Tricks of the Trade - Tips to Increase Income and Reduce Liability

By Jack Burns


If you work in the off-market property space, especially doing pre-foreclosures, here are some tricks I learned that may increase your income and reduce your liability. You may already know these. Keep in mind, I'm not an attorney and you should consult with an attorney before acting on anything in this article.

To stop a sale

If you're working with a homeowner with a looming foreclosure sale, you can get a 'stay' if the foreclosing lender has not provided mediation prior to starting the foreclosure. This is a state requirement. Sometimes merely mentioning to the bank that this was not provided can get a 'stay.' Or, the homeowner may need to file a lawsuit to get an injunction.

Tie it up

Always, always tie it up, no matter what. As soon as possible, get them under contract, with "Your name and/ or assigns" as the buyer. This gives you the ability to wholesale the contract You will be a party to the transaction so you can communicate with the seller's lender, especially because you also got the seller to sign an authorization to release information from their lender.

The worst law on the planet

If you're knocking on doors or marketing to homeowners in foreclosure, remember that RCW 61.34 is looming over you. Be sure to read that crazy law! Pay attention to the exemptions as well, because it precludes real estate agents and attorneys. It might behoove you to align with one very tightly, if not get a license yourself.

Don't just payoff the second

A ruling in 1995 and tested in 1996 allows for the 2nd mortgage to be eliminated IF there has been a foreclosure looming for six years, IF there has been no payments to it and IF they have not started foreclosure proceedings. In these times with such a hot market, it's more rare that a lien holder hasn't gone after the property in a defaulting loan. It was more common when properties sat upside down because the banks knew they couldn't get their money out of it in a foreclosure. This is a tricky law, as it puts the lien holder in a tough position. They cannot foreclose, but they aren't eliminated from the title. With no recourse, they're kind of in limbo. The homeowner can't have made any payments to the lien holder and it takes some gall to tell a bank they don't get the $200k they're owed. But in those rare, perfect circumstances, it's worth the fight. Of course, you'll need a good attorney for this.



Everything you do is for your real estate business and save your receipts with notes in that regard. Also, (and you should talk with your CPA about this) if you have a separate LLC from your business LLC, you can hire yourself as a consultant for your business. With the new tax law being implemented by Trump, you might also consider putting your houses in a business entity.


If you go to you will see the ''Evaluate'' floating icon on the lower right of the website. This enables you to work through the numbers really fast and determine how much you should pay for the house as an investment. For the quickest evaluation tool in the West, use the REAPS ''Evaluate!'' widget on the home page, powered by LinkDIGS.

REAPS is the oldest – and largest - Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi. We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you've never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at [email protected] and be our guest for free!"

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