the fact is, this is the most hands-on method possible, and is limited to your time available in a given day.

Which brings me to say, that you’ll want to add at least six other lead-generators to your cold calling. Or have at least six more hooks in the water that don’t require your physical involvement to generate leads. You mentioned direct mail already. You just need five more ways …at least.

Otherwise, you only have 26 hours in a day to spend filling your pipeline.

Thanks for all of the tips. I’ll definitely keep the machine going and add more fishing hooks. I’ll keep my direct mail going and knocking on doors. I also have a website in OcasioRealEstate.com

It’s new so it doesn’t have a ton of exposure but I will most likely start paying to advertise on Google after I get a deal under my belt. Right now it’s too expensive to advertise.

I’ll cold call tomorrow and alternate between that and knocking on doors for each day off that I have. I currently work in luxury retail in Manhattan, so I am used to jerks and rejection haha. I’m also too logical to get offended by someone that I am calling out of the blue that is rude haha on to the next!

:beer :beer :beer

Ok, I have been trying to convince this women to sell her house for a while now and it is leading nowhere. She is afraid to hire a lawyer which is definitely neccesary for her to gain title. I have an investor interested in paying the legal fees and seeing it all the way through. It would be me passing this on to him going on his word that he will pay me. I think at this point it is the only option since I can’t afford the legal fees myself.

With my research, the house is worth $800K arv and needs $150K in renovations. Legal fees will be about $5K-$20K and take 6 months to a year to complete. I told her I would pay $350K for the house and she seemed interested. If I pass the deal to another investor, how much should I accept in return based on his word? Hate the idea of no contract for me but it’s a last resort. Seems like the only chance for this one. Thanks.

Original plan was to buy at $350K and sell for $490K in double close. 80% arv is possible in Queens NY I think.I doubt I can swing that kind of profit now.