There is a home next to a family member that's been vacant for 3+ years. I knew the owners so I've reached to both(they've split) through Facebook and have sent a letter to the address just see if anyone would answer. No luck so far. A realtor friend has looked it up and it has not been foreclosed. Any ideas for me on how to figure out a way to buy this property?
Start by going down to your county clerk's (or city's) land records department, they can help you look up the property information. You will need the exact address of course. You should be able to find who is the owner of record, which is public information (it might not be the people you know anymore). The land record might also show the mailing address of the record owner (for property tax bills - but it might end up just being the property address).
Also find out whether the property taxes are up to date. If they are not, that's a reason the current owners may want to sell. There might be a tax lien on the property, putting them in danger of being foreclosed on by the municipality.
Sometimes this information is online, sometimes you have to actually go to the municipal office. Often part of the info is online. But other info, like whether there's a mortgage on the property, can only be had by going to the clerk's office.
Once you verify who owns the property, you will have to continue to play detective. And, just because your letters haven't received an answer so far, doesn't mean they won't. They may just not be ready to sell yet. But if you keep up the communication, they may respond at some point.
Thank you Suzanne. I had just been relying on the online info, I'll go down there and check it out!!