Tracking down the owner of vacant properties

13 Replies

I know it might be obvious, but I didn't see it anywhere around. If you're looking to track down the owner of a vacant property, you can use a skip tracer to track them down for a minimal cost ($15 - $20 bucks or so). I don't have any that I recommend, but maybe people can post who they use?

Another good trick is to send a piece of mail to the vacant house and above the name write "Return Service Requested". The postoffice will then send the mail back to you with the latest forwarding address on it.

It works OK if the owner of record has a forwarding address with the post office. Otherwise, you are back to searching public record, the internet or hiring someone to chase them down.

I am a RE investment instructor in the DFW area and I specialize in locating owners of abandoned houses.

I am hesitant to say too much being new to this site because I am not familiar with all the posting guidelines and/ or differing state laws.

Public data . com is a GREAT website for helping me locate owners but it is limited to certain states for pertinent information. A true skip tracer rarely looks for the person at hand. Rather, they try to locate family members that may be easier to find.

Feel free to email me if I can try to help more.


Jim, looks like it may be a good resource. I could only play with the demo though. Do you know which states it is good for? The demo site lists all states plus DC:

Alabama , Alaska , Arizona , Arkansas , California , Colorado , Connecticut , Delaware , District of Columbia , Florida , Georgia , Hawaii , Idaho , Illinois , Indiana , Iowa , Kansas , Kentucky , Louisiana , Maine , Maryland , Massachusetts , Michigan , Minnesota , Mississippi , Missouri , Montana , Nebraska , Nevada , New Hampshire , New Jersey , New Mexico , New York , North Carolina , North Dakota , Ohio , Oklahoma , Oregon , Pennsylvania , Rhode Island , South Carolina , South Dakota , Tennessee , Texas , Utah , Vermont , Virginia , Washington , West Virginia , Wisconsin , Wyoming

The search under Drivers License info search by Name has the following states available (the specific info given is everything published on a DL minus the picture):
[b]Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin.

[/b]The site is outstanding for doing criminal background checks as nearly every state is available on the site.

If you have a License Plate number (easily obtained on an expired insurance card or declarations page that is left behind in an abandoned house), add the following states to the ones above:
[b]Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, South Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia and Utah.

This link was sent to me by the site owner to use as a referral. I don't know how to post a link here so if I may, I will send anyone interested, the link to subscribe (I suggest the $10 per month for 200 searches), where they will be awarded 100 bonus searches. There is no minimum to the subscription period. I was told about the site by an anchorman with WFAA News in Dallas.


Hello Jim.

What site are you referring to? or some other site? To post a link, just copy the example below, filling the proper link in:


If you have questions about our policies, please PM me and I'd be happy to fill you. Otherwise, welcome to BiggerPockets, and thanks for your input.

Yes.... I am talking about the site .
It has criminal searches for 42 states and around 12 states for drivers license searches. Not sure about the other number of searches but if you click on the the state, it will list all the data bases available for that state.

People reading this..... please remember that while I may have knowledge of the foreclosure process, every state is different with their laws so I am not claiming to be any sort of expert outside of the state of Texas.

the following link shows laws for individual states for foreclosure:
For some reason I am not able to copy the link for the bonus section link to publicdata so for anyone wishing to try public data and get the 100 bonus searches, follow this link to my business website and click on the Public Data link on that page.


Jim - thanks for the info. I think you're missing one, very important link on your list . . . hint, hint :lol:

LOL Point well taken but I have a question for you...

I will be happy to list a banner for this site, viewable in mere minutes, IF... you are so kind to add my banner/link?


Oh alright....

I may be good at locating people but computer savy, I am not.

With that in mind, I have added the site to mine.

Even though I get the link posted here, I really want the banner...

I am a real estate agent who specializes in pre-foreclosure/ foreclosures and otherwise distressed prop's. Yes I am giving away my secret.

This is how I go about finding homeowners of vacant and abondoned homes. I use a combination of four elements. I have been very successful in locating the homeowners this way. I am located in NJ so some of the tax record information may vary by state.

Skp Tracing Steps:

1. The obvious: Check tax records to find current owner name and possibly address.

2. Use and do a reverse address search to see if you can get a number for the home or it may list other peoples names at that address.

3. Go to lets you run a preliminary search for free. Enter the homeowner's name and state and look for the homeowners name listed with the town the property is listed in. To the right will also list possible relatives. Print or write this info down.

4. Go to enter homeowners name and state. Find the address of the property with your homeowners name. Sometimes there are phone numbers listed here also. You can also use this site to search the relatives names.

Using a combination of these three sites you can successfully find your homeowner. It might take a couple of phone calls or mailings but you will find them. I have contacted relatives who took my number and gave it to the homeowner and no less than five minutes later I recieved phone calls.

Hope this helps. Don't know if I explained it clearly but I tried.

Eric Banda
A Home For Sale Realty
hackettstown, NJ 07840