Free & Clear (assuming) and Deceased Owner??

10 Replies


I'm new to BP and I have taken action by canvassing my local neighborhood and looking for opportunities.  Question...  I ran across a property that has been vacant for nearly a year.  Grass about 4' high in the front and back. I discovered that the owner passed about 10 months ago.  I went online the tax assessor's website and discovered that the last activity or sale date was to this deceased person back in 1969 (which leads me to believe that it may be free and clear).  I would like to obtain this under my belt... perhaps for wholesaling or buy and hold.  What are the necessary steps for dealing with a deceased owner?  Do I try to contact family or would this be an issue with the courts?

Thanks in advance!!

Do a title search first. Then, you will know what you are dealing with.

Do a little homework. In Tulsa, you can go to the library or courthouse and look at property info...deeds, mortgages, liens...anything filed on that property. There is also a website where I can look at Oklahoma court records, lawsuits, criminal acts etc. Assuming you can do the same research, see if there is anything filed in the court records under that owners name. I would expect to see a filing where an atty is representing the heir or heirs to his estate, no matter how small. If none is found, eventually it will end up with the state i suspect, but it has to clear probate etc. If there is a mortgage on it (conventional or even reverse)....then you will also probably see a lawsuit from the creditor who is moving towards foreclosure. In the land records, you should see any liens by HOA, tax authority, other creditors etc along with other encumbrances. This should get you a clear picture of what it might take to get the property. Wait for foreclosure sale? Work out deal with attorney representing the estate to pay them $X.XX amount for them to sell their rights to the property and pay off the mortgage(s), liens etc.

How quick the property might be available for sale is up to the creditors, courts and estate.  Good luck.

Who are you going to buy it from?

Who has the capacity, power and authority to pass title to you?

Who has the ability to contract with you?

Thank you guys! I will take your advice and do some due diligence including a title search on it.  Are there any attorneys or companies that you would recommend to perform the title search?


Until you have determined this is a potential deal, I recommend you do the due diligence yourself.  1, you will learn some things and 2, you won't waste $300+ on a dud deal.

Once you get past the first couple rounds of due diligence and have a feel for when the sheriff sale is scheduled, or have been in contact with counsel representing the beneficiaries of the estate and are close to inking a deal....then reach out to a title attorney...or a real estate attorney that does not necessarily work for a title company.

The last thing you want to do is run straight to an attorney every time you find an abandoned property.  

Good Morning!

After a little creative thinking and research last night, I was able to track down the daughters (which live out of state) and the Power of Attorney document that has been completed and recorded with the court of North Carolina.

I simply found the obituary online and it listed the daughters and their city of residence but no state.  After realizing that there was no such city in Georgia, I went to, did a search on the deceased, and wham... had a matching city and state tied to the deceased.  I then went to their tax assessor's website, search for the names of the siblings and discovered their Power of Attorney and printed it out!

Now, what would you recommend as far a contacting the heirs?  How to I introduce myself?  Not sure if I should shock them with a phone call or send them a letter.  I'm currently working on determining the value of the property.


Go to the online court records for your area.  I assume this will be Clayton County.

You can then do a search by the name on the Tax Assessors site and see what is filed under that name relating to his death.....something like the Estate of, or representing the Heirs etc.  Then I would first reach out to the attorney handling that and advise of your interest in the property.  The attorney will know if they want to sell it....most often yes, and quick as that is often the source of funds to pay the attorney.  maybe not.  If so, he will either take your info to pass on to his clients or advise you how to approach his clients.  

Yes, it's Clayton County.  I did a civil court case inquiry for the Magistrate, State & Superior Court and did not find anything.  Next I called the Probate Court and they searched for Wills, Estates, and Attorney's for this person and also did not have anything on the person.

I've discovered three lien instruments that were filled on this property.  The first being a lien by the Tax Commissioner for unpaid taxes and the 2nd being a cancellation of the first lien.  The third is another lien that was placed early in 2014 again by the Tax Commissioner for unpaid taxes that are currently outstanding.  I was able to look at the previous years dating back to 2008 and they were always paid on time, within a month or two of the due date.  Does anyone know how long taxes are allowed to be delinquent before action is taken?

Also, I found the deed cancellation notice that states the balance has been paid in full. 

I'm going to contact the out of state heirs which have the Power of Attorney (POA) and inquire about the property. I'm not sure how to introduce myself... thinking that I need to get right to the point. Something to the effect of...


Dear POA,

While riding through the area recently, I noticed the vacant house at 54 Huie Dr. 

I'm wanting to know if you are interested in selling this house. If so, please give me a call at 555-5555 to discuss this possibility.  

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, David.


Would this be the advisable method of reaching out to them and is it too short?


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