Working a Code Violation List

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  • Over the past few days, I’ve received a fresh new round of code violation lists from neighboring cities.

    The “red tag” violations are the obvious ones to work, but are there other violations that are good to work as well? It seems reasonable to think that houses with multiple violations or houses with repeated violations might be good candidates.

    If anyone has some tips for these lists, I’d appreciate it.

    HI Bill
    Sorry for the delay in answering your question. I’m doing a Panama Tour.

    when you cross reference the address with the county tax records to determine who the owner is, then do an additional search to see if that owner has multiple properties (in their personal name or an entity). That means the property is most likely a rental unit and the seller will be more motivated to sell AND may have multiple properties to sell at the same time (a package deal).

    The red tags will be the most profitable and could also lead to a landlord with 5,10,20 houses to sell.

    Under the freedom of information act, you can request a copy of the Code Enforcement file on a red tag property. It will have a list of what must be fixed up before they will issue a certificate of occupancy again. When wholesaling, it is a good idea to attached a copy of this file to the contract with your buyer and get them to acknowledge that they know that stuff needs to be done.

    Let us know how it goes

    It sounds like I could narrow down my request to the city’s definition of “red tag” codes if I can identify what those codes are. I’m finding that each city has their own parlance. I may experiment with asking for “red tagged” houses and see what I get back.

    I was going to try to get a dead meter list and the simplest thing I could think of to do was to file a public records request with a local utility company. That went nowhere. They were not willing to share anything not associated with my account, which I do not have. I only tried one, but that seems like an experience likely to repeat.

    Hi Bill,

    my two cents: I’ve had some response with CV lists but have not negotiated the sale yet. Lots of tire kickers and also some irate homeowners wondering how I got there name. Like you, I find that each county/municipality has their own code lingo that takes time to translate.
    In my city, they have codes like “POG” which is “parking on grass” or OV which is open and vacant. OV gets a letter but POG I skip. I received zero assistance from the city trying to interpret their code but eventually staring at it long enough I figured it out. Basically, think like a bureaucrat and you can begin to understand the code.

    If they can send you the information in a XL file, there are ways to manipulate the data within the file to get the “red flag” data separate from the rest. You have to get good with the “sort” function. Other municipalities just send a blanket code violation list, not sorting out which violations are which. I run these through an online data program, filter out the out-of-state nonowner occupied homes from that, then contact them through email or phone. I’m considering taking a step further and hiring a bird dog to go out and take pictures of the homes in the streets they are on in order to get better data. The biggest problem I’ve found so far is that it’s too much information and you end up spending hundreds of dollars in wasted postage. I’m beginning to think cold calling (or even better cold texting) is the cheaper option.

    I’ve had zero luck getting info on dead meters. I even asked my uncle who works for the power company and he had no idea how to get that information.


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