How long can a foreclosed owner delay transfer with bankruptcy filings?


#1

Hi - I am considering buying a home at a trustee auction in California. ?The house I am considering is not currently occupied by the owner, but I have read that by filing for bankruptcy (and filing repeatedly in different federal district courts) a homeowner can delay for quite some time the process of turning over the home to a new owner. ?
?
Is there any way to gauge the risk or monitor of this sort of bankruptcy filings (other than seeing a ‘delayed for bankruptcy’ change to the trustee sale status)? ?
?
If the defaulted homeowner files for bankruptcy after an investor has purchased a house at auction, can that filing retroactively affect the auction purchase??
?
I understand that Trustee Sales in CA are a ‘nonjudicial process’ but my understanding is that filing for federal bankruptcy still apply, right? ??
?
Thanks!
?


#2

You can check bankruptcy status using Pacer: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/. Small cost, and takes some practice to navigate, but it is a fabulous tool.
?
You raise two issues:
?

  1. The owner files before the foreclosure is completed. In this case the bankruptcy will delay the foreclosure until either the homeowner starts paying their mortgage or the lender is granted a motion for relief from stay allowing them to proceed with the foreclosure. At that point the bankruptcy won’t have any impact on you if you buy it auction (though the owner could dismiss that bk and refile… see below).
    ?
  2. The owner files after you purchase the property at auction. I have had owners declare bankruptcy after the foreclosure in order to delay the eviction. Note that this is more a nuisance than anything. The worst one I had delayed the eviction almost a full year. This guy really knew how to work the system filing and then dismissing bankruptcies to take advantage of the inherent delays based on court schedules. That said, while it is possible, bk after foreclosure is relatively rare, and extremely unlikely when the owner has already moved as delaying eviction would provide ZERO benefit to them.

#3

Thanks Sean - that’s extremely helpful. ?