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Buying real estate at auction - need answers quick! MA

Salem, MA |

I negotiated on a condo (short sale) in Salem Massachusetts but it went into foreclosure and we lost the deal. I was browsing the auction sites today (Thursday) and found out it is up for auction Monday! The broker had assured me there were no liens and the condo fees were up to date, but I realize I can't rely on that. The owner is still living in the unit. I don't see that I have enough time to hire a lawyer, plus I'd hate to spend that money when the auction will probably get cancelled or postponed anyway.
1. Are online title searches reliable? (such as
2. If I run the title search today, what's to prevent someone from placing a lien Monday morning?
3. How hard would it be to evict the current owner?
4. Do I have any recourse if she trashes the place?
Any other advice?

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Attorney answers 4


I think you should hire a lawyer. If I were you I would want to spend a little now to avoid having to spend a lot later because of a mistake you (or someone else) made.

Good luck.

The content of this message does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to be relied upon by anyone. It is highly recommended that the reader seek the opinion of a qualified attorney in his or her area for consultation and assistance. There are applicable statute of limitations and other considerations that only a qualified attorney can provide guidance on after being fully informed as to all of the circumstance of your particular case.


Your questions are very good . Consequently, they make a very good case for needing an attorney. As to the owner, the first question is if he or she have anything to lose by dragging out the eviction and/or trashing the place. If they have nothing, they have nothing to lose and there is nothing to collect no matter how big the judgement.

You do not need a lawyer at the auction. It is advisable to have one check out the foreclosure notice and title beforehand. Too many potential surprises to identify here.

Given the prior relationship, you may wish to reach out to the owner and see if he will agree to move out for a fixed sum. This would give you an edge if you know the condition of the place and know he or she is likely to move out upon request.


You ask good questions. However, I can assure you that buying an expensive piece of real estate without an attorney is a very dangerous move. You run the risk of losing considerably more than you would pay in fees.

If you want to buy at auction, you should begin by retaining an attorney, getting your questions answered, and getting a full understanding of the risks involved.

Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.


If the tenant hires me to defend him or her, it will be very difficult for you to evict the tenant

Just an FYI, I have a pretty decent track record, and you can research that fact by looking at a few cases of mine starting with US Bank v. Ibanez