Real estate concept.

Yes, you can surrender your property and get a few hundred or thousand dollars in exchange. This may not be a win-win situation for you, but it is a way to make the most out of a bad situation. Cash for Keys simply means that the borrower/mortgagor is willing to surrender the property to the lender/mortgagor in exchange for cash. This article will discuss several ways by which the same can be utilized to your advantage.


Why are banks willing to shell out money when there is a reasonable certainty that the property will fall in their hands anyway? There are several reasons. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. A home owner can refuse to vacate
  2. A home owner can file a dispute
  3. A home owner can file for bankruptcy
  4. A homeowner can vandalize the property before leaving.

The first and second reasons in particular, will ruin the value of the property. This is because occupation with no thought of repairs plus vandalism will ruin an otherwise beautiful foreclosure home. Paying cash in exchange for an amicable, sometimes immediate surrender of the property is more economical and practical for lenders.


Before considering cash for keys, you need to exhaust every other remedy that will allow you to keep the home, i.e. bankruptcy, loan modification, refinance, etc. If however, no viable option is available and losing the home is imminent, you must approach the bank to request for a little bit of cash in exchange for moving and amicably settling the dispute. Make sure you are surrendering the property for TOTAL condonation of ALL your debts with that Lender/Mortgagor!

Take Care of the Property

After you approach the bank to request cash for keys, the latter will send a representative to inspect the premises. Make sure the home looks absolutely spotless. This increases the urgency of not having the home vandalized. Of course do not pay for costly expenses just to make the home presentable. Just keep it clean and well organized.

How Much Can You Get?

The key question is how much is the right price? The author does not really know because the amount varies depending on the value of the home and the negotiating skills of the borrower/mortgagor. At the very least, you will get enough to pay a couple of month’s rent plus advance and deposit. The most successful homeowners negotiated with the bank for a move out fee. This includes removal of personal property without ruining the realty to which it is attached. This meant a move out premium plus payment for movers, cleaners after vacating, boarding up the home, and even necessary repairs before move out. The important thing is to include any and all expense relevant to move out. Don’t forget a reasonable quote of a rental property suitable for your purposes.

What if You Are Only a Lessee?

If your landlord tells you to move out because the property is to be foreclosed, you must insist on getting your advance and deposit from that landlord. Next, you want to contact the lender and inform the same that you possess the property and that you are requesting a move out fee. Do not threaten to vandalize the property if the same is not given. Politely reason out that move out is expensive and without enough money to do so, you may inadvertently damage the property when removing personal belongings. The lender will understand what you actually mean.

Be Ready to Move Out As Soon As Possible

In most cases, lenders will pay a premium for immediate surrender. Tell your lender this is possible but you need more funds to make the move. Otherwise, you are still going to move out, but it will take a little bit longer.

Be Polite, Never Threaten!

Always be polite when dealing with the bank or lender. In order to make the most out of a bad situation, you need to show the bank you are sincere and willing, but lack the capacity to move out in a proper and timely manner. Never ever blackmail or insist because your own words maybe used to make you liable for any damage, intentional or not. For more information about cash for keys i.e. letter of intent, negotiation tips, where to find movers, etc., you can contact a foreclosure specialist or credit counselor.