South Bay Home > LA real estate market > Is it safe to buy a foreclosure in CA. now?

Is it safe to buy a foreclosure in CA. now?

October 25, 2010, Marilyn Kalfus, Orange County Register

In his blog this week, mortgage broker Dennis C. Smith of Stratis Financial in Huntington Beach explains where you likely stand if you’ve bought a foreclosed property in California, or if you are thinking of buying one:

Q.: “I bought my home from a major Bank that does business in America; do I have to worry that they did not own it legally and it can be taken from me?”

A.: “No. Especially if the property is in California. Over the past few weeks I have had several conversations with attorneys and title companies and the consensus is that, particularly in California, the latest brouhaha on foreclosures will not affect your homeownership.

“A quick recap for those on vacation abroad recently. It has come to light that in processing tens of thousands of foreclosures a week most major lenders were using “robo-signers” to process foreclosure documents. In some cases it was discovered that the paperwork used in court to foreclose on property was inaccurate or fraudulently attested to by bank employees. The explosive nature of the news caused Bank of America to halt all foreclosures in process nationwide until they could conduct a review. Attorneys General for all states created a joint investigation process to determine if their state laws and federal laws were violated, [resulting] in illegal foreclosures.

”The question that was part of the story is, if someone was foreclosed upon in what was proven to be an illegal process can that someone sue to get their home back? Sure they can sue but will they win? Probably not if the bank has resold the home and probably not, but less so, even if the bank still owns the property.

“In California the answer is almost absolutely not since California practices non-judicial foreclosures for residential real estate. Meaning the foreclosure process does not involve a judge and a hearing as it does in other states. Because of this the chances greatly decrease that a judge revokes a prior ruling of foreclosure.

“Should the prior owner of your home make a claim to title and for some reason a court rules in favor of returning title, chances are very high that your title policy will cover the claim and either pay off the prior owner or buy you out. Almost everyone I spoke to about the matter however was of the opinion that the likeliness of such a claim being successful is very, very slim.

“Why? The primary reason such a claim would not make it very far is because of the root cause of the problem. Someone signed a promissory note. That note said in part above the signature line “..I promise to pay….” Someone at some point failed to make payments. Failure to make payments results in foreclosure.

“Go ahead and redecorate the living room and plan the kitchen remodel, you are safe at home.”