Trying to Help some Guys Get Their Money - REO Property Preservation Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Trying to Help some Guys Get Their Money

Ok, I know there are all levels of guys on this forum that know about liens, legal matters, etc. I am writing this strictly to help the small guy to protect what is rightfully his.

I have just received a check from a job that I did exactly 1 year ago.

How did I do it? I filed a lien on the property as soon as the time had elapsed for them to send me the check. I also kept all the b4 and after pictures on file.

For those of you out there who don't know:
These properties you do work on are 99% of the time foreclosures. These houses are going to be sold. Some sooner and some later but, they are going to be sold. We have a lot here in my city that I have seen sit vacant for more than 1 year before the For Sale sign finally went in the yard.

Point being: If whatever company you are doing this work for does not send you your check in the agreed upon time you need to immediately file a lien on that property. It is not a complicated process and in most states it only cost around $14.00 and you don't need a lawyer. If you think by being Mr. Nice Guy and not filing one that is going to appease them and make them send the check you are wrong.

A house cannot and will not be sold with a lien on it. This does what is called "Places a Cloud" on the title and no one in the world is going to buy it with your lien legally attached to it.

The reason I am writing this is because this is an epidemic that is going on all over this country. And, you the small contractor who are just trying to make a living are the one who is being taken. If you are a small contractor with only a certain amount of working capital and take on a job with a company that doesn't pay you then you are most likely going to be out of business.

If you don't place a lien on that property right away and instead you just decide to wait, what is going to happen is the house is going to be sold. A title search is going to be run and there is not going to be a lien on it because you didn't take the time to file one.

File a Lien
Wait it out
Collect your money
Put it in the bank
Make sure to give it enough time to clear "their" bank
Then, and only then, fill out the Contractor Lien Release and go file it

I hope this helps some guys out there and remember it is never too late to file a lien. If you did a job some time back, drive by it and see if it is still vacant. If so, immediately go file the lien on it. The people that work at these places where you file the liens cannot give you legal advice but, they have always been nice and given me "suggestions" when I needed it.

Btw, the check was not sent to me by the bogus company I contracted with, it was sent by the Escrow Company trying to get the house closed for the bank. You see, as long as the house is For Sale with no offers, nothing is going to happen. This house was up for sale for right at 1 year, they lowered the price a couple of times. Here a month or so ago they really lowered the price and right away got 3 offers all at the same time. I know because I talked to the listing real estate agent. So, that is when I received the check.

Do your research on How to File a Contractor's Lien it is not really that difficult. If necessary, you can probably go to your local library and get more information.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Hunt View Post
I hope this helps some guys out there and remember it is never too late to file a lien.
This statement may be true in your location, but it is NOT true in Wisconsin. A notice of intent to file lien must be issued with in 60 days of the last service performed at the property. Furthermore, lien rights must be disclosed prior to the beginning of work. This is why all my estimates have lien rights verbiage on them.

Now small claims court and breach of contract are something totally different.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 10:19 AM
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Nice post.

There are a lot of "what ifs" by filing a lien.

If it is a lien for work completed on a property "pre-foreclosure" then in many States the foreclosure wipes out the lien-similar to a bankruptcy.

Most if not all of the contractors signed a ridiculous contract nullifying their lien rights. If you file a lien be prepared to be sued by the seller for breach of contract and possibly for all costs for clearing the title/deed.

I'm glad it worked out for you.

Back in "the day" we filed 375 liens on a block of homes that was controlled by a Service Company that closed their doors. This Service Company was required to post a Surety/Performance Bond to be awarded the Bank Contract and we filed a claim for $180,000+. We collected $110,000 after attorney fees and associated costs to the settlement.

I learned 3 important lessons:

1) Never sign a contract nullifying your lien rights OR have the contract changed to a CONDITIONAL LIEN WAIVER. On every contract I signed with a National I "inserted" the word "conditional" and in all the years only 1 company caught it and they allowed it to remain.

2) File a claim against a Service Companies Bond. You don't need to be an attorney to do this.

3) In every State but 2 that we Serviced require Pre-Lien notices 10 days before commencement of work. It was electronically filed and cost $10 On all repair work we filed this and the respective Secretary of States office will mail this notice directly to the service company. That's mail they are 100% sure to open and 99.9% to be given to the Company Legal Dept. NEVER EVER had a problem getting paid on repairs.

Always know your rights and it's worth a $500 bill to sit down with a good attorney who knows contractor law.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, You are Correct


I believe here it is 90 days to file a lien after the completion of the work.

I didn't really mean you had forever. That is why I stated on the front end that if you had not received your check in the agreed upon time I personally would give them another week or so and then go file it.

It seems most of these places are anywhere from 14 to 45 days out depending.

In this case I waited the 45 days (agreed on) added another week to it and then went and filed it.

BTW, I made the extreme mistake of not finding this site before signing on and taking this job. That is the very reason I didn't wait around any longer than I did to file it. After the research I did on here as well as elsewhere the news was not good...
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-26-2015, 03:30 PM
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Hey I know the shameless self promotion thing is a taboo no-no but here are the latest blog I have published on the Lien issue....

I've been working closely with Scott over at Z-Lien to assist with dispensing information....

Hope this helps...I will also be publishing more about collections as I complete the courses I'm in themiddle of taking...something some may want to read about....

Aladay LLC
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