Gail Gates, The Mother of Foreclosures wants you to know... Bill 1361 - Is Not helping Homeowners

Many people believe there is no equity in a foreclosure property. Often times there is. If a property is purchased at the foreclosure auction by a third party(investor), paying more than the bank is owed the overage is referred to as surplus funds. In the State of Florida prior to July 2019 surplus trustee’s made money facilitating the release of these funds for the homeowner for 2% at the time they are appointed trustee and 10% once the trustee locates and disburses the funds to the owner. This was another branch of the foreclosure business and a great service to the homeowners who for the most part didn’t know they had any money coming to them.  If they didn’t know they were owed money it stands to reason they would not know how to obtain it. That’s when a surplus trustee became vital.  A new bill was signed into law by Governor Scott on March 21, 2019 stating after July of 2019 surplus funds from a foreclosure sale must be sent to the Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed property one year after the date of the foreclosure sale if the funds have not been disbursed by court order. Prior to House Bill 1361 subordinate lien holders had 60 days to file a claim after the foreclosure sale.  Bill 1361 changed the 60 days to one year before the clerk can declare the funds unclaimed. This helps lien holders but not homeowners. If the filing attorney does a proper title search subordinate lien holders are named and served as procedure during the foreclosure process. The United States Department of Treasury IRS, second mortgage holders, Homeowners Associations, etc. are examples of commonly named lien holders in a foreclosure complaint. This process ensures lien holders are informed when the first mortgage is in default and the lis pendens is filed beginning the foreclosure process. Entities with interest in a property due to a lien know more than the homeowners about the process because it is part of business as usual. Generally that is not the case for the homeowner.  I have worked in the foreclosure information business since 1991. One of the things that I love about this business is, it is a win win.  The professionals, investors, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, etc. make money but in doing so they also help the owners along the way.  Knowing homeowners are helped by these business people who advise them of their rights and detail the many options available to them is in large part why many of us do what we do.  Bill 1361eliminated one aspect of the business that was (1)profitable for people offering to assist homeowners (2) awarded homeowners the money that was due to them. Now homeowners are on their own to find out if they are due any money and forces them to wait a year before the money is declared unclaimed.  After all is said and done, when the auction is over and the homeowner is evicted from their home there was some solace knowing people in the business were approaching them to explain they had money coming to them and then filing the proper forms to have the funds released to them. Now that isn’t happening. The new law made provisions for the owner of record to request an evidentiary hearing to determine if they are entitled to the funds. That might work in a perfect world where everyone knows and understands the statutes and laws in a business they know nothing about.  There is an old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  That being true, how can we expect people to ask questions about something they know nothing about?   

As The Mother of Foreclosures I think it is necessary to reach out occasionally to let you know about things I have observed or learned that might be beneficial for me to pass along.

Recently I have observed that the newcomers to the investing world seem to be markedly different from the the newcomers of decades past.  I attribute the difference to HGTV making light of the business, portraying it as easy.  Much of the legwork, perhaps for the sake of time, is not revealed.  Maybe they do not show the hours of work that goes into cultivating leads and working them until a successful deal is closed because that side of the business is slow and tedious and in all honesty, difficult. It doesn’t make for good TV.   When speaking to a group anxious to get started in Real Estate one of the first things I tell them is this is not a way to great rich quick. There is real work involved.  Most of us can remember our grandparents telling us that anything worth having is worth working for.  How’s many of us actually believed that?  How many of us thought , “That’s what they think.  I know better”?  Do we really know better?  No one in their right mind would consider opening a restaurant without learning the food service industry.  No one would expect to to get that restaurant open and profitable in less than a month.  Why would it be different in Real Estate?  It should not be.  You can get a deal in a month but it is highly unlikely.  That deal can net as much as some people make in a year but it is unrealistic to expect that will happen immediately and consistently without really working for it.  Glancing at leads once a month won’t do it.  Knocking on one or two doors will not get you there.  Working leads everyday is a business.  Working leads once a month is a hobby.  How would you characterize  your experience in Real Estate, business or hobby?  I can assist you either way but you need to be honest with yourself because your results will be very different.  Remember you can have a job or have something to do in your free time .  Which do you choose?

