Tenants in Foreclosure- The Signs

Looking back there were a few signs that the home I was renting was heading into foreclosure.

Last summer I was fully engulfed in the search for a home to rent. It’s very different looking for a home to rent as opposed to looking for one to purchase. When you are looking at a home to purchase you can see beyond the flaws because you know you can do the whole DIY thing and change it. Still, when you are looking to rent you do not want to rent a home that you are going to want spend money and time improving because it’s a waste of your funds to improve a home that you don’t own.

Accepting a lower rent amount
I finally found a really great newer home that would be perfect to live in. It was newer and the homeowners had good taste in decorating. The only problem was the rent was a few hundred dollars more than what I had budgeted. So I pitched my budgeted rent amount to the landlords and they accepted it! I don’t think that most tenants realize they can negotiate the terms of the lease. Tenants can offer a lower rent amount, lower deposits or different terms such as dividing the security deposit into a few payments. I’ve been a landlord for 6 years and have never had anyone ask if I would accept a lower rent amount. The worst thing a landlord can say is “no” so what’s it hurt to ask?

Still, looking back now at the landlords accepting $300 dollars less a month for rent I’m thinking it should have raised some red flags for me. There really was no negotiating on this. They just accepted it. I don’t know that they knew the home would end up going into foreclosure then, but I do think they were probably behind at the time and desperate for any funds they could get.

Someone taking photos of the home
A few months after moving in I noticed someone pull up to my home and snap some photos. This definitely raised flags for me! I have a friend who is contracted to do this type of work for banks. The two biggest reasons he goes to take photos are to check the progress on home under construction and to check on the condition of homes in foreclosure. Well, my home definitely was not under construction so my mind immediately went to foreclosure. When I contacted the homeowners about the person taking photos I was told they were looking into refinancing the home. Well I really should have known better. If they were refinancing the bank would want a full appraisal which would mean entry into the home and not just someone quickly driving by and snapping photos.

Some knocking on the door looking to deliver something to the owner
After a few months that someone taking photos turned into someone knocking on my door and looking for the owners. All he could tell me was the name of the company that contracted him. After several calls to that company with no return call I gave up.

The landlord visiting
Now this one is hard to be sure if it is tied or not. About a month before I was served with the foreclosure notice the landlord came to “check in”. She said she wanted to see if there were any repairs that needed to be done. I assumed she just wanted to scope out the house to make sure we were taking good care of it. While she was here she picked up some items that she had left behind. Was this because she knew she might lose the house? Did she want to take a look at the house to see if it was worth fighting to keep?

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