Part 4 – Six Myths of Bankruptcy Investment

by como ·

At this point, you might be asking yourself if this is such a
great niche to go after, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well from our
informal surveys of many investors across the country, when people hear
the word bankruptcy, their first reactions are intimidation and
avoidance. The fact that it’s a legal process involving the Federal
government pretty much sums up why.

We believe these two reactions
are largely due to a lack of knowledge and experience. It’s really very
normal and reasonable because we are all intimidated by things we do
not yet understand. By the way, does your local Real Estate Investment
Association offer an educational seminar or subgroup on bankruptcies?
We’d be surprised if the answer is yes.

However, there are so many
incredible opportunities for real estate investors in the bankruptcy
niche that we’ve made it our personal mission to remove the fear
commonly associated with bankruptcies and, at the same time, pass on the
unique pool of knowledge that you need to make bank-accounting bursting

Let’s start with the most common myths and misconceptions:

Myth #1: Bankruptcies are too legally complicated for the average real estate investor.

Do you need to be familiar with bankruptcy terminology and the general
process of how a bankruptcy proceeds? Yes. Do you need to understand the
basic differences between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13? Of course. Do
you need to know the responsibilities of the Trustee? You bet. But you
can easily learn all of these details and more by simply finding and
understanding the right information.

Myth #2: You cannot buy a house in a bankruptcy.

Sure you can buy it. It might (but usually does NOT) require an extra
step versus a house you find through other resources. It is more than
worth your effort to get educated enough about the bankruptcy process so
you can speak intelligently with sellers. The paperwork required for
purchasing a home in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is also very basic. The
magic piece of paper you need from the Trustee in a Chapter 7 is called
a Notice of Abandonment. If it’s a Chapter 13, you need to file a
Motion for the Sale of Real Estate.

Myth #3: Only attorneys can deal with the Bankruptcy Court or a Bankruptcy Trustee.

The Court system is designed for the people. That’s you and me. It also
happens to be where many attorneys earn their living. If you’re filing
for bankruptcy, we certainly recommend that you do so through an
attorney. But if you’re just trying to purchase a home involved in
bankruptcy, you can do it on your own! Further, the Trustee is an
officer of the court whose responsibility is to protect both creditors
and debtors. As a potential purchaser of a property under the control of
a Trustee, you can certainly contact that Trustee and walk through the

Myth #4: If there’s any equity in a house, the Court will not allow me to buy it.

False: Indeed, one of the Court’s responsibilities is
to evaluate the debtor’s estate and see how as many creditors as
possible can be paid. However, there’s a big difference between a house
having enough equity for the Court/Trustee to want to go to the trouble
to sell it versus a house having enough equity for a real estate
investor to find a good deal. For example: (a) The Court must factor in a
Homestead Exemption payment to the debtor, a real estate investor does
not have to do that. (b) The Court must factor in yellow pages prices
for any necessary repairs, but most investors have much less expensive
resources. (c) The Court will sell the house through a full-service
realtor, who will be charging a 6% or 7% commission. Whereas, an
investor may sell to a buyer’s list, use a flat-fee listing service or
want to keep the house as a rental. (d) The Court will not negotiate a
short-sale with the lender(s), but we all know that investors can make
TONS of money in the short-sale market!

Myth #5: There are no pretty houses in bankruptcy.

People with nice, expensive houses get in financial trouble just like
folks with more modest or ugly houses. In fact, some of the most
profitable deals we’ve done have been with VERY nice houses in VERY nice
neighborhoods! In fact, we’ve each had the opportunity to do short-sale
purchases on homes in the $300,000 – $400,000 range.

Myth #6: There are no investing opportunities for houses in bankruptcy because mortgage balances are too high.

We looked at this issue briefly in Myth #4, but there’s more to know.
In fact, due to the circumstances leading most debtors to file
bankruptcy, there are more opportunities in bankruptcies than elsewhere.
Four reasons for the many opportunities are: (a) Most investors are
either afraid to deal with a bankruptcy or don’t know how. So there is
less competition and where there’s less competition, there’s more
opportunity! (b) We’ve heard all sorts of figures, but most recently
have been quoted that 86% of all Chapter 13 bankruptcies fail, which
leads to extremely motivated sellers! (c) Many debtors were facing
foreclosure when they filed bankruptcy so when they realize they are
getting kicked out of their bankruptcy, they often realize they have run
out of options and they MUST sell their house to avoid foreclosure. (d)
Mortgage companies that loaned money to these debtors have really been
drug through the legal system foreclosure, bankruptcy, back to
foreclosure. So the mortgage companies are also motivated to negotiate a
short-sale so that they don’t end up owning another house via
foreclosure. Yet another opportunity for the real estate investor!

are just some of the many myths surrounding bankruptcies and the many
hidden opportunities for real estate investors. A little knowledge can
go a long way and make you amazing real-life, spend able cash via this
niche market!

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