I want to talk about a pocket of money that’s small and yet big. I’m referring to unclaimed money created when somebody loses a home.
It’s small, because, thankfully, this is a fairly rare occurrence statistically and yet big because real estate is a high-dollar game.
There are usually two ways that people lose their homes. The first, of course, is if you get behind on your mortgage and the bank forecloses on the home. You may think it’s a total loss, but here’s the key: if the bank was able to sell your house for more than you owed in back mortgage payments, that overage belongs to you. You should check public records of what the house sold for and get in touch with your former lender if it sold for more than you owed.
The second way to lose your house is if you couldn’t or didn’t pay the property taxes. In that case someone else may buy what’s called the “tax lien” and take over your house. It’s shocking but there is a possible silver lining. If the new owner paid more for the tax lien than you actually owed, then YOU are entitled to that money. Check with the department of taxation in whichever county or city the house is located.
Given all of the people who struggled in the economic meltdown of 2008 and beyond, there could be a lot of missing money from lost homes out there, so spread the word.