How to Make Winning Investments with an Absentee Owner List

Gavin Finch
Written by Gavin Finch 

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When it comes to generating real estate leads for your business, you have several options. There are motivated sellers who are in financial distress and need some kind of help. There are distressed properties that are far from market-ready that will sell for a low price, and there are people who are liquidating their portfolios or downsizing. But one of the most promising opportunities in real estate investing is often overlooked: absentee owner leads. 

Unlike motivated sellers, these owners are often willing to offload a property at the right price simply because they aren’t near it or they’re not using it. In many cases, the properties that fall into this category don’t have any serious damage; they just don’t have anyone living in them. However, the owner is still required to pay taxes, maintain the yard, and keep up with the property, so it can quickly become a financial burden.

As a result, absentee owner lists are a great place to start if you’re looking to wholesale real estate or add another property to your portfolio. This guide will walk you through the process and show you what to look for.

What is an absentee owner?

An absentee owner is someone who owns a property that they don’t live at or actively manage. The term typically describes owners who live far enough away that they can’t actively tend to a property, but it can also refer to a local investor or a hands-off landlord who has hired a third-party company to manage their investments.

One specific type of absentee-owned property is vacant homes. These properties have been unoccupied for at least 30 days. If you encounter a vacant home, it probably won’t be owned by an absentee landlord. Instead, the owner may have recently inherited it or been forced to move. As a result, the owners of vacant homes are usually motivated to sell and may consider offers below-market value.

What motivates absentee owners to sell?

Even if the absentee owner you contact is a landlord who’s offloaded property management to a third-party company, don’t give up. There are several factors that could motivate them to sell. In fact, they may be actively considering selling, and you may catch them before they get a chance to talk to a real estate agent. 

Absentee owners sell for many reasons, including:

  • They own a vacation or short-term rental property that’s no longer profitable or the surrounding area is on the decline
  • They’re shifting their portfolio to another area or type of real estate
  • They’re liquidating their portfolio
  • They’re offloading a burdensome property
  • They inherited a house they can’t afford to maintain
  • They recently moved without before selling and need to sell quickly

Each of these reasons will affect how the process goes, but one factor is constant across each: you can usually buy these properties at or below market value, making them great investments no matter what kind of real estate investing you’re involved in.

How to find absentee owners

The best way to build an absentee owner list is to use real estate lead generation software. Without a lead generation platform, accessing the data you need to identify these owners and their properties is very difficult. But with the right real estate investing app, you can find these properties in your search area with the click of a button.

The absentee owner quick filter quickly creates a list of all the absentee-owned properties in your search area.

With the absentee owner quick filter, you can quickly find all of the absentee-owned properties in your search area.

Evaluating absentee owner leads

If you’re interested in investing in these homes, you need to know how to evaluate their investment potential before you make an offer. One of the most important factors to a good real estate investment is after repair value. The ARV of a home determines how much money you can sell or rent it for after you’ve fixed it up. 

You should also consider the area where the house is located. If you notice businesses closing and a lot of people moving, then you should learn more about the community before buying. The absentee homeowner may be selling because the area is on the decline. 

In general, look out for signs that indicate whether or not buying a property is a good idea. If you notice that a savvy investor is offloading properties in the area at a low price, think carefully before you buy one. Something may be wrong. However, if you find an opportunity in a growing neighborhood with potential, add it to your portfolio. As with any aspect of real estate investing, the house itself is only part of the investment. 

Key takeaways

Building an absentee owner list can be a great way to find houses worth investing in. Usually, you can buy absentee-owned property at a great price, and unlike distressed property, they don’t always come with significant damage. 

Of course, you’ll need special tools to find these properties. Real estate lead generation software is one of the only ways to quickly identify owners and find out how to reach them. We also recommend using a reliable skip tracing provider so you can find accurate contact information and start calling property owners.

However you choose to find and market to these homeowners, just remember to do your due diligence before you buy from an absentee owner. As long as you take your time and do your research, an absentee owner list can be the perfect strategy for growing your real estate business. 


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