You drive by an obviously uninhabited house and think it could be a great investment opportunity. So, you turn back, have a second look, and jot down the address to find out more about the property and to do a property owner search. If you see a neighbor outside of their home, don’t waste the opportunity to talk to them. That would be your first source of information and a chance to find out more about the neighborhood.
Most people like to talk and they may be able to give you the owner’s name or tell you some background information about the home leading to why it is now vacant. Or, they may know another neighbor who would know more. You may be as lucky as to find out that one of the neighbors has the owner’s contact information. Now that would be an easy solution to your search for the property owner. Usually, it’s not quite that simple, but neighbors may still share some good information.
Steps of a Property Owner Search
As a property investor, you’ll most likely first want to find out the facts about the property. Of course, figuring out that the property is worth investing in takes some time. The next step, finding the owner of the property, may take more time. It may turn out difficult or complicated for various reasons.
Why Would Anybody Abandon Their Property?
There’s always a reason why a property is abandoned and abandoned properties usually are not the delight of the neighborhood. Common reasons why the property is vacant may range from a foreclosure situation to a difficult divorce or inheritance issues. In all these cases, the contact information of the property owner(s) may be hard to find. Consequently, your property owner search may turn out time-consuming.
The first two cases are difficult in the sense that money has been an issue and/or abandoning the home was the result of a strenuous divorce. These people may not want to be found to avoid bill collectors. In the case of a divorce, the local county courthouse may have the divorce records and might just have the new addresses of the property owner(s). If the property owner(s) had bad issues, they would not want to be connected to that property in any way. Consequently, it won’t be that easy to find them.
What if the property owner recently deceased, but your property owner search still shows them as the owner? The next of kin who inherited the property may live in another state. They may still be struggling with inheritance issues, or haven’t decided what to do with the property, or haven’t simply had time to deal with it yet.
Where to Begin Your Property Owner Search
Your next move would be to get on the Internet. You’d try to find out what information comes up on the property when you type the address in search. Zillow usually comes up and offers quite a bit of information on any property. You can see, among other things, if it’s for sale, what the previous sale price was, property details, and what the neighborhood is like. Another similar website is Trulia. On both, you’ll likely see comps in the neighborhood to assess the value of the investment.
We all know that location is a prime criterion in real estate. Location can give you a good idea about the real numbers and how much the investment would be worth. Also, check out the surrounding areas to see, if there’s new construction being built or if the adjacent areas are run down.
If you’re not familiar with the property market in that area, it’s worth your while to do a little digging. If you see another house for sale in the same neighborhood, you also could check out what the real estate agent is saying about the neighborhood. Furthermore, if you really want to dig, you may want to check, if there are any zoning changes in the horizon for that or adjacent neighborhoods.
The Next Steps to Find Property Owners
Your next good source in your property owner search is the county tax collector’s or assessor’s office. If you don’t find their online portal easily, you can just call them and inquire where to find the information. You’re most likely to find the owner and property tax information online. However, the owner’s address may be listed as the property address. Consequently, you need to hunt for their current address and hope to get the phone number, as well.
You may also try to locate the most current deed or property transfer records for the property. A deed of the property may reveal the current owner and their contact information unless the most recent transaction is still in process. The county recorder’s or registrar’s office would have this information. These government records are county-level records and they may or not be available online. Also, there’ll most likely be a fee whether you search online or go to the office for a copy of the deed.
There are dozens of online public records people search engines, so you may try one or two. You may be lucky and find the contact information of the property owner(s). Bear in mind, though, that the information comes from public records and may not be current. You may be paying for the same contact information you already saw on the tax collector’s website. In addition, more than likely you’ll be enrolled in a recurring subscription.
The Easiest Way to Conduct a Property Owner Search
Whether you’re flipping houses or investing in rental properties, finding the property owner fast and easily is elemental. So, what to do when you can’t find reliable property owner information quickly or at all, but you really are interested in purchasing the property? Instead of spending your valuable time on a futile search, you can turn to a professional. It’s the easiest and, in many cases, the fastest way to get the information you need.
Professional Property Owner Search
The easy solution is to contact a professional and have them find that information for you. Licensed Private Investigators have access to databases with up-to-date information, which the general public or online search engines cannot access. They have tools that are not available to you.
Live Private Investigators know how and where to look. These professionals have years of experience locating hard-to-find people. A Live PI makes your property owner search easy for you. The best part is that you don’t have to spend your valuable time hunting for the property owner contact information.
When using a private investigator, be sure to check that there is a money back guarantee. And that there’s a guarantee for the confidentiality of all searches. You wouldn’t want to waste money on subscriptions, either.
If a standard Property Owner Search doesn’t solve the problem, there should also be a step-up service available. For example, a Property Owner Skip Trace, which is the ultimate tool on PeopleSearchLive to find the property owner(s). The bottom line is, you shouldn’t spend too much time with general online searches if the information isn’t readily available. Other investors may be after the same property.