I have a question regarding abandoned properties.

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I recently read a story in our local newspaper discussing the over 1,000 abandoned properties currently in the area. It appears these properties have become quite the nuisance for homeowners in these neighborhoods and the are costing the city and taxpayers thousands of dollars. Part of my mission in real estate investing has always been to improve communities by upgrading the homes and therefore lifestyle of the residents. I see these abandoned homes as an amazing opportunity to 1) improve these communities for the families that live in them and 2) build a nice portfolio of either rentals or fix n flip investments. My question is how do I go about finding any information on these abandoned homes and subsequently making a purchase? Do I go through the city or do banks typically still hold these as REOs? Mostly I am just looking for the starting point. Thank you all for any info you can provide me!!    

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