Problem Properties & What To Do With Them
July 14th, 2020
They are in every neighborhood all across the United States. Vacant houses with overgrown grass, boarded windows, and occasionally, squatters. Many of these homes belong to owners who passed away long ago and were never put through probate. Some are dilapidated second houses whose owners cannot afford repairs. Others are houses for which the owner owes more in property taxes than the house is worth. Whatever the reason, these properties are problems for the owners, the neighbors, and the city which has to maintain them.
Since moving to the U.S from abroad, I've inspected dozens and dozens of these houses in California for Hyams Investments. I've been able to help most homeowners by buying their properties. There is no single solution for homeowners to sell these houses because each personal situation is unique. Realtors often offer a one-trick remedy, list it on the MLS, and pray someone buys the property. In the meantime, squatters may be denying potential buyers access and the longer the property sits on the market, the mortgage & taxes keep accumulating.
Many homeowners selling a property might not realize that they cannot sell a "fixer" to a buyer who only has access to traditional financing. Distressed properties often come with numerous repair requirements that may make the house uninhabitable. In this instance, in addition to a home loan, the buyer may need to take out an FHA 203k loan to make the house habitable. A 203k loan often requires multiple contractor estimates which have to be submitted to the lending bank. Again, if there are squatters and you don't have access to the house, you may have to go through the eviction process in court.
Eviction, attorneys, loan applications, 203k loan applications, contractors estimates... All these elements can add a considerable amount of time and expense to the traditional selling process. Coupled with many states having a moratorium on evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners have no clear end in sight should they be wanting to sell quickly.
This is where a house buying company like Hyams Investments can help. We have bought houses regardless of the situation by working in cohesion with all parties involved. We often work with squatters by being a mediator between them and the property owner. We've negotiated "cash for keys" agreements many times which help both the tenant and the homeowner. We've also arranged access to view the state of houses when others have failed to allow us to make a cash offer when other investors have fallen short.
If you have a problem property in California and would like to discuss your options, please feel free to reach out to me at any time to discuss. Stay safe and we look forward to chatting with you.