How to Find a Fix-and-Flip Investment Property Using Court Records

How to Find a Fix-and-Flip Investment Property Using Court Records

Are you a fix-and-flip investor who is finding that MLS-listed investment properties in your market are selling at a price point too high for you to make adequate profit?

If the answer is yes, you may want to consider researching local public records to find viable leads to off-market fix-and-flip property deals. Your local newspapers and state and county government websites will publicize various types of real estate to be offered for sale as a part of various legal actions, for example, divorce or bankruptcy.

Local newspapers may also mention expired listings (homes previously listed for sale on the MLS that did not sell.) Contacting the seller of an expired listing can lead to a great deal, especially if the owner is highly motivated to sell the property.

Probate, bankruptcy and divorce notices can be great sources for properties with sellers who may be willing to accept an offer below retail price:

  • Probate Notices

    Probate sales are those involving the property of a deceased person. Probate properties  can be very lucrative for investors, but the laws involving them can be complicated, so be sure to know the laws in your market.

    To find properties in probate, go to your local probate court and ask to speak with the court clerk (or whomever is assigned to the probate court.) Be sure to ask for the most recent (3-6 months) worth of open probate cases.

    For estates that remain open, there will be an inventory list, and if there is real property available for sale, it will be on the court record along with the name of the estate’s executor and/or probate lawyer.  Contact the executor or the attorney and ask if the court has approved a minimum asking price for the property. There may be offers from interested buyers, so be prepared to negotiate if needed. You may find that the estate’s heirs are highly motivated to sell the property.

    When approaching surviving heirs directly, it is necessary to be sensitive regarding the loss of their loved one, and be aware that there may be possible emotional attachment to the property.

  • Bankruptcy Court Notices

    A person who has filed for bankruptcy may be required by the Court to liquidate assets to repay creditors. The trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case holds real property trustee’s sales. These trustee sales can be found in the legal notices section of newspapers.

  • Divorce Court Notices

    Contact the attorney named in a divorce notice to find out if there is real property available for sale. You can also reach out directly to the divorcing parties, however, this requires a sensitive approach, as the parties may be experiencing intense emotions during the divorce process and they may have emotional attachment to the property.

For more information on creative ways of finding off-market properties, download Anchor’s free booklet “Finding Lucrative Deals in Competitive Markets.

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Ready to begin your project? Anchor Loans will be happy to help. Start your loan application here.