Uh-Oh, Keith, You’re In The Wrong House!

Posted on April 16, 2012 by

Some days, things go all wrong.  Other days, things happen that are so funny you can’t help but to blow milk out of your nose!  Really interesting days are when both of these things happen at the same time!

At April’s foreclosure auction, we bought a property on Autumn Place in White, Georgia.  It’s a very nice 3-bedroom, 2-bath home built in 2005.  It just needs a shave and a haircut (paint and carpet) before we can list it with our realtor.

Kim and I have been buying foreclosure properties since 1995.   The first mystery we had to solve was how to bid on a property at the foreclosure auction.  The second was what to do if we were the high bidder.

If we are the high bidder, the first step is to settle up with the crier – the person conducting the foreclosure sale.  We must pay the full purchase price, in either the form of cash or certified checks.  Next, we tell the crier how we want to take title (who the property holder of record will be.)

Once the paperwork is finished and the funds are paid, the second thing we do is call our insurance agent.  It’s critical to get the property insured quickly.

Third, if the property is occupied, we walk over to the Magistrate’s Office and file a Dispossessory. 

Remember: When the crier says, “Going once, going twice, sold to the highest bidder,” the homeowner immediately becomes a tenant.  This means that he now falls under Georgia’s landlord-tenant laws.  In order to get possession of the property, we are sometimes forced to get a court-ordered eviction.

Let me add that 99% of the time, we are able to negotiate a move-out agreement with the resident without going to court, making it more of a win-win deal.

Back to Autumn Place: Because it was vacant, we didn’t need to do step three.  Instead, we moved right to step four, which is to secure the property.  This means changing the locks and making sure all windows are secure.

To accomplish this, we called our buddy Keith Casey with Sunrise Property Preservation, who’s been helping us with our properties for years.  Keith swung by the courthouse to pick up the property’s address that I had scribbled on a piece of paper. Then, after picking up some new locks, he pulled up to the property we had just bought – at least it was the property Keith thought we had just bought.

I had told Keith that the side garage door was unlocked.  Sure enough, when he tried the knob, the door opened right up.  When I got a call from a very concerned Keith, he said, “Bill, you told me this property was vacant – but it’s full of furniture.”  After reading back the address I had written down for him, we realized I had transposed some letters.  Keith was in the WRONG house – and probably about to get shot!

At the time, this wasn’t funny at all…but after we knew Keith was safe, we laughed our tails off.  We also added something new to the rulebook: Don’t let the dyslexic guy write down an address!

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

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