How to Find Absentee Owners

vacant house

Real estate agents like to keep their pipeline complete with a list of absentee homeowners. These lists also make great leads for an investor, real estate professionals and investment property firms. It can help them identify property owners.

Various groups of owners usually respond differently. The absentee holders often seek help with landlord duties or want to sell one of their investment properties. They look to repair and perfect their property so that the value increases. That is why speaking to absentee owners with the right message is affordable and more effective than direct mail marketing. Sometimes using generic messaging can put people off. Calling to each home can be even more challenging when using a multiple listing service (MLS).

In this article, we are going to cover a range of topics that help find absentee owners. These include:

  • Different types of absentee holders and how to figure out which target absentee owners are good for you
  • Why absentee owner leads from an absentee owner list are good prospects
  • Essential advice on building absentee owner lists and how to make them work for you

Best Practice Finding Absentee Owners

An investor who owns a property but doesn’t live in it is known as an absentee owner. In most cases, they don’t live in it because it is not their primary residence. Rental listings are also known as absentee owner possessors. Contacting these people via direct mail might be the only way you can speak to them.

There are multiple reasons why people become absentee owners. Their property could be a vacation home, rental, inherited property, or even purchased for a loved one. Either way, if the house is vacant, it goes on the vacant properties list.

While creating your absentee owner lists, you must follow particular criteria. Below are the requirements needed from non-owner-occupied properties:

  • Suppose the tax bill of the absentee homeowners is sent to a different address. In most cases, people receive their government letters to their mailing addresses
  • In some states, the government checks tax records for homeowners. However, it only is for their primary residence. A tax assessor might be a problem for someone with multiple properties. Luckily, in most cases, most people only own one property

How to Spot an Absentee Owner

There is a multitude of reasons why people become absentee holders. It is important to remember this when planning a marketing outreach. Remain focused on the objective, and the results are sure to follow.

Understanding the main types of properties an absentee owner can own is critical. It would be best if you looked at the pros and cons of each one. That can help narrow down the absentee owner list to find owners and make messaging prospects more targeted. You have a better chance of connecting with them if the message resonates. There are going to be obvious signs of turning them into leads if they feel connected to you.

Short Term Rentals


Vacation rental companies, cleaning services, handypersons, and marketing services offer short-term rental owners services. Investors and realtors may find long-term rental holders who are motivated to sell for the same reason as the short-term owners.

On the other hand, contractors, investors, and home service companies can help raise the property’s value. By doing upgrades to your property, it can be more attractive to customers and help increase rent. This is especially true with vacation rental homes having low market selling prices.

Pro Insights

Some time ago, when COVID-19 struck, vacation rental properties were fighting hard to get into the local market. Most overstretched their budget, and some inexperienced investors felt the crunch.

A new investor could be surprised to learn that issues relating to affordable housing cause fees and heavy restrictions around short-term rentals. When the world shuts down due to a pandemic, it destroys some families’ ability to earn. Many investors saw this as an investment opportunity but then found it was more of a speculation case. Before speaking about short-term rental vacations, be sure to research permit requirements, local guidelines, and even the latest news that could disturb business. That greatly determines how to structure a deal and market it to the homeowner.

Long Term Rentals


Some long-term rental owners are ready to change how they manage their property. They could contact a property management company to help them do it. The real estate agent could find a motivated seller looking to sell to cash out equity gains. Some tenants are ready to exchange into other opportunities or could be suffering from landlord fatigue. Others might want to consolidate their investment portfolios. Whatever reasons the long-term rental owners want to sell, there might be an opportunity.

Some contractors and home service companies can remove due diligence headaches, raise value priors to sale, or increase rental.

Pro Insights

Some landlords possess years of experience and personally manage their entire portfolio. Cold calling owner-occupants is different from pitching one of these types of individuals. The personalization of your outreach should be professional and in-depth; otherwise, the chance for ample opportunity could be destroyed.

Do your research and learn about owner information before connecting. That has helped many investors get the upper hand during vetting time. The key is to customize financial strategies and find unique opportunities with sophisticated real estate investors. 

Inherited Homes


An attractive segment of absentee ownership is inherited homes. When an owner passes and does leave directions in their will, it can take years to resolve. The legal process tends to be slow, and families often fight over who should get the houses and money. It could all be determined if the original owners have this information in a trust or will.

Furthermore, the family could inherit money and real estate without knowing how to take the next step. In most cases, these absentee owners are not from the area. These people have minimal experience and require multiple companies across the real estate industry to assist.

Pro Insights

Some professionals specialize only in inherited homes. These specialists know that these quality homes have unique and complex scenarios surrounding them. There is money to be made.

Probate issues, family feuds, and title flaws are common problems for interested parties. However, complexity should not shy you away from the deal. If you have the patience and know-how, going after inherited houses could help close more deals.

Vacations Homes


Vacations home are secondary homes occupied by the owner. These properties are unlike short-term rentals and are in the most significant areas around the country. Real estate investors target these homes to hold as vacation rentals. Sites that have a majority of vacation homes are commonly affected first during a price plunge. These people need to rethink the cost of utilities, maintenance, and holding costs associated with the second home. They usually look for a cheaper way to do this, which often results in the house losing more value. This is even more true if the property is hardly used. It is common to plan, strategize, and watch the public records to find the perfect opportunities.

In most cases, a local agent targets these owners knowing that they live in different zip codes. Their contact information is stored and then, they get sent ads for future listings. Most property managers consider it a good audience to cold call. It is also good if the owner lives in another home and needs more cash flow. 

Pro Insights

Any unforeseen circumstance or natural disaster can create a loser and winner for an investor in this category. An example of this is the influx of urban market professionals that became location-independent. Of course, that was due to the pandemic that still affects some parts of the world. At the beginning of the virus, it was predicted that the absentee owner list could double in volume. Real estate investors understood this nuance, and they continued to monitor local markets for unique real estate investing opportunities.

Real estate investing strategies included master leasing/rental listing and turning them into vacations rentals targeting work-from-home parents. A real estate professional can help clients better position their listings to target urban dwellers wanting a new mailing address. That also allows service providers to position themselves to help holders upgrade or reposition. It gives them a chance to take advantage of those same opportunities at the property address.

Why Absentee Holders Make Perfect Prospects for a Real Estate Investor

The absentee owner can be a great potential lead. A real estate investor can make an offer on the absentee owner’s home through direct mail. On the other hand, a property manager may offer to manage the home of an absentee owner. 

There is a multitude of opportunities to generate more business and leverage absentee owners. However, you must be aware that not every absentee owner needs or is ready to sell. Compare multiple listing services and absentee owner properties to determine if there are any opportunities around.


Your plans to find absentee homeowners owners begin today. It’s a long journey that can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. Remember finding absentee possessors can sometimes require you to dig in county records. Procuring property tax records from a specific address can help locate absentee owners and build your list. Be sure not to give up, as the next group of motivated sellers is just around the corner. It’s time to put together a direct mail campaign with all the data you have collected. It is important not to spam the homeowner. Any previous mails to the notice’s address should be put in the investor’s records out of courtesy.

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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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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