Private Investigator

13 Replies

I am looking for suggestions for a private investigator to try to track down owners of vacant houses. I focus on vacant houses. When I find one I always door knock the neighbors to see if they know anything about the owners. I run reports through Accurint to locate them or friends or family. I review the county marriage and divorce records along with the grantee/grantor index. I have about 12 houses that I just can't anything on. They are behind in their taxes and the county can't find them either so they just appoint a Attorney Ad Litem. I am hopeful that a good PI has better skills and access to better data than I do. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank You

Wouldn't a skip tracing company do the trick??

It would if I had a name. If I had a name I could probably find them. All I have is the Estate of Joe Clark. The house is vacant. The neighbors say both Mr. and Mrs. Clark are deceased. They had no children. The taxes have not been paid in 7 years since they died. The yard is 4 feet tall. On the Accurint report the only connections it lists are him for her and her for him. So I don't know if they had any brothers or sisters. I don't know who the next of kin is, that is what I need to find out. Then I can skip trace them.

In writing my reply it occurred to me, perhaps what I need is a geneology researcher?

If you're serious about this, you'll need a team that includes PI's, forensic genealogists and skip tracers.

I suggest you subscribe to PI magazine for starters. It's a bit cheesy as it tends to attract would-be investigators as well as licensed folks, but the advertisements will give you great insight into assembling your team.

Also, I could write an an entire book chapter on how to use and manage PI's as they can run up the billing meter easily and quickly with wasteful time spent tracking down the wrong people and mission creep.

Lastly, if you're smart about this, you'll discover that the real money is made spending money that others won't spend. That's all I'll say about that.

Maybe try Maybe you'll get lucky?

interesting topic! you might want to to the RICH club and ask for Derrel Sims he is PI

Good luck and keep us posted!

Thank you, I will do that.


Thank you, I am very serious about this. We have completed 16 transactions over the past year. I only started focusing on vacant houses late last year. It has been the best business decision I have ever made. I know we don't have the kind of margins you do in California real estate. But we are routinely generating $30k to $50k profits per house. We find em, buy em, clean em up (but no rehab) and put them on MLS, usually gone in less than 10 days. I have read many of your posts and consider you one of my BiggerPockets heroes.

I will look for a PI magazine. I have already sent a few email to geneaology researchers to see what I can find.


Thanks for the idea, I can't rely on luck. Someone knows how to find the heirs to these estates and I going to find that person.



The digital subscription to PI Magazine is only $24 for the year, plus gives me access to previous issues, sounds like a deal.

I found an online geneaology research company this morning. They charge $70.00 per hour. It took her 3 hours to find my dead guys 2 brothers and 1 sister. Now we don't have a deal yet, but I miles closer than I was 6 hours ago.

Hi Jerry, which geneaology research company did you use?  I'm trying to track down an owner's heirs also.

Find their obituary in the local newspaper.  It will tell you their next of kin.  Sometimes the funeral home will have an online guest book that might have some clues.  

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