abandon property

12 Replies

Please help me with the steps, I drove by a home that looked abandon so I pulled over went to the door and knocked.. there was a paper in the window that actually said the home was being treated as abandon although there was a mattress and other junk looks like someone is staying there I wrote down the address and went to pull a property report from realquest and pulled up zillow realquest shows the home is in foreclosure and zillow says its not for sale... what can I do now? I want this house (for rehab) but don't know what to do next.. do I call the bank? do I try and locate the owners? HELP

Hey Amber,

Not from real estate experience, but from working for the fire department, we get a lot of homeless who break in to houses that are vacant, and sleep there.

I think my next step would be to find the owner of the property, either from city hall, or online GIS maps. Just google " *town, state* GIS map" and you should be able to find that info. Good luck!

Hi Amber, I would call the bank and ask. On the notice on the door, there should be the name of the bank and their phone number. Ask them if the property is for sale. All they could say is no it isn't and tell you to contact the owners. I don't know how it is in California, but owner info is public record here where I live in Hawaii, so you could easily get the info and contact the owners or write them a letter. You could also get the owners info from a realtor if you have realtor friends. Good luck!

I call these zombie properties. I suspect the foreclosure is not yet final which means if you can find the owner you can negotiate with him or her. Most likely they don't have much equity which means you will have to negotiate a "short sale" with the bank.

Often the owner doesn't want anything for it since they have walked away, so it comes down to whatever you can negotiate with the bank. These can be great deals but they are generally a lot of work.

The hard part is often finding the owner after they have left. Google "people search" or 'skip trace"

If the foreclosure is final and the bank owns it, they probably won't be interested in talking to you. You will just have to wait until it is listed by an agent. However that shouldn't stop you from trying and calling the bank.

Thank you, appreciate the feed back

Amber: if you want to send me the address I can look it up and tell you if it's already been foreclosed. If not, then you may be able to contact the owner. Happy to help.

@Amber Castro 2 suggestions:

1) you may also want to go back and knock on the neighbors doors. Many times the neighbors know what happened.

Just tell them you are looking to buy houses in the area so that you can clean them up, and get them occupied, and you saw this one looks vacant, and could use some TLC.

Most of the time, they will not give you the persons contact info, but if you give them your card, they may reach out to the owner.

2) Send a letter/postcard to the house, using a first class stamp and mark "Return Service Requested" under your return address. if the owners left a forwarding address with post office, they will send it to you. (I think they charge like $0.50 for the service).

Good luck!


In addition to all that advice, any realtor or title company can pull a property profile report for you and get the owner information. The tax bill has to be mailed somewhere and the tax records will have that address.

@Amber Castro I responded to your email, but it looks like reilynx.com isn't active? If you didn't get it, feel free to make a colleague request and PM me. Thanks.

@Amber Castro keep us posted on what actions you take and what's discovered. I actually posted the same exact question earlier today in a post titled boarded up! lol small world =p

Although not on my post, all this information is great. I've found the owner per the county assessor and was thinking about sending a letter to see what happens.

ill keep you posted.. :)

Amber got a message from me. The property as sold at trustee's sale 2 weeks ago, mostly likely to an investor buyer. On to the next one!

Thank you!!!

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