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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 17 million vacant homes scattered throughout the country.

The majority of these homes have people that own them. But there are also some that have been abandoned by their previous owners for one reason or another.

This could present the perfect real estate-related opportunity for you. If you can afford to buy abandoned property, you might be able to fix it up and sell it for a profit. You might also be able to hang onto an abandoned home after buying the property so that you can live in it.

Either way, you need to know how to buy abandoned property before you actually set out to do it. It’ll make it possible for you to go through the process of buying property in a timely manner.

Check out how to buy an abandoned property below.

Begin by Making Sure That You Want to Buy Abandoned Property

Are you sure that you’re cut out to buy abandoned property? That’s a question that you’re going to have to ask yourself before you do anything else!

Buying property that has been abandoned can be a big responsibility. There might be lots of liens on the home. There also might be a million and one things wrong with it.

If you’re not ready to commit yourself to an abandoned property with all your heart, it’s probably not going to be the best purchase you ever make.

Scan the Classifieds Section in Your Local Newspaper for Soon-to-Be-Abandoned Properties

If your local newspaper still has a classified section, you shouldn’t be shy about scanning through it so that you can see if there are any abandoned properties being sold in your area right now.

You’re probably not going to see any properties being advertised in the paper as “abandoned.” But you might be able to ascertain that a listing is for an abandoned property if it includes some key words like:

  • “Must sell”
  • “Immediate possession”
  • “Below market value”

These are the kinds of properties that you’re going to be most interested in if you want to buy abandoned property. You’ll want to reach out to those who put the ads in the paper so that you can obtain some more information on the properties.

You might also want to work your way through these timeshare resale listings if you feel like you might benefit from investing in a timeshare property. It’s another quick and easy place to look for abandoned properties.

Speak With Local Real Estate Agents About the Abandoned Properties in Your Area

Do you happen to know any of the real estate agents who work in your area right now? If you do, you shouldn’t turn down the chance to rely on their expertise when you want to buy abandoned property.

Most real estate agents aren’t going to spend too much time focused on abandoned properties. But they will often hear about abandoned properties in their areas. They might even get approached by those who own them to help spread the word about the homes they’ve left behind.

If nothing else, it wouldn’t hurt to check in with one or two real estate agents to see what they have to say about the abandoned properties in your area. They might be able to point you in the right direction in an instant.

Drive Around and Look for Abandoned Properties in Your Community

Just because a house might appear as though it’s been abandoned doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been. But even still, you shouldn’t let that stop you from hitting the pavement in an effort to try and uncover abandoned properties in your area on your own.

Spend a couple of days driving and/or walking around in your community looking for abandoned properties that might exist. You might find a few properties that look as though they have obviously been neglected over time.

You can then look into each of these properties further to see what the deal is with them. In some cases, they might still be owned by an individual who has simply failed to maintain their property properly. But in other instances, they might not really have an owner at the moment or they might be owned by a bank that isn’t doing anything with them.

You can get a leg up on other people who like to buy abandoned property by taking this approach to things. You might stumble upon properties that they don’t have any clue about yet.

Call Your County Clerk’s Office for Information About Abandoned Properties

If you have a hunch that a property in your neighborhood has been abandoned, you can find out the truth about it by calling on your county clerk’s office for help. They’re going to have all the info that you could ever want and need on an abandoned property.

The county clerk’s office will be able to tell you:

  • Who owns the property
  • What the property’s current appraised value is
  • If the property has any liens attached to it
  • If the property has presented any tax problems in the past

All of this info is really going to come in handy when you’re thinking about trying to buy abandoned property. It’ll also be hugely helpful as far as getting in contact with whoever owns an abandoned property goes. It’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to give your county clerk’s office a call right now to see how they can assist you.

Call Whoever Owns Abandoned Properties to See If They’re Looking to Sell

As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, most of the abandoned properties that are—theoretically, at least—”on the market” aren’t actually going to be listed for sale. You’re going to need to dig around to try and find out who owns them in the first place.

And even after you’re able to do it, you still might find it to be a struggle to track the owners of abandoned properties down. You might need to use social media and the power of the internet to look for a way to touch base with them.

Once you’re able to do it, though, you can put the wheels in motion with regards to trying to buy abandoned property. You can see if the owner has the legal right to sell the property at this time and then start the negotiation process with them.

Always Try to Get the Best Deals Possible When Buying Abandoning Properties

As you can likely guess, you’re going to be taking on your fair share of risk when you sign up to buy abandoned property. There will always be a chance that you aren’t ever able to make your money back after buying property that has been abandoned.

This is something that you’ll want to have in the back of your mind at all times when you set out to secure abandoned properties. You don’t want to pay a single penny more than you have to for a home that has clearly been left neglected for far too long.

While negotiating for abandoned property, you should prepare to make the lowest offers that you possibly can. You should also get yourself ready to walk away from a deal for an abandoned property if you don’t like what you’re hearing from an owner.

Don’t Buy Abandoned Property and Then Let It Sit for a Lot Longer

When you buy abandoned property, you might be tempted to let it sit for longer than it already has without doing anything with it. You’re going to be making a big mistake if you do this.

If there are any major issues with a piece of abandoned property, they’re going to need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Otherwise, these problems could potentially spiral out of control and cause even bigger issues down the line.

You should, therefore, have a clear plan in place for what you’re going to do right after you buy abandoned property. You should know what you have in store for it so that you can start putting your plan into place as your top priority.

Learning How to Buy Property That Has Been Abandoned Is So Important

If you ever decide to buy abandoned property, you’re going to fall in love with how cheap it is to do it. It’s not uncommon at all for people to buy pieces of property that have been abandoned for just hundreds of dollars.

But that doesn’t mean that you should rush right into buying property that’s been abandoned. If you do this, you might be setting yourself up for failure from the start. You’ll be better off taking all of the steps that we’ve talked about here to ensure success.

Find more practical tips and tricks on buying and selling property by browsing through the articles posted on our blog.