How to determine vacant vs abandoned?

5 Replies

I recently purchased a tax deed in Jefferson county and wanted to know how to determine if a property is considered to be vacant or abandoned. Based on what I could see through the windows, there is some furniture in the house but I don't  think the utilities are turned on. I'm assuming it's vacant but it could be a second home.

Also, do I keep the furniture assuming the taxpayer wants to redeem or trash it? Could storage fees be included in redemption as well?

Thanks in advance!

Originally posted by @Tasha Pams :

I recently purchased a tax deed in Jefferson county and wanted to know how to determine if a property is considered to be vacant or abandoned. Based on what I could see through the windows, there is some furniture in the house but I don't  think the utilities are turned on. I'm assuming it's vacant but it could be a second home.

Also, do I keep the furniture assuming the taxpayer wants to redeem or trash it? Could storage fees be included in redemption as well?

Thanks in advance!

 The owner could be in a hospital, or incarcerated or on a trip, caring for a sick relative in a different state or in the military on assignment or any number of things. 

At some point the property could be occupied by a squatter, how would you be able to tell the difference? I'd ask the neighbors if they know what is going on with the property, send a letter to the owners with return receipt requested and hire a skip tracer to locate the owner (if the owner is still alive). I'd check local laws to see if you can even enter before the redemption period is up.

Sometimes you can call the utility company to see if service is active and who is the payee on the account. Many times they will not disclose, but never hurts to try.

check with a local attorney. Here in New Jersey there are laws that Define how a property is determined to be abandoned. Might be similar laws in your state.

As previously mentioned before I would get the services of a skip tracer. I always call the electric company and the water company to let me know if servicers are on. To cover yourself, its probably always best to send a letter to the current occupant letting them know of your intentions.