Due Diligence Level 3: The Asset and Collateral

Due Diligence Level 3: The Asset and Collateral

Purchasing a note secured by real estate is an asset, and you need to do your due diligence on that asset as well as on the collateral securing the note.  The things that need to be determined, some of which can be done online from your home or office, include:

  • The status of the real estate taxes on the collateral. Real estate taxes are a superior lien to any note or debt you may be buying that is secured by the property.
  • Is the property in a judicial or nonjudicial state? This matters because you may have to enforce your legal rights should the borrower stop paying.
  • As part of a foreclosure process, is there a mandatory mediation? You can learn that by checking at the county court offices to see what, if anything, they have regarding any foreclosure mediation or foreclosure prevention processes.
  • Is the state in which the collateral is located one of the states that has a redemption period whereby the borrower has a period of time after the foreclosure has been completed in which to redeem or buy back the property?
  • Is there a Home Owners Association (HOA) that is involved and has a lien on the property? What priority does that lien, if any, have?

If it is a defaulted note, you need to determine if the borrower is an aggressive litigant.  Have they already engaged in bankruptcy or foreclosure defense activity?  Are they exercising their legal rights in this manner?  Once again, this can be done by accessing the court docket in the county where the collateral is located and by using PACER.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but remember, these are your hard-earned, precious retirement dollars being invested.  You need to take responsibility for this research, either by doing it yourself or hiring someone such as a law firm who can do it for you, before you commit your money to an investment.  A few hundred dollars spent in due diligence can save you tens of thousands in a bad note investment.