Posted by learning on February 09, 2006 at 11:34:08:

Thanks for the reply! Well it’s like this I would like to assign a contract for a property in the Frankford area of Philadelphia which I think is a fair deal for a rehabber.

ARV = 49k
SF = 1216
Repairs = (not at all the best at this so I went high) 20k
Asking = 15k


I spoke with a REMAX realtor who informed that the property in that area totally fixed up would bring around 80 - 90k, he will furnish the comps for me tomorrow. I have looked this up again and found the following:

1123 Fillmore $130,000
4743 Penn $90,000
4934 Hawthorne $75,000

Without high comps we have:
$75,000 (above)
4724 Mulberry $73,500
2133 Anchor $62,500

So we’re dealing with a property that can come in btw 70 - 90k ARV…

As a possible first deal I am learning alot and from the post out here that is the only way to get seasoned in this business. I am trying to stick this out and so far got a estimate of repairs from a local remodeler/landscaper advertising in the Inquirer. Funny a couple of you asked me did I look at the look inside the place (not!) and according to some courses (I almost hold as “law”), I factored for the worst with 20k.

The advise given to me was the property is on a 1/2 acre of land and I should spend 4 - 5k knock it down and contact builders in the area who happen to be revitilizing the area about a 1/2 mile away. It is possible that three row homes can be placed there and used as rentals.

I was informed by a neighbor that a women on the same block not to long ago (maybe months, I didn’t pay attention to the house on the block to get the address) sold her house and received a little over 90k

Now with that all said (sorry about the very long post, day has gone like that) can someone…anyone give me some advise on what my look good in this situation creatively without the “Forget about it” factor.

Thanks for any response.


Posted by SD on January 30, 2005 at 11:06:59:


What is the best way to contact owners of vacant/junk property? Should I call them by phone or should I send them a certified letter? Which method works the best? I can easily find an address to mail a letter, but it’s harder to find a phone number.

If the vacant property owner’s mailing address is the same as the vacant property’s address, what do I do? Should I just mail the letter to the vacant address with hopes that they will have their mail forwarded to a current address.

Just a point, I think Property Managers are a very good source of investor/buyers for wholesale flips, because it produces a win-win-win situation for all–the wholsaler, the investor, and the manager.

Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by Elizabeth (NJ)

Posted by Elizabeth (NJ) on January 30, 2005 at 14:21:49:

Hi SD,

I can’t believe how negative some members of our CRE family is about vacant, abandoned properties. These are all I buy and in every instance I have found long-lost owners or next of kin of deceased owners. These properties are my bread & butter.

Under no circumstance should you send a letter to the property address because it will end up in the garbage. Everyone in the neighborhood of that property knows it has long been abandoned. One thing you should keep in mind is that in many instances, owners and/or family members of deceased owners DO NOT WANT TO BE FOUND because they have the misconception that someone will be knocking on their door to pay off all the old tax bills, etc. that have piled up on that property. Your role in this scenario is to be the good guy who is there, not just to pay off ALL the bills that have accumulated on the property, but also to put cash in the owner’s pocket.

Your best resources for locating owners or family members of deceased owners are right in front of you: First, talk to the neighbors & let them know that you want to buy the property and offer a cash incentive to anyone you think can provide the information you need.

Secondly, your telephone will work wonders for you. I have called many people from the phone book with the same last name as the one I’m looking for, asking do you know so and so, because I want to buy the property. You will be amazed at how friendly and open people will be if you’re upfront with them about your intentions.

I will caution you however, that if you’re not prepared to be persistent, diligent, and extremely detailed in every aspect of buying a vacant property, then this is not your kind of deal. This kind of transaction can become quite complex because of the variety of players who may become involved, and the time it might take you to run down all of your information.

Finally, keep copious notes. It is extremely important that you organize all of the information you find including dates & names & addresses/phone #'s of people to whom you have spoken relating to this transaction.

If you know how to run down your information, structure your purchase and eliminate some or all of the liens, you will be amazed at how much you can walk away with at closing.

Good luck.


Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by Alphonse

Posted by Alphonse on January 30, 2005 at 12:18:32:


Have you tried anything! I’ve found success from calling and sending letters. I suggest you try something, because you won’t find out what works best unless you test it for yourself. Also you may be able to find the owner by knocking on neighbors doors and asking what happened to the owners. Hope this helps & make it a great day!

Marketing Coach

Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by strangetanks(philly)

Posted by strangetanks(philly) on January 30, 2005 at 12:17:03:

Your kidding about the best way to contact owners of vacant properties right? I used to bird dog vacant properties and out of every hundred properties you MIGHT be able to find a valid address on 1. I live in philadelphia and there are thousands of vacant run down board ups. Their stories are all unique, if you can establish contact with an owner in any way at all you’re already way ahead. Most of the time all you will find are a series of dead ends.

Before you ask the best way to contact owners, perhaps you should try chasing them for a few months. I can tell youl right off the bat that writing letters is probably a waste of time, especially if your sending them to a property you know to be vacant. The addressed listed on the tax rolls are often wrong as well.

Strange Tanks

Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by james

Posted by james on April 06, 2006 at 15:42:06:


Once you find an owner. How do you structure the deal, rehab process, and closing process?

I like the idea of giving an owner some cash, besides being fair, so it will motivate them to do the deal.
How much money should one give?

Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by vernon

Posted by vernon on February 03, 2005 at 14:24:20:


Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by Elizabeth (NJ)

Posted by Elizabeth (NJ) on January 30, 2005 at 14:30:43:

Hello Strange Tanks

Are you still looking at those vacant properties in Philly? I’d be interested in talking to you about how we can partner on some of those deals. (See my response to SD). So far, I have a 100% success rate on finding owners of abandoned props. Out of the last 5 abandoned properties I bought, I successfully got 4 of the mortgages completely wiped out, altho they had not been paid, and shorted a 5 year old mortgage from $110K to $15K. Let’s talk about what’s going on in Philly. Email me offsite if you’re interested in networking or partnering on some of these deals.


Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by learning

Posted by learning on February 07, 2006 at 01:48:59:

Hey fellow investors love the info, I took some advise from this forum and others and used the phone book. I was successful and found called the brother of a junker owner who had passed away, the brother gave me info on a son and the son later gave me a call. Not all work like that but “Hey I’ll take it”. That leads me to this question to strange and Elizabeth I do my due diligence and drive for dollars and have come across several junkers if possible can I wholesale (when I have them under contract) some deals with you both? Thanks for any advise.


Posted by C on January 31, 2005 at 19:40:30:

Hi Elizabeth,

I’ve found a couple vacant houses in my neck of the woods in California. I’m unsure of how to proceed. I’ve found the original owners(I think) but haven’t done anything else with that information. Should I send them a letter? Call them?

Drive to their house if they’re close by?



Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by Elizabeth (NJ)

Posted by Elizabeth (NJ) on February 07, 2006 at 12:00:30:

I’m open to deals of every kind. What state & area are we talking about for these wholesales?

Re: VACANT/JUNK OWNERS - Posted by Elizabeth (NJ)

Posted by Elizabeth (NJ) on February 01, 2005 at 09:42:06:

Hi C,

I think the first thing you will want to do is go to your local county or city tax collector’s office & learn how much is owed in back taxes. I would also determine from the neighbors how long the property has been abandoned. Before you can determine if this is a good deal for you, even before running a lien search (not a title search yet), determine the FMV of this property in pristine condition. If your numbers look good, make contact & go for it.

Good luck.