Im currently researching ownership on the properties that I've found while D4D.
My question is how would I begin to locate owners of vacant properties where county records show the owner's mailing address to be the same as the vacant property?
Have you tried skip tracing them? You can go to a website such as Skipgenie or ReiSkip and pay somewhere around $1.50 to look up phone numbers, emails, addresses or family members of the owner of the property. I recommend cold calling the property and trying to find out more information. If you cant reach them by phone, send them a hand written letter that tells them you are looking for properties in their area and if they are interested in selling please give you a call or shoot you an email. I usually throw in a "have a blessed day" or a "thank you :)" at the end of the letter. It shows more authenticity. Most likely if you send the mail to the home's address it will be routed regardless.
@Jonathan McKinley , @Sean Krause gave good info. Vacant houses are great leads, especially truly distressed vacant houses, but the owners of the properties can be hard to reach sometimes. But the effort you put into finding them is worth it. My general rule of thumb is the harder they are to find, the more I like the lead.
When you skip trace the owners, pay attention to all of the information you get back. You'll find some of the owners are deceased, or maybe very elderly. In these cases you'll want to contact their relatives which are generally not too difficult to find with a good skip trace service.
Other things to pay attention to are address history (living out of state?) and financial distress indicators (bankruptcies, liens, judgments). This info can help you prioritize leads when you have a lot of them or at a minimum give you good information on each seller and how motivated they may be.
I also agree with Sean that calling is the best way to contact the owner is calling them. I say this for two reasons:
1. If you mail the owner, you never really know if they get your letter.
2. They may get your letter, want to sale, buy not call you because they think they can't sale the property for some reason or in some cases may not even think they own it anymore. If you call enough vacant properties, it's not a matter of if, but when you encounter this.
Also, don't hesitate to text the owners or their relatives if they won't answer or won't call you back. Even if you're not sure if you have the right number. This will make a difference in whether or not you get some deals.
I'm not opposed to mailing, I just wouldn't rely on it.
Vacants are great leads......GOOD LUCK!
@Jonathan McKinley I recently learned of DealMachine App, never used it. Apparently it can look up the owners in real time while your at the house. Not sure how well it works, but there is an idea. I think they offer free trials.
@Larry Higgins yup! I’m calling all relatives & messaging them all on Facebook before I even think about sending a letter lol
Skip trace names off of county records, or get out of the car and ask 3 neighbors per property
One great resource I've been using is www.truepeoplesearch.com. Completely free search by name, reverse phone and reverse address. Each person record has known aliases, address history, and known relatives. I've found the accuracy to be very good for not paying a dime. When I find that site says an owner is elderly or deceased, then I google the name in quotes plus "obituary" and my city. Legacy.com often has online obituaries with next of kin listed, which I then plug back into truepeolplesearch. And I try and verify any of those addresses with property tax records.