How to find Vacant property owner’s contact info

19 Replies

I found this vacant property and found out owner’s name. Did People search and found some phone numbers but tried them all, non of them are available or correct. There current address is the vacant property address.

Do you guys have a better way to find owner’s contact info. The auction date is in 2 weeks.

I looked into a few nearby vacant properties, some unkempt, out of curiosity, tried to look up the owners. In one case, turns out the owner was in a nursing home, out of state. The case got into the papers when scammers somehow got a home equity loan, cashed out over $100K, but never paid it. The bank somehow found the owner, found out he never deeded the house to the scammers who claimed to be his niece and nephew, and wrote off the loan. To this day, I couldn't figure out how you would find someone living in a out of state nursing home.

My mother in law recently passed away, and owned a vacant property when she fell two years ago. When she left the hospital, stayed with us to convalesce, then to her son and daughter in San Francisco. She has phone service, utilities paid via auto pay from an account where her Social Security is deposited. Though she had a phone, she wasn't there for 2 years so no one is answering it. My wife goes there several times a month to clean up and pick up the mail, so sending her a post card is the best way though we throw them away. She never owned or used a computer, and for certain purposes, when a email is required, I had an email set up for her. Getting her phone and email is useless because she's not there to answer to phone, or even know she has an email address. My dad who owned property till his nineties was in the same boat, we set up email addresses for him, but he never owned a computer or even know what his email address is, or even have one.

Having seen it happen, there are cases where people cannot be located, and even if you have a phone number or email address, they have no access to it. I have better luck just going to auctions to pick up these things, where I bought a few.

Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

@Frank Chin If you go to actions, you have to buy with cash, right? But I don’t have that much money

Are you talking about paying ALL CASH? in many cases you don't. But you still have to qualify for mortgages as in a regular purchase.

I bought several properties at auction, including the duplex I live in. I was the winning bidder for a $350K ARV property at $208K, with auction fees of about $12K. The foreclosing bank provided a 90% LTV mortgage, 90% of $208K, or a little over $180K, and my down payment of a little over $21K for the down payment. I separately paid the auction fees. I had a $120K HELOC ready to do REO's and auctions. But I bought my tax returns, W2's to show them when loan officers set up shop at the auction site, so I walked in 9:00AM for the auction, won the bid at 10:30, walked out with the property and a mortgage by 12:00 noon.

Then I bought condos at auction. Condos originally sold for $120K auctioned off at $40K. Again, the foreclosing bank stepped in to provide the mortgage, with $8K down, and a $32K mortgage. I tried to refinance the $32K mortgage later when interest rates dropped, but banks I approached don't do mortgages that small, and I was cash flowing, so I didn't bother to go further.

Then there are banks that provide financing for auctions, though I haven't used them. See Wells Fargo: Financing foreclosures

When I was doing it, I see many investors going in circles looking for owners, who could be dead but no one bothered to probates the estate, sick and under care at nursing homes or like my MIL with relatives across the country, and not at home answering the phone. Then in my father's case, makes no sense for him to sell a property to an investor that he bought for $25K in 1963, and worth $1.1MM in 2015. Either sell to an investor and pay capital gains on $1.1MM, very stupid, or leave it for his kids capital tax free, smart, which is what he did. 

All in all, I find going to the auction easier, at least easier than yanking patients out of bed at nursing homes to make your offer, if you manage to locate them.

 

 

Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

I found this vacant property and found out owner’s name. Did People search and found some phone numbers but tried them all, non of them are available or correct. There current address is the vacant property address.

Do you guys have a better way to find owner’s contact info. The auction date is in 2 weeks.

 Someone is paying the property tax. Send them a letter.

Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

@Frank Chin thank you so much for the info.

I was eager to find the home owner for another reason cause I want to negotiate with them to do subject 2 deal with me, this way I don’t need to get a loan.

Did you check with the REO bank how many payments they are behind, and checked public records on back taxes. It's not like you're walking in with nothing down, and back taxes could be substantial. My next store neighbor didn't go to an auction, acquired the property, didn't buy the property free and clear from the REO bank, and got stuck with $15K in back taxes.

Years back, I looked into investors buying "sub 2", then L/O to tenants. No money down heaven. Because the investor had little money, or non to invest, when the L/O tenant falls behind, he himself falls behind on the sub 2 mortgage, and he's in a real mess with the seller and his bank.

 

@Frank Chin this property is going to auction in 2 weeks and I know the mortgage balance which shows in foreclosure. com, this should include the tax and penalty. This property locates in an area I want to live so this will be my living property if I can get it sub 2. Just don’t know if I have the luck

Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

@Frank Chin this property is going to auction in 2 weeks and I know the mortgage balance which shows in foreclosure. com, this should include the tax and penalty. This property locates in an area I want to live so this will be my living property if I can get it sub 2. Just don’t know if I have the luck 

Good luck to you, but it'll be a miracle if you find the guy at this point. Keep us updated.

 

Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

@Mike M. How can I find out who is paying the tax

The tax assessor in the county the property is in. You can usually find it online.

 

Originally posted by @Ryan McKimm :

@Frank Chin

Where are you buying foreclose auctions where the foreclosing bank is present and giving out mortgages on the spot to the auction winner? Or am I not reading this correctly?

Yes. But you have to bring your tax returns, W2’s and they run a credit report. They mention this in the auction material. I wasn’t worried as I was approved for several mortgage refinancing at the time. They had several loan officers there.

I wish all mortgages were approved so quickly.


Originally posted by @Sean Wang :

@Frank Chin this property is going to auction in 2 weeks and I know the mortgage balance which shows in foreclosure. com, this should include the tax and penalty. This property locates in an area I want to live so this will be my living property if I can get it sub 2. Just don’t know if I have the luck

The debt listed in the notice of sale would not typically include tax and/or tax penalty amounts unless the lender has been paying them. The lender doesn't typically pay them in California unless the taxes have been delinquent for over 4 years. They would pay them after the foreclosure sale or, after four years delinquency so they don't risk a tax sale in year five. Typically, in California, the amount listed on the notice of sale would include back payments, late fees, foreclosure fees, force placed insurance, property inspections, MI (If applicable), and a few other common incidental costs.

If the sale is within two weeks and you aren't already under contract to buy it, chances are slim to none that you will be buying this at all, let alone subject to. If you don't have the cash to appear at the sale, you won't be buying it then either. In California, you have to have the full auction price in cash or cashier's checks.

 

Several people have mentioned the correct answer to find the owner.  In NJ we look online for the local tax office. 1) Are the taxes current? 2) Click on the current bill and it will give you the name and address of the person paying the tax (typically the owner).  Many time the tax record show the first initials and the last name.  Last step is to use a website like  www.whitepages.com to confirm the owners first names.

We are looking for very specific properties here in Edison, NJ.  Using this technique, we can select a house that looks promising, and mail out a letter to see if there is interest.  We are starting slow to see what works, As we scale, there are services that make this pretty straight forward and will do the letter or postcard for you.

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