Real Estate Investing – Don’t Just GET THE DEED – The Infamous "Kitchen Table Closing"

Here is a question from one of my Clients about purchasing a house using a kitchen table closing. My quick answer… Beware!

Q: Hi Lou, I have a property under contract that I want to resell/flip as-is to a rehabber/renovator, but I may have to purchase it quickly and simply record the Quit Claim Deed, without using a closing attorney or waiting for a title exam. I need your advice.

The seller just called me and left a message on my voice mail stating she did not want to sell to me because she received a better offer. Now I do have it under contract, with a signed purchase and sales agreement from her, and I had her sign a Quit Claim deed, too. I did that because she was fighting with her sister over ownership of this property, which was given to her by her mom who passed away 2 years ago. The deed is in her name alone, not the sister’s, mom’s or anyone else. I did see the deed and made a copy of it.

I thought I should get the Quit Claim Deed (QCD), just in case I needed to record it because of the family issues. The Seller agreed as well. She said she just wanted to get rid of this property. I also filed at the courthouse an Affidavit for the property showing I had it under contract, as you recommend. I’m in the process of getting a title check done by my title company.

Now what do you recommend I do? Should I go back to the courthouse and record the QCD or wait until the title search is complete to record the deed; or should I walk away, or should I choose to wait and schedule an attorney to do the closing?

Thank you, G.

A: Hi G., what you’re describing is a little risky, yet it’s done fairly often as is commonly referred to as a “kitchen table closing” since they are literally often closed right in the Seller’s kitchen. It’s a VERY good idea to get title exam run first, before doing a “kitchen table closing” especially if you are giving any money to the Seller.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend you do your own closing, but since you’re rushing your purchase so you can “preserve” your deal before the other Buyer moves in and buys it, and/or before the sister does anything rash… just be sure that the transaction has been up front, and that you truly intend to move forward as you agreed. I think that I would go ahead and file/record the QCD. I don’t see that you have anything to lose, and a lot to gain.

I would then inform the seller that she can not sell to anyone else because she already has a binding agreement to sell to you, and that you already “technically” own the house (since you recorded the QCD). Let her know that your plan is to review title, and as long …

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