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How to Find and Buy Abandoned Property

Written by BatchService 

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Buying off-market properties has become a popular way for investors to lower costs and get ahead of the competition. However, not every off-market property is the same. You have considerations to make about the building or lot type, for sure, but you also need to consider the state of the building and the factors that might motivate the owner to sell. These could include probate sale, foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, absentee owners, and abandoned properties

Abandoned properties are an especially ripe source of leads if you know how to find them. So if you are already searching for one or two off-market categories but you aren’t currently considering abandoned property, you should consider expanding your scope.

What is an Abandoned Property?

Abandoned real estate is unclaimed property typically held in a state database. Its condition is often very similar to unmaintained and unoccupied properties held by absentee owners but usually with a more extended period of neglect. This makes them very lucrative opportunities under the right circumstances, but they are generally riskier investments. Many investors view them as opportunities for demolition and redevelopment, but  renovation is often a less costly and time-intensive investment.

Where Can You Find an Abandoned Property?

There are a few ways to find addresses and information relating to unclaimed and abandoned real estate. In addition to  the property databases maintained by many states, some private sales platforms and auction sites feature abandoned property. The businesses hosting those listings and auctions often advertise them online or through professional channels, so it is worth looking around.

With a property intelligence platform like BatchLeads, you can identify abandoned properties and learn more about them, including their distress factors, mortgage data, the owners’ contact information, and more. You can even use these platforms to find full lists of abandoned lots or other off-market homes in your market based on custom criteria. 

How to Purchase an Abandoned Property

There are a few ways to purchase abandoned property. If there are living property owners with a registered deed, you can reach out directly the way you would for other off-market property. You may also find some abandoned property owners that are probate trusts or other entities that might be open to a sale. In the rare event that a property is unclaimed, there is typically a local or state land bank with a variety of disposition options:

  • Land grants
  • Auctions
  • Sales to developers and investors

To discover more about a particular area’s unclaimed properties, you might want to research the state and county in question.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Vacant Property

There are multiple advantages to buying vacant or abandoned property. Since the owners are not invested in maintaining and developing the land, there’s a good chance you can buy it for a low enough cost to make it worth the investment. You can then wholesale it to other investors, fix and flip it, or use it as a rental property.

There are risks, though. Some properties wind up being damaged in ways that prevent you from pursuing your first investment plan. Since there are often surprises with abandoned property often, you’ll want to have a backup plan to help ensure you can find a path to profit.

Key Takeaways

Like any real estate investment, abandoned property carries significant risks. However, if you investigate your leads carefully and calculate your offer correctly, abandoned property can be among your most cost-effective investments.

While these properties might work a little differently, they still obey the core principles of real estate investing and they work with the same processes you use to manage risk on other investments. As long as you focus on your after-repair value calculations and your estimates for renovation or redevelopment, you can turn these investments into profit. 

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