AQUESTOR is the only data provider who compiles case files at the time of filing.  This is done to ensure our users can be the first ones to the door.  The sooner a homeowner is contacted, the more of a chance you have of helping them and creating a positive outcome for them and you.  It is always a win win when you help a homeowner.  All of us together are their advocates during some of the most challenging times of their lives.  As such, AQUESTOR gets the pertinent information to you and you do what you can with it to assist them.
We take pride in the success of our clientele and do what ever we can to ensure your success rate.   If you are as diligent searching our data as we are providing it, your success rate would increase dramatically.
We have been surveying website usage.  It has come to our attention that many people are not access the data as recommended to achieve maximum results.
The customers who access their accounts only once a month or less are less likely realize their full potential.  Our thirty plus years in business has offered us the intel we need to assist you as well as the people you serve.  We have found when the data is available as soon as possible the success rate is much higher, which is why we do our research as soon as the cases are filed, not later after recording.  Getting to the homeowners soon after the filing enables you to meet them when they are most motivated.
The old saying that the early bird gets the worm is exactly the right metaphor for this situation.
If your searches on AQUESTOR are not daily or every few days, than you are missing out on that very important window of time reducing the impact of the data.
Let’s work together to help as many people as possible.  Isn’t that what this is all about?
Please contact me with any questions regarding the best marketing strategies and website usage.
Together we can do great things!

Brandon Reed founder of Real Estate for the Rrst of Us,  invited me to be a guest on his Podcast.  Brandon is the host dedicating his time to bringing information to people starting out in the Real Estate investment world.

Our goal at Aquestor has always been to educate newcomers to help them invest safely.  Anything we can do to further our commitment we are always happy to do.

Please follow this link:

Using County Data to Generate More Effective Leads

Listen and come back here to add your comments.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Invest safely my friends.

Recently a homeowner asked if they have to maintain their property that is in foreclosure.  It is common for homeowners to be angry and damage the property or simply fail to keep up basic maintenance.  Many of these homeowners are sadly unaware that they have options that can help them retain the property and/or their equity.  I urge anyone who finds themselves in foreclosure to reach out to people in the business to find out what choices are available.  As the owner of the property it is in your best interest to keep the property in good condition.  You need to protect your investment.  If the property violates any county or homeowners association guidelines they can arrange to have it brought up to code and lien the property for the cost.  The county can charge a per day fee appropriate for the violation until the issue is addressed.  Also understand if the bank does foreclosure they get a deficiency judgment against the borrower.  This is an unsecured judgment awarded to the lender when the foreclosure sale does not produce sufficient funds to satisfy the underlying promissory note or loan in full.

It is important as the homeowner to know your rights and responsibilities and govern your actions accordingly.

For more information regarding your rights or how to contact a foreclosure professional contact me directly or find the local Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) in your area.  They will have a list of investors, Realtors, mortgage brokers and attorneys who can guide you.

You can be an advocate for the people without being a Morgan or an attorney for that matter.  Our customers help homeowners everyday.  Homeowners who are in desperate situations are motivated to sell.  When you understand the motivation, you are able to find them and help them resolve their situation.  That does not mean you are profiting from someone’s hardship.  If you are unfair or offer a lowball price, not offering them a fair amount is taking advantage.  I’ll give you an example.  A neighbor of mine was in foreclosure.  She had $80,000 in equity in her home.  She was refinancing but her foreclosure showed up on the sale calendar before the new mortgage was in place.  That brought interested parties to her door.  One in particular was a very new, inexperienced Realtor.  He offered her $1500 in exchange for her deed.  He said he would stop her foreclosure which in turn would fix her credit.  That was untrue.  He also advised her that her equity was not hers because she was in default.  Also, not true.  Had she not known her rights, his scare tactics would likely have worked when he told her all would be lost if she did not take the $1500 from him. There are so many good people in our community of investors.  We have to be the good ones.  We have to be the ones to offer assistance.  There is enough money in these deals for fairness.

Be the one to offer a hand up.  There is money to be made but being fair will get you a smile of appreciation, a hug of gratitude and the knowledge you helped someone move on from a devastating time in their lives.  Money comes and goes but the feeling of doing the right thing will never leave you.

I am excited to have a place to answer your questions and bring you the success stories of the many people who have helped homeowners throughout the Central Florida area.  It is with great pride that Aquestor has been able to offer valuable information to the people who have the knowledge and expertise to find good, viable solutions to those in need of assistance.

The people in foreclosure have had something happen to them that took their money and their focus away from their mortgage payment.  These are things that happen to people in every walk of life and every level of income.  No one is immune.  We have seen everyone from celebrities in multimillion dollar homes to people trying to scrape by on limited income in small homes in less than desirable neighborhoods and everything in between.  The loss of a paycheck or an illness or the breakup of a marriage can spiral into a foreclosure very quickly.  Sometimes something as simple as a car repair is just enough to throw off a budget.

The death of a loved one often times leave relatives with property they do not want and cannot afford to keep.  Landlords who have not been able to collect rent find themselves in a deficit situation when they thought they had an income producing investment.

They all need help and you can offer them the assistance they need.  The data we provide is an opportunity to great things.  Nothing feels better at the end of the day then knowing you helped someone out of a desperate situation.  Literally thousands of people have received a helping hand because the good people in our community have been there when they needed to be.  What are you doing this weekend?  I can’t wait to hear about your success. Tell me all about it by emailing me at 

or reply below.  We would love to hear from you.  Until next time

Be well...


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