How to use MLS to find absentee homeowners???

8 Replies

Someone that uses MLS to locate absentee homeowners please show me how to do this! I'll have some free time over the next few days and would like to try to save a little by finding some myself. Thanks in advance.

Besides MLS, I'm also trying to figure out how to sort records from the appraisal district. I'm pretty sure there isnt a downloadable records link..(in Houston,

Not really in MLS, but use the county data. If the mailing address for tax bill is different than the property that is a good lead. An even better one is if address is in another state.

I'd love to find a cheaper way, but we use to get our list of AOs - our county website isn't set up for searches like this. I think the last list we ran cost about $60 for 500 names.

Check with a local Title company - they can provide lists to you. May have fees involved, but saves you the time of doing the searches through the county records.

Allen, I can get to the county data through MLS, but outside of looking up each property itself, is there no way to obtain more records and sort the ones that don't match (addresses)?

Ben and ReMan touched on it. Go to a list company or to Title company.

Before spending time putting together a list make sure your state or county has those records available. For instance, KS does not share certain docs online, the records are "available" just not "public" = go to the courthouse. I tried using listsource but was unable.

Easiest way is find a good list.

What are you planning on doing with the info once you get it? Call? Mail?
Also, what's your strategy?

I'm licensed in MA and the MLS here (MLSPIN) you can search the public records and you can add criteria to the search, including "absentee owner" (Y or N)

Maybe we're lucky here? :-P (and you can't add criteria from the tax assessors databases online, only through the MLS website as far as I know...)

Sorry for the delay. Mat (Chris, see below)-- I've contacted the county and they forwarded me to a company who records all of the pre-foreclosures online for the county & trustees. And yes, it is public info, obviously. I'm a wholesaler with limited marketing funds so I would do it the hard way -- take the info that I receive (homeowner name, address, etc. and do a people search for each one, and call the ones I find a phone number for. I've got a script to follow. I figured I could at least devote some time to talking to people first expressing that I'm interested in buying their house as opposed to direct mail. The good thing is I'm in Houston so we typically have 2,000-4,000 pre-foreclosures a month. BTW, it costs $40 bucks a month...This seems more cost efficient & would provide better leads than a source like Melissa Data or ListSource.

Having given you my idea, what advice do you have, if any? Do you recommend a "people finder" site of any sort, I've just been using white pages. I find it difficult to find peoples phone numbers doing a backwards search by their name or address. I'd say its about 25-40% chance for each name I look up. I'd like to get a few more deals under my belt before committing several thousand in marketing funds...

Chris -- Must be nice! Maybe if you can describe which links you click on to get to that page, maybe I have something similar? I'm not sure why we wouldn't have a feature like this....

At first I was gonna say "Skip the cold calls, just do direct mail" but it actually might be good practice to get used to talking with sellers and qualifying them quickly. Go for it!

As for specific steps to finding absentee owners from the tax records, unless theres some sort of field where you can choose options (absentee owner perhaps?), you'll have to figure a way of comparing the mail address vs the property address and just getting rid of the ones that are the same.
There may be software that can do this for you (might be a feature in Excel for all I know), or you could do it yourself one by one.... Might not be so bad if theres large chunks of same address ones that you can easily see so you can select a bunch to delete at a time, but still... might take some time that way :-P

*edit* Oops! You said pre-foreclosure list? I'm confused, are you looking for an absentee owner list or a preforeclosure list....

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

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.