An investor on our forums recently posed a great question that others out there can learn from. I thought it would be a great idea to share with the rest of you.
“Theres been a property at the end of my street that has been abandon for close to a year+ now. At no point did a for sale sign go up but I haven’t seen anyone living in it at all. The family just kind of picked up and left . . . I guess in short my question would be where do I go to find out more about the house?”
Abandoned properties provide a great source of leads for investors. There are many reasons why someone might abandon a property, but with the right info, savy investors can easily locate the owners of these homes and possibly even get a great deal on them!
One of our members, Wheatie, suggested the following:
You can start with the county recorded for the county where its located. They will have someone down as the owner. May not be correct, address may not be correct, but its a place to start. You can try just sending it a letter with forwarding requested and see if it goes anywhere.
This is great advice! We’ve even made it easy for investors to find their local recorder/assessor’s office online with our free directory of county records’ offices.
Another member, Brandon Schlichter, suggested another path for investors to take:
You can always trace back the history and maybe find a prior owner. Asking neighbors is always a good thing to do (You can get deals from them too!).
Prior owners and neighbors are fantastic resources. I’ve used neighbors to find information on properties in the past and they love to share what they know! Neighbors are a treasure trove of information on any home or other property. I always like to chat with them before making an investment.
A final suggestion that should surely prove to be helpful comes from another member, username REI.
The technical term that some will use is skip tracing. If you search on the term then you will find leads to services or individuals that can do the work for you. Some are rather modest in their costs. Some investors use the net plus pay for a skip tracer as some have access to professional databases that are closed to the public. Some databases are too expensive for a 1 off use.
If you’re willing to pay, then skiptracing services are absolutely worth it. They can simplify and speed up the entire process for you.
All in all, if you try all three of these suggestions and still can’t find the owner of the property, you might be striking out. Maybe a detective would prove to be helpful, but the question that arises is “is it worth it?”.