If the property is vacant and is in the redemtion period, the bank can accelerate the foreclosure process to take the home over and sell it out right.
It sounds like the current owner is holding title to their property in a Land Trust. Therefore, the true owner is the Trustee (of the land trust). As the owner, the Trustee would sign all contracts (at the direction of the beneficiary).Owning property in a land trust is a great way to hide ownership and protect against liens, etc. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using a land trust, go to: http://www.realestateforprofit.com
I'm aware of one program (and I'm sure there are others) involving land trusts and short sales. See http://www.landtrust.net
To oversimplify, a trust is just a separate entity that owns the actual property. Just like a corporation or LLC might own a property, a trust (or in the case of a land trust, the trustee) owns the property. Usually, the property is brought out of the trust, then sold. However, it's also possible to purchase a beneficial interest in the trust--so now you'd own the trust that, in turn, owns the home.
Most estate planners understand regular trusts. Some understand land trusts. You may want to speak to one to get a better understanding. Or ask your Realtor for a recommendation of a lawyer or estate planner to speak to. The only thing I'd caution you about--and the seller probably has this under control--is make sure the settlement company that's used understands land trusts. Some do, some don't. You definitely want one that does.
Hope that helps.
Based on what you have provided, it sounds to me that you are dealing with the estate of a deceased homeowner with a mortgage due that is more than the current value of the home. The "estate" is selling the house hoping to be approved for a short sale by the lender. In this case, the trustee of the estate would not have lived in the house. The seller disclosure is required by Michigan law; however, when the person completing the disclosure has not lived in the house, they cannot comment on the condition and must indicate as such on the seller disclosure. The signature that you have indicated appeared on the lead disclosure is typical of the situation when the authorized representative of the estate/trust is completing the paperwork.
Having said all of this, it should not impact your purchase of the home. The approval by the lender of the short sale is the main factor, and that is outside of your control...just part of the process. You need to be prepared for a long process as is typical of short sales. You may experience long periods of time with little to no feedback from the lender...understand that it is the nature of the beast.
Good luck, and I hope that all goes well for you in the short sale process.
That's a great question. In Michigan a non-resident owner (corporate or trust) is not obliged to disclose the usual disclosure questions including the lead-based paint. The logic follows that because they did not live ther, they cannot have first-hand knowledge of the property details. You will be on your own (hopefully w/ a private home inspector and any other environmental inspector) to find out what is right & wrong w/ the property. Because so many homes are now corporate owned, this is happening more and more around the state. Good luck!
Jay M. Jones, Realtor
Max Broock, Birmingham