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October 26th, 2011

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Foreclosure Exit SignThe sight of an eviction team carrying furniture and other personal items from a house to the curb is an ugly sight, not one that the neighbors, former homeowners or local Realtors wish to see.

Unfortunately in today’s housing market, it’s a reality.

In an effort to prevent scenes such as this, more real estate pros are doing something they never thought they’d do: offer cash to evicted homeowners to move out quickly and leave the home in decent shape.

This new “strategy” is known as “cash for keys.”

Avoiding the long, costly and often arduous eviction process is a top priority for real estate pros these days. Most Realtors never anticipated becoming experts in distressed real estate, by in today’s market, it’s a must.

Distressed real estate currently makes up 30 percent of the U.S. housing market, so keeping these properties in good shape and ready for new, prospective buyers is as important as ever.

What kind of cash are we talking about?

Realtors aren’t offering cash for keys because it’s the humane thing to do, although they say it’s easy to become numb to the eviction process and forget about the human element. But at the end of the day these are families that aren’t sure what their next move will be or where they’ll live next.

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All the same, Realtors realize they have a job to do and costs can quickly get out of reach. While an “out-of-court eviction” typically costs between $400 and $1,100, a “contested” eviction can run as high as $15,000 or even more.

Typically, the quicker and cleaner the evictee leaves the property the more cash they’ll receive.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

Our bloggers:

Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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