Vacant houses are some of the best deals. Obviously no one is living there, and someone would probably like to get rid of the house, especially if they’re making payments on it. Bottom line is that the house is costing someone money.
Now, here’s the good and the bad…
The BAD: You have to track down the owner of the vacant house, and sometimes they can be tough to find. It’s takes some detective work to locate them.
The GOOD: MOST people don’t pursue this type of lead because, hey, it takes work to track down the owner. This is a great thing though, because there is virtually ZERO competition on these, and the owners are usually desperate to sell!
Here are some great ways to find the vacant house owners. Sometimes you might have to try multiple methods in order to track down the right people.
1. Tax Records
Check the tax records to see if the vacant house owner filed a new address. If so, send them a postcard or letter asking if they would like to sell their house.
2. Post Card
If there is no new address for the owner, send a postcard to the existing address and write DO NOT FORWARD – ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED on the front of the postcard.
The post office will send the postcard back to you with a sticker on the front with the vacant house owner’s new address.
Why would you want to do this? Once you get the owners new address, you may want to just knock on their door instead of waiting for mail to get delivered.
3. White Pages
Look in the white pages for people with the same last name. Call everyone asking if they know how to reach Mr. or Mrs. _______ . Be careful here. They may think you are a debt collector. So, explain that you are interested in buying their vacant house at such and such address. Sometimes you’ll reach a close relative this way and they can possibly point you in the right direction.
4. Skip Tracer
Hire a skip tracer in your town. Give a local private investigator the name and last address for the owner, and they can usually find them within 24 hours. The cost is $10 – $20 per search.
5. A Note
Leave a note on the front door for the vacant house owner to find. Sometimes the owner will come back to check on mail or get more things out of the house. Leave a bright yellow note taped to the front door that says, “I’m interested in buying your house. Please call me at ###-####.” It works.
6. The Neighbors
My favorite and most effective method for finding the vacant house owners is to talk to the neighbors on either side of the subject property and perhaps the neighbor across the street. Once again, explain that you are interested in buying the vacant house. The neighbors almost always know how to get in touch with the owner. Also, you know the neighbors are going to be thrilled at the idea of someone coming in to take care of the nasty house next door that is bringing down their property value.
Vacant houses are EVERYWHERE. Get into the habit of writing down the addresses of these houses and track down the owner using some of these methods listed above. These are deals that are ripe for the picking. The biggest challenge in turning these houses into money is tracking down the owner. From there, it’s just a matter of making them a low offer, and following up with them until you get the deal. An AWESOME way to get killer deals.