Absentee owners

11 Replies

Hi BP,

I have found several houses in my target area that are vacant and seem abandoned. I have used my local tax assessor website to get names but most have the actual property as their address. I have used several tracing sites as well as the white pages online to locate them. I am not having success with locating owners. Can anyone recommend another way of locating them? Thanks in advance for any responses.

@Sheri Henning hi Sheri. Is it possible that the absentee owner is in nursing home or otherwise. Maybe check if taxes are paid. Good Luck. Tom

Tom Keith, TAK Enterprises | [email protected] | 903‑452‑8843

@Tom Keith Thank you

First, determine what you're looking for: a vacant house with lots of equity. I say this to eliminate those properties that are over-encumbered.

Your task in finding missing people is called skip tracing. Here's a place that you can find a number of companies offering skip trace services:

PI magazine.

Here are the big six (6) reasons people leave behind a vacant property:

1) "Skipped" on bills or other people

2) Drugs and alcohol

3) Incarceration

4) Severe mental & emotional problems

5) Senility

6) Death

By reverse engineering each vacant property opportunity, talking to neighbors and others in the immediate community, you ought to be able to get a lead on which of the above scenario is most likely.

I still get excited at the prospect of finding and acquiring "orphan" houses.

Don't be surprise when people occasionally offer to gift you a house, typically just about the time you are about to give up. Don't give up!

@Rick H.

Thanks so much. I am enjoying the challenge as well. I know it will feel so great when the work pays off.

also don't limit your search to the home owner. Any previous renters or owner who have lived in the property. Will be a good lead.

Facebook and LinkedIn is becoming more useful for taking down kids off the parents.

And my best source for information credit report header information. Here's how you get that, make a deal with a local private investigator tell them what you are trying to do and you will pay them I finders fee if you can make a deal out of it. Some might say no to your no money request but you only need one to say yes. It doesn't take them 2 minutes to get the information so you're not asking for a lot.

I tracked down one owner with some serious digging. I start at the county and then move to Spokeo. You can usually pick up another name, phone number or email address by this time so start searching those items. Now you can stumble on an old Craigs List add or news story, something to give you another line to search. Just keep using the information that you find to dig deeper including siblings, children, spouses (past or present). Really quite amazing what you can dig up as long as you keep branching off with what you find.

"Will the post office give me the forwarding address of a renter who left my rental property without paying rent?"

Seems like you and I are on the same boat. I have located several vacant properties in my farm and I am looking for the owners as well. An agent friend told me to do this and I looked it up. According to the post, it is do-able. I am going to the post office tomorrow to see if this method actually works. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080719155905AAsbZvZ

Let me know if you come up with a new way.

I hope you guys can get help from this article....

What does each ancillary service mean? Return Service Requested - Undeliverable mail is returned to you with the recipient’s new address or the reason for nondelivery; no charge.

Temp-Return Service Requested - If the recipient files a temporary change of address, the mail is forwarded at no charge. You won’t be notified.

Address Service Requested - In the first year after the recipient moves, the mail is forwarded. You’ll be given their new address and charged an address correction fee. In months 13-18, the mailpiece is returned to you with the recipient’s new address, at no charge. After 18 months, the mail is returned with the reason it couldn’t be delivered, for no charge.

Change Service Requested - You’ll be notified of the recipient’s new address or the reason the item couldn’t be delivered, and charged an address correction fee. The mailpiece is discarded or recycled.

Forwarding Service Requested - If the recipient has a change of address on file, mail will be forwarded for a year. In months 13-18, the mailpiece is returned to you with the recipient’s new address. After 18 months, mail is returned to you with the reason it couldn’t be delivered. All for no charge.

Good Luck :))


Asking the neighbors has helped me at times. You will usually get to find out what happened to the owner and at times one of the neighbors may even have their phone number. 

In one of our door knocking, we found out that the owner was arrested and was in prison. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you