Best Practice Finding Vacant Properties – How to Easily Find the Perfect Place

distress men

Driving for dollars is the best way to make money from vacant land. It is a simple way to go through neighborhoods to find vacant properties. This is the least competitive, lowest-risk, and most profitable real estate opportunity there is. 

Sometimes a vacant lot can fall under a distressed property or seller, opening opportunities for investors. These categories involve a vacant property in bad condition due to a natural disaster, or the owner is willing to sell for less profit. By being aware of this information, you can leverage it when finding vacant houses in your neighborhood.

Although it can be pretty lucrative, it can be difficult to find vacant house owners. Once you have seen more deals to invest in, you need to contact the property owner for negotiations. Many investors aren’t willing to purchase vacant infrastructure due to finding vacant homeowners in their county. What does this mean for you? A good chance for more properties, of course! There are multiple free ways to locate a property in cities around the country, but more about that later.

What Is a Vacant Property?

Well, to start, vacant means that no one is living inside of the building. However, not all vacant properties in your city are the same. Let’s learn about some reasons why someone’s own property might be empty.

Why a Building Might be Vacant

It could be that the house was foreclosed by the bank and is now unoccupied. In such cases, it is essential to contact the bank for any information regarding the home and neighborhood.

There could also be damage to a vacant building by natural disasters, electrical fires, or other environmental factors. In most cases, the repair cost was too high for the property owner, and even years later, the home could still be in chaos.

It could be in previous use, but the landlord currently has no tenants. Lastly, the building could be vacant due to the death of the owner. If you are looking to purchase a home like this, it’s essential to determine its situation. You don’t want to offend any family members or neighbors that are connected to the property.

Now you can see that various factors come into play when determining where vacant owners are located. Some properties do end up having a better outcome with real estate agents, so speaking to local agents in your neighborhood or city might be a good idea.

An example of this is a home with significant water damage. The person’s property costs a lot to renovate compared to one that has been on the rental marketing too long. When looking for missing property owners, you need to find out as much as possible. That can help you to build a strategy when approaching the individual and neighbors. Remember, you need to be cautious as you don’t want to offend or spam the owner, as it could blow your chances of getting the property from the Realtor.

Who Owns Vacant Houses?

Knowing as many details about the owner and house can provide comprehensive knowledge, so zoning in on the marketing phase is easy. It’s time to talk about some common types of owners and what sign to look out to know a building is vacant.

Landlords are some of the most common owners of vacant buildings. In some cases, when a vacant landowner dies, they pass down the property to a relative. This person could be a family member or friend. 

Most landowners own multiple properties and could be one of the neighbors or live in another location entirely. They can sometimes be challenging to contact if they don’t track their properties correctly, have a signed out, or live at another address.

Other Reasons Homes Are Vacant

Suppose the mortgage lender has enforced foreclosure on a property, that means it is now in the bank’s account. In this instance, it’s good to contact the bank to find out the terms surrounding the home.

When an owner has been incarcerated or spending time in jail, it could be another reason an address is vacant. 

Lastly, individuals might be in a retirement community, and these people can be challenging to deal with. Essentially it all depends on their current life situation, so please tread lightly.

It is critical to show compassion and understanding when marketing to these people. Now we can discuss some motivational reasons to buy a vacant address.

The Main Advantage of Marketing to a Vacant Property Owner

There are expectational opportunities for wholesalers irrelevant of where the vacant property is located.

The key benefit of finding vacant homes is that the owners often want to get rid of the house. Although this is not true for all cases, it does remain optimistic for would-be buyers.

It’s good to note the more motivated a seller is, the less interest you can pay on the address. There have been tons of cases where vacant land can be purchased well below market value. Another excellent reason for buyers to look for vacant properties is that there is less competition. Even if it means fewer profits, most real estate wholesalers want simple planning. However, with resources and time at your disposal, you can profit with vacant homes.

Why Are Owners of Vacant Land Motivated to Sell?

There are a host of compelling reasons why vacant homeowners want to get rid of their vacant property. Some of these can be personal or public (problems with neighbors), causing distress to the owner. Here are some of the reasons that revolve around why a house sits empty:

  • Code violations
  • Potential for arson
  • Vacant house insurance is non-existent
  • Rodent and bug infestations 
  • The owner is behind on property taxes
  • Squatters and vandalism
  • No maintenance
  • Theft of items such as A/C and copper pipes. 

Don’t let that scare you away from purchasing a tremendous potential vacant address. That is why fewer people are looking for these properties in neighborhoods around different cities.

Keep in mind that whether the property has been left abandoned for years, months, or days, everyone has a time limit in the real estate numbers game.

To find success, you need to find enough vacant owner addresses to fill your pipeline. These people need to be at the right point in their ownership to sell their properties. Now that you know who a vacant property owner is and what makes them motivated sellers, it’s time to start on the next section.

How to Find a List of Vacant Houses

Most vacant properties do not have a sign that says, “I am vacant.” If you didn’t know, there are many vacant house data feeds outs there. Deciding which one to use can be challenging and a little confusing.

Typically, most vacant leads are sourced from data from city information and the post office. It’s a good idea to check out these lists if you are considering purchasing an unoccupied property. Sometimes list providers supply details but without phone numbers or email addresses. That is a pain and means that you then need to pay for skip tracing to search for that information. This is money and time that you could use to search for more homes. 

There is software that can help you through the entire search process and streamline your marketing efforts. Some options online offer great support and include intelligently-tailored, integrated wholesaling software. These systems come with an unoccupied property lead list that is already skip traced.

Most real estate investors could struggle to market effectively to property owners. This is because all property owners face the same problem, they want to sell the home that they have. However, complications arise as not all owners are the same and can be under different kinds of pressure, which could create various outcomes.

That is why it is imperative to handle any marketing talk with the utmost care. You need to be aware of each specific unique psychological pain points that each individual suffers. It helps show vacant owners compassion when dealing with emotional cases.

One of the pain points is that they don’t have money to maintain the house. Due to this, it could have significant rodent infections or even extended water damage. They could be worried about foreclosure, or the home could be foreclosed already. Whatever problems the owner is facing, some potential outcomes depend on the condition of the property.

  • Fines or assessed late fees for non-property tax payment
  • The local government may have put a lien on the property
  • Utility companies may have shut off electricity, water, and other services
  • If copper pipes were stolen, there could be frozen pipes or water leaks depending on the season
  • Their credit rating is about to take a big hit

Whatever their motivating factors are, they can be used to get the attention of sellers. Be sure to inform them that you can solve their particular issues at the address.

Every phone call, email, or conversation should strike a note at the heart of their situation. Be assertive in the fact that you are the solution to their problems. Now that you know most of the critical motivational factors when marketing, it’s time to start finding homes in your county.


Finding a future vacant home can be an arduous and time-consuming task. That’s why it is vital to do your research thoroughly before approaching potential prospects in a community. Take your time and view resources about the vacant home market before delving into it. 

There is plenty of profit to be made if you are patient, persistent, and motivated. Finding these sellers won’t be easy, but it is simple to market with REI software once you obtain a quality list.

C.L. Butler

C.L. Butler

I wholesale and flip in my home market of Indianapolis. I've developed some great relationships with people all over the world that I wouldn't normally be exposed to if it wasn't for the power of real estate.

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About Me

I’m a real estate investor with a passion for technology. by leveraging technology and services you can reach your financial and business goals quickly and efficiently 

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