How to Find the Homeowner of a Potential Deal
“Vacant – Boarded Up Houses” are a great place to find some excellent deals for quick flips. When you sit down and think about it, the owners of such properties care so little about that property that they were willing to just walk away and let it fall in. Someone asking to pay THEM money for it? They should be jumping for joy! There is one big problem, though. Many owners of such properties can be hard to track down.
This problem is getting slightly easier to handle, though. That is thanks to the computers and the internet! It is your turn to play detective and follow each clue to locate the homeowner. Take a look at the “10 step plan to locate” below to see where you should start.
The Ten Step Plan To Finding Homeowners “Bloodhound Style”
1. Place A Flier in the door stating that you buy houses in any condition & stick one of your “I Buy Houses” bandit signs right in the front yard.
2. Ask The Neighbors….Not Just immediate neighbors. I always go Four houses out on each side and across the street. You should be able to get bits and pieces of information from each person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Leave your card and offer money (if you buy the property) for any information that they may “remember” after you leave…Ask & You Shall Receive!
3. Go to Whitepages.com or you could call 411 – You’ll find about half of them right here!
4. Visit your local Tax Assessor’s Office. Check the “Mailing Address” to see where the tax statements are headed. Try to run that person’s name to see if they own other property. Not only will this give you a lead, but it might give you another opportunity at another great deal. Sometimes a new mailing address will be on other properties as well.
5. Run the name through the clerks office and look at all the recorded docs and court indexes for that person. You can often get a good picture of what’s going on, and sometimes even some other addresses or addresses of relatives, etc. This is where your detective skills kick in. You want to scour through and see if you can find anything…divorce filings, new loans, liens, Law Suits. If their salary is being garnished, the employer’s name and address will be their for you. . Many times you’ll see that the individual is in jail or just got out of jail. You can usually find their attorney or a new address off of the arrest info. If they’re in jail, you can call the prison and set up a visit with the inmate.
6. Send out a letter and put “Address Service Requested” on the envelope. Make sure that the address is hand written on the envelope and regular stamp is used (NO BULK RATE)
7. Hire a Skip Tracer. usually use “FINDTHESELLER.COM” because they’re pretty inexpensive and they’re pretty good at finding people with very limited info. It usually takes 24 – 48 hours to get a match but you can be trying the other methods while you’re waiting.
8. If it’s a unique last name, start calling everyone in the phone book within the area. Maybe you’ll find a relative. If the name is something common like, “Johnson” or “Jones”…I wouldn’t even attempt it..:)
9. Voter Registry – You can get updated addresses
10. Place the lead in your file in case another clue arises in the near future (Property goes into foreclosure, neighbors call you, someone calls on the sign, etc)