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Keys for cash: Play poker at your own risk

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POSTED July 17, 2009 2:01 a.m.
“Keys for cash” may sound like a game or a big money giveaway but it isn’t.

Those who reside in a foreclosed home – renting or one they once legally owned – who get a knock on the door and try to up the ante are playing a no-win game

“Keys for Cash” is the moniker given to the process where banks offer those occupying a home they have repossession of “x” amount of money to get out by a certain date.

More than a few mistakenly think they have leverage so they either try to ask for more money or else they try to roll out the big guns and say they’ll talk to their lawyer. Such moves are big mistakes.

Once a home has been foreclosed and taken back by the lender they can get an eviction notice within 30 days of seeking it. Then it is only a matter of days before the sheriff’s department serves notice and tosses the occupant out on the street.

So why are the banks offering cash for keys that often can run between $500 and $2,000 or – in the case of Fannie Mae up to $4,000?

They want the home left in swept condition with all of the appliances intact. They figure it will ultimately save them time plus they’d have to pay a company to do the work.

Having said that, the bank isn’t about to be played for a patsy and who could blame them?

Some Realtors say you can try to negotiate – if you like playing poker.

The odds of getting more money are nil, but you might buy yourself some more time if it is a reasonable request.

However, if you tell them you’ll talk to your lawyer kiss the money good-bye plus get ready to pack and be out in less than 40 days.

It takes a little moxie to say the least, to even try to ask for more money at that point. The overwhelming number of people who are in foreclosures – unless they are renters – usually have been living there for three or so months without making a mortgage payment.

The bank isn’t in the business of giving away money. The key for cash offer makes business sense for them.

The only reason Fannie Mae is more generous is because they’re the government and when’s the last time they had to get serious about the bottom line?
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