When purchasing a distressed investment property that is still occupied by either tenants or the previous owner who may have lost their home to foreclosure, one of the best ways to get them out is the Cash for Keys strategy. Cash for Keys is basically offering the occupants money in exchange for the keys. While it sounds simple, the secret to success here has less to do with the money and more to do with addressing the needs of a particular occupant.
The first call they receive should not be from an attorney. Using your attorney too soon may cost your more money, time and aggravation down the line. You want to start by approaching them and figuring out what they need in order to successfully find a new place. They may just want help finding an apartment or may already have plans to leave. Have the conversation and get at the heart of their motivation.
If you can't find common ground, then have your attorney take over. Typically, tenants want first month's rent, last month's rent and the security deposit for their new place. Previous owners can be a bit more challenging as they are looking for a fresh start and may need more time and more money depending on the situation.
Cash for Keys works, but new investors should be careful purchasing occupied distressed properties where there is no rent or income being paid.