Vacant house owners are often the most motivated sellers of all. Here’s why:
Since they are not living in the house, they are most likely making payments on two houses, paying utilities, taxes and insurance on two houses, and maintaining the yard on two houses.
A vacant house is more susceptible to vandalism to make matters worse.
After a while the owner will not be able to maintain two properties so the utilities will get turned off, mortgage payments will be missed, the yard will not get mowed. and eventually, the taxes and insurance will not get paid.
With tax bills coming out in October, the owner of a vacant house is facing the prospect of paying a big tax bill for a house he/she no longer wants. If taxes are not paid by the end of January, high interest is added to the payment.
So, October through January is an excellent times to market to owners of vacant houses to either buy or maser lease their house.
Here are 8 ways to find vacant houses & motivated sellers:
1) Code Violations: When the yard does not get mowed, or the fence is falling down, or there’s a tree laying on the roof, or vandals have broken in to the house…neighbors will call Code Enforcement to complain about the eye sore in the neighborhood. Code Enforcement will make an attempt to contact the owner to remedy the problem. If it is not corrected quickly, Code Enforcement will fix the problem, and then put a lien against the property.
When a tenant complains that there is a problem with a property, Code Enforcement will give the landlord a little time to fix the problem. If the landlord does not fix it, and Code Enforcement things the problem is a safety hazard, they will condemn the property which means no one can live in it (no rent) until the problem is fixed.
You can GO IN to code Enforcement to get a list of properties with Code Violations. Many of these are vacant houses, especially the houses which have been condemned.
2) Dead meters: After several months of no payment for water, electricity or gas, the utility company will turn off service to the house. These are called Dead Meters. You can go in to the utility company to get a list of properties with Dead Meters.
3) Mailman: Talk to the mail man/woman in various neighborhoods. They know which houses have mail that is piling up or which owners have turned off mail delivery. They also see which houses have tall grass and appear to be vacant. Offer a referral fee for information about vacant houses and they will keep you supplied in leads.
4) Bird Dogs: Go to the part time jobs section of Craigslist to hire someone to drive certain areas to look for vacant houses for you. Tall grass, mail piled up on the porch, broken windows… all signs of vacant houses. They just need to supply the address and a description of what they see. If there is a FSBO sign they can get the phone number for you. Offer to pay them $500 for any houses you buy or a flat fee for each lead they supply or just pay by the day.
5) FSBO sites: Look at the interior pictures of houses advertised on FSBO sites. Look for signs that the house is vacant or mostly vacant. (this would be a great job for your virtual assistant). FSBO sites have a “contact owner” link which will email the owner directly or give you their phone number. Try to call them first. If you get a voice mail, leave a message then send them an email as a follow up. (your virtual assistant can do this too)
6) Landlords: Check craigslist or newspapers for advertisement for properties for rent. If they are advertised, they are probably vacant. Perhaps the landlord would like to sell or there may be an opportunity to master lease. Be sure to ask if they have any other properties. Most landlords own multiple properties. When they are ready to sell one, they are often ready to sell many more. (your virtual assistant can search craigslist and other classified ads for you)
7) Eviction Court: It is filled with tired landlords who WISH their house was vacant.. of the current tenant. These are often the most motivated sellers of all. An offer to buy or master lease their house is welcome.
8) Probate: When an owner dies, heirs are faced with a big task of settling the estate, getting rid of the contents of the house, and selling the house. Many heirs just want the whole problem to go away as fast as possible because they don’t have time to deal with it. You can get the list of probate cases at the county or hire someone to get it for you. Some counties even have this information online. Once you get the list of probate cases, you need to determine if real estate is part of the estate. (another job for your virtual assistant)
Keep in mind that, after a death, not all properties go through probate. You will find many of the other properties from through Code Enforcement, Mail Man, and Bird Dogs.
Once you get this list of vacant houses, you will need to search the county tax records for the owner’s address so you can send a postcard. Your virtual assistant can look up this information for you and keep an excel spread sheet with their information.
Then your assistant can upload the address and your postcard to https://click2mail.com/ for quick and easy delivery of your message.
Vacant house owners are the most motivated house sellers. You will find your return on investment, and number of deals closed, for marketing to vacant house owners is much better than other properties.
Remember, October through January is the ideal time to market to owners of vacant houses because they got a big tax bill and either have to write a big check to pay taxes on a vacant house or get rid of the property. Many decide to sell!
Best of Success… and Freedom,
P.S. You can hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines to do most of this work for you. Or a stay-at-home Mom who lives down the street. Or the teenager next door. Either way, get help, to get it done!
CLICK HERE to listen to this 1 hour conference call about finding and hiring a full time virtual assistant for $200 – $350 per MONTH. Part time assistants are available too!