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How Title Searches Can Make You Money: A Case Study

Hey everyone, it’s Grant Kemp from Today, we’re diving into the power of title searches and how they can turn a seemingly lost deal into a big payday. In this case, a thorough title search helped me pocket $65,000 from a deal that was on the brink of falling through. Let’s walk through the process and see how you can do it too.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the details, make sure you’re familiar with the basics of liens and title searches. Title search basics are crucial because they form the backbone of any successful real estate transaction. If you don’t understand this foundation, you might miss out on massive opportunities. Now, let’s see how this knowledge translates into real money.

The Initial Phone Call

I received a call from a lead source about a property in Dallas. The property had a complicated history:

  • Mom originally owned the property.
  • Stepdad came into the picture and gained 50% ownership due to community property laws.
  • Mom passed away, leaving Stepdad as the sole owner.
  • Stepdaughter (the caller) said Stepdad wanted the property to go to her grandson but couldn’t find the will.

Digging In

The property was facing foreclosure, giving me about a week to sort everything out. I started by searching the legal description on the local County Clerk’s system. Here’s what I found:

  • The earliest record dated back to February 3, 2012, but that was too recent.
  • A broader search revealed documents going back to 1978, indicating multiple owners and liens.

The Funky 80s Transactions

Things got interesting when I found a deed from 1978, another from 1985, and several mechanic’s liens all pointing to potential issues. Here’s the rundown:

  • In 1978, Terry and Elaine Robinson took a deed with a loan from Grinnin Mortgage.
  • In 1985, Terry and Elaine transferred the property to Jerry Powell (the brother).
  • Jerry sold the property to Cindy Rich, who took out a new loan.
  • In 1987, the property bounced back to Elaine, with several assumed notes along the way.

Sorting Out the Mess

With multiple owners and unclear liens, the title was a mess. Here’s how I tackled it:

  1. Verified Ownership: I started by confirming who had owned the property over the years. This involved tracking down various deeds and liens.
  2. Clear the Clouds: I had to get releases for all lingering liens. This meant skip-tracing, contacting parties involved, and negotiating releases.
  3. Probate the Will: The stepdaughter found the will, which passed the property to her grandson. I paid for a probate attorney to quickly probate the will.
  4. Stop the Foreclosure: By contacting the bank and showing the probated will, I stopped the foreclosure process, buying us time to clear the title issues.

Final Steps

With the title clear and foreclosure stopped, I bought the property from the estate. The stepdaughter, acting as executor, facilitated the deal. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Contracted for around $135,000.
  • Flipped the property, netting about $65,000.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the complexities of title searches can transform a potentially lost deal into a lucrative opportunity. By understanding the basics of liens and titles, and leveraging thorough research and legal processes, you can uncover hidden value in seemingly problematic properties.

This case in Dallas demonstrates the power of diligence and expertise, turning a foreclosure risk into a substantial payday. Remember, each deal has its unique challenges, but with the right approach, you can turn obstacles into success. Happy investing!

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