“A Lesson in Cash For Keys” by Lisa and Tony (the fiance)

Lisa was prepared. She knows a good deal when she hears one.


You wanna be the “fonqueta” around your pseudo real estate investor friends in the 4th quarter of 2008? Learn those 3 words. Then memorize it’s meaning.

Cash For Keys (Alicia’s 3rd cousin) has been around longer than the hat worn by Dr. Seuss. He just wasn’t hustling the streets for a minute. When times were good and unprecedented triple digit appreciation wasn’t uncommon, Cash For Keys went into hibernation. Foreclosure brought him back into the game, though. And it looks like he’ll be back to his hustling ways for a while.

With the amount of foreclosures in Miami-Dade rising at an alarming rate, cash for keys negotiations are taking place throughout this county on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, look around for a thin-set Jewban in a Lexus IS 250/350 (I don’t know the specific model and I know some people take their modes of transportation very seriously). That guy’s on fire making offers Vito Corleone can’t refuse.

So, what exactly is Cash For Keys?

The definition is in the name. Bank gives cash. Tenant or owner (whoever is occupying the property) gives keys to foreclosed property. It’s really that simple.

Occupants are asked to get out within a predetermined time frame (usually 21-30 days). The bank asks that the property be left in “broom swept” condition, that all debris be removed from the property, and that all major appliances are left behind (they basically ask occupants not to trash the place). If the occupants can follow directions (easier said than done in South Florida), the bank provides them with a check for a predetermined sum (this sum depends on the bank/asset manager one is dealing with) on the predetermined date.

Cash For Keys is usually a win-win situation for all involved. Banks save thousands on the cost of eviction, repairs, and replacements, take possession of the asset (property) in 21-30 days (as opposed to 60-90 with eviction), and occupants receive a sum of cash that assists with (at times satisfies) the deposit necessary to move-in to a new home.

Interlude: It’s usually a lot easier dealing with a tenant than it is with a homeowner. The tenant is usually out to get paid. The homeowner tends to be a little bit more emotional, hence the emotional decision to stay inside the house until he/she is evicted.

The other options besides Cash For Keys are waiting for the eviction process to play out or having an attorney (there are a prominent few advertising heavily on local Spanish-speaking networks) do his/her thing to elongate the process, buy the homeowner (who is delinquent on payments to the bank) time, and cause the foreclosure disaster to last longer than it should.

Interlude 2: I’m not hating on attorneys. They have to make their money too. Three extra years of post-graduate schooling, student loans, and a little extra grease entitles them to. I’m joking (wink, wink).

At any rate, be prepared to talk about Cash For Keys while you sip on the latest designer cocktail at your next social gathering. Practice in front of the mirror. Make sure your pronounciation is on point and don’t make the mistake of saying “Keys For Cash” (although technically that’s what it really should be). “Keys For Cash” will make you look very Jerome Waltonish.

I may even have Lisa give us all a free webinar (esa palabrita me la…) where she can provide us with some pointers. She seems to know her way around this world.

Adrian Salgado is a Realtor Associate. He can be reached at 305-491-7179 or SalgadoA@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: David L. Mijares


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