How To Make Your Minneapolis Duplex Short Sale Go Too Fast

urban housing decayIf your duplex has been sold at the sheriff’s sale in the state of Minnesota, you still have six months to redeem or short sale the property, right?

Not necessarily.

In fact, it may be as little as five weeks.

While it may seem a little Big Brother-ish, when you fall sufficiently behind in your mortgage payments, the bank has people who drive by and check on your property. Don’t worry. They aren’t spying on you and they don’t work for the FBI.

In fact, it’s highly likely your duplex is being watched by a Realtor; the one who will eventually list the property once the bank has foreclosed on it.

They aren’t watching to learn what television shows you’re watching or if you’re having an affair. They’re simply making sure the duplex hasn’t been abandoned.

What constitutes abandonment?

According to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office, evidence of abandonment includes:

  1. Broken, unrepaired windows or boarded up or closed off entrances or windows.
  2. Broken, unlocked or smashed in doors.
  3. No gas, electric or water service to the property.
  4. Rubbish, trash or debris has accumulated on the premises.
  5. The police or sheriff have had two or more reports of trespassers, vandals or other illegal activities on the property.
  6. The building is deteriorating and is either below or about to fall below minimum community standards for public safety and sanitation. (This can include unmowed lawns and snow that clearly hasn’t been shoveled or walked on for some time.)

The Realtor and the lender they work for document any of these criteria. And, they may even go so far as to change the locks on the duplex and, if within 10 days no one who has a legal right to the premises as asked for access, then the court may take this as further evidence of abandonment.

When the lender has established to its satisfaction the property is abandoned, the lien holder may initiate a proceeding in district court to reduce the duplex owners redemption period. Failure of the property owner to show up in court is considered further evidence of abandonment.

If the lender sufficiently proves the duplex has been abandoned, the court will allow the redemption period to be shortened to just five weeks.

I suppose if you completely don’t care about your credit or capital gains tax it doesn’t matter if the bank takes the property back.

However, if you do, abandoning the property has made it virtually impossible to successfully negotiate a short sale and minimize the damage.

I had a buyer for exactly such a property over the summer. Had the duplex owner simply taken the recycling bin full of glass bottles out to the trash, odds are he could have avoided the permanent blemish of foreclosure on his record.