Cashing In on Abandoned Property

By Kiesha Joseph

Abandoned property is a term to describe real estate that isn’t currently under the direct control or care of the legal owner. This may distressed home be because the mortgage is in default, delinquent taxes are owed or the property is unsafe.

The homeowner may have also walked away from the property, abandoning it to foreclosure.

Either way, these properties may produce profits for anyone who wants to purchase them and make the effort it takes to make repairs and improvements. If you would like to invest in an abandoned piece of property, here are five ways to find them around your local area:

1- Canvas Classifieds

There are certain keywords that you can look for when searching for abandoned properties in newspapers and online classified ads. These keywords are clues that the owner is desperate to “dump” the property and has probably already abandoned it:

  • “must sell fast”
  • “take immediate possession”
  • “title has been transferred”
  • “below market value”
  • “under appraised value”

2- Real Estate Associates

Ask family, friends and a real estate agent to keep their ears open for things they may hear about an abandoned property. They may come across information on how you can get in contact with the homeowners. This can make the purchasing process faster because you don’t have to wait around for the foreclosure auction date. Instead, you can purchase the property directly from the current owner. Banks and mortgage companies are often anxious to complete a sale which would stop them from owning another distressed property due to foreclosure.

3-Owner Financing

This term is a great indicator that the property may have been abandoned and needs to be sold immediately. Another term, “owner will carry loan” can also indicate property abandonment because many lenders will not finance distressed property. That’s why the owner is willing to carry the loan on their own or sell it for cash. Other than that, they’d have to face foreclosure, which is what they’re trying to avoid.

4- Legal Records

When driving around, it’s hard to miss a property that’s suffering from abandonment. Many of us have seen them before and know the signs. If you find a property that looks abandoned, you can often verify it through the County Recorder’s public records. These records will also include the owner’s name, legal description of the property and its latest appraised value. You can also find out about any delinquent taxes or liens owed on the property.

5- Search Foreclosures

In the present economy, many properties are abandoned by their owners as a result of economic hard times. Owners often lose jobs or become so depressed over their troubled financial situation that they abandon homes. Searching county foreclosure records or subscribing to a service to research foreclosure listings can give you the advantage on getting a deal on foreclosure homes.

Investing in abandoned properties can be expensive, depending on how long a home has been vacant. This will have a direct effect on its current condition. Remember, you will have to invest in property to rent, lease or flip the home. Be sure you’re prepared to cover the expenses that purchasing the property you’re interested in can produce, including a mortgage.