Above: The Brooklyn Bridge (always
for sale at a good price). 
Source: PublicDomainPictures.Net
Have you heard (or read) the news feature that is zipping around the web -- homes around the country that can be purchased for less than the cost of a car?  Homes for $100,000; $50,000; even $7000?  (Read all the mouth-watering details here.)

Well, it's tempting to start surfing around for the bargains.  However, before you get serious here there's a little, teensy legal issue to consider:  solid legal title to the property. 

The whole thing about this ForeclosureFraud scandal is because it's not always true that the person selling the real property has legal title to it, no matter how sincerely they think that they do.  Likewise, there are mortgage-holders that are paying monthly payments (or negotiating because they can't make those payments) with institutions who have no legal right to be involved; they don't have a legitimate assignment of the loan.

It appears that most of these bargains are bank-owned, and they are selling the properties with lots of verbiage tagged to the deal (things like "as is," the buyer has to investigate homestead status, etc.). 

Consider the case law coming out of Massachusetts now, with lots of other states possibly following their lead:  there, people that were foreclosed upon years ago are being held to still hold legal title to the property ... even if it's changed hands once or twice and the current "owners" innocently think that they own the home.  They don't.  They own a lawsuit against several entities, though. 

So, be careful out there. 

If it's a beautiful beachfront condo, fully loaded, and it's 35K -- then run.  At the very least, run to a lawyer and get this checked out.  Bad title is a very bad thing.

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