Where is Waldo-A.K.A. Deed Holder?

14 Replies

My wife spotted a home less than a mile from our house when we decided to take a new route out of town to go have dinner for her birthday. She asked me today if I saw the house, boarded up and vacant. Of course me...nope!

We immediately jumped in the car and went over there.

Looks like 1950's 3 bedroom, probably 1500 sq ft. Big lot maybe 2+ acres and by my guess has been empty a few years at least. No markings, no mailbox, gas meter pulled, electric meter is gone.

The problem with East Texas is we will number our houses very particularly. There may be 2 houses between the 2700 and the 2800 block and only 2 lots, so it is not as easy as just counting the houses 2X2.

So I am resourceful, I hit the CAD, foreclosure sites, even Zillow and Realtor to scour for owners of the house. Its in my own neighborhood so I know what it is worth. I found Google street view and in early 2012 it looked like someone was living in it. Now all the windows are boarded up and it been a while since anyone was there.

I have found zip, zilch, nadda.

What are my next steps? How do I find out the correct address? Then what type of search do I need to do at the county courthouse to find who may be the mortgage holders if it was repossessed - or did it fall through the cracks somewhere? I don't mind the legwork at all.

Thanks for your help BP!

Check the county records Dept and have the clerk pull the Plat map for the general area between X street and Z road the Plat will give the legal description and you can reverse engineer from there. Good luck on the deal

Jonathan, another way much like @Randy Fahrenkrog  stated is if you have the information on previous or current owner with GAC.  Use this to back search tax years of address, You can go back to 2002.  Now, one of my other trips is to just put the street name with adjectives such as road or street, adjust to last year and do search from there.  If you have a few address numbers around it, you might be able to get the one you want.   Let me know if I can help.  You can call me.  Tom 

I meant to say without adjectives.  Just street name 

@Randy Fahrenkrog  Thanks for the tip!

@Tom Keith Thanks for offering to help! I am going to take another run at it today, I will let you know what I find out.

Is there a property with a street address nearby?  One way to find the ownership info is to look up the plat/parcel maps(s) with an address that you do know.  Once you have the correct parcel map, you can usually figure out which lot it is and work backwards from the parcel numbers.

UPDATE: So I went by the house again today, this time on a solo mission to retrieve the correct address. I found out the 2 neighbors address which matched the CAD, so I had it by process of elimination for the most part. I was able to correctly verify the address with certainty, just don't ask me how. I plead the 5th. ;)

Back to the computer and right to the CAD where I do find the property listed.

OWNER : SMITH, JOHN & JANE (names protected to hide the innocent)

ADDRESS: UNKNOWN

Whaaaaaat? I even tried to run the property trough the Texas County Records website; nadda.

So a trip down to the CAD office I suppose? I am stuck again.

@Tom Keith This is on the north side of Longview so it is technically in Harrison county. Suggestions?

give me the street name and I can tell you what county it is in.  

The address is 2610 Page Road. It is in Harrison County.

The tax mailing address for the "Smiths" is the same as the property address.  There appears to be two lots, one with the house and one that is empty, the Smiths own both.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith borrowed about $75K against the property in 2008.  There have been some very recent transfers to different note holders and a change of trustee so it appears (to me) that the lender is getting ready for foreclosure, although no notice of default has yet been recorded. There are loans prior to 2008 that may be additional debt as I don't see where they were released/reconveyed.

Is your county rural?  I've never encountered TX data from my subscriptions that is so limited on residential property.

You need a complete title report to get the entire debt and lien picture.  Then you need to decide if it's worth finding the Smiths, as they are the only ones who can sell it at this point.  

Kristine Marie Poe Great info for Jonathan.  Is your information source a subscription service Marie?  I am an information junkie and would love to have it at hand.  Go get im Jonathan!

Kristine Marie Poe Wow, how's that for calling ball? YOU ROCK!  Did you get all that from the CAD or was there somewhere else you were able to look? Thanks for the fish, but teach me to fish too, lol!

I really do appreciate the info though! :)

The county is some rural and some not. That county's CAD is the least informative of any I have seen. As a matter of fact I usually can get more info from Zillow than I can from a CAD in Harrison County.

Thanks again!

Originally posted by @Tom Keith:

@K. Marie Poe Great info for Jonathan.  Is your information source a subscription service Marie?  I am an information junkie and would love to have it at hand.  Go get im Jonathan!

I have some title company accounts, but my info is somewhat limited for TX.  I have pretty good info for most of CA.  And really great data for a few counties where I work most.  One of them has a local provider (paid service) that has amazing data. 

I don't even know what CAD is......

When the county recorder has a good, up to date online index, then I can use that combined with my ability to get actual docs from my title accounts.  That being said, Harrison County has all the doc images online on the recorder website.  We don't have images available to the general public in CA, so in that regard Harrison County is ahead of us.

Kristine Marie Poe our tax info we call CAD or County Appraisal District.  Sounds like your county recorder. 

Originally posted by @Tom Keith:

@K. Marie Poe our tax info we call CAD or County Appraisal District.  Sounds like your county recorder. 

Actually,  think the CAD would be our county Assessor, who has all the property info an generates the tax appraisal amount, which is called an assessment here.  I never need the assessment info to find ownership or title info.  The Tax Collector has ownership info. The Recorder has all the recorded docs related to the property.  Between those two I can figure out a lot.

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