Last month I told you about the opportunity abandoned property can represent as a new investment strategy. Knowing that these properties exist is only half the battle, especially if you don’t have a clue as to how to go about locating the for sale by owner washington owner. While the owner’s can sometimes be difficult to locate, if you’re willing to put on a detective’s hat, you can usually locate them fairly easily.

Once you have located your target property, take a walk around the yard and look for any clues that may have been left behind by the owner. Many times the yard will become overgrown and you may discover a for-sale sign lying in the yard with a telephone number on it. You might also look in the window next to the front door for legal notices.

Another strategy you can use is to speak with the next-door neighbor. Explain to them that you are a real estate investor that is possibly interested in purchasing the property. Ask if they happen to know how you might be able to go about getting hold of the owner. If you have a business card, give it to them, because this can build credibility for you. They may not know how to reach the owner of the property, but a lot of them know much more than they’re willing to tell you. By leaving your card you give them a means of reaching you at some point in the future if they discover the whereabouts of the owner, or later learn how to reach them.

In addition, if they do know where the owner is, they may not want to tell you for fear of violating a friend’s trust. If they have your card, they have ample opportunity to contact the owner of the abandoned property to let them know that someone is trying to reach them. You may wonder why a neighbor might be secretive about the actual location of the owner. It’s really simple: if the owner has walked away from their property, they know that the bank will eventually be trying to reach them. Furthermore, they may be experiencing other financial difficulties as well. If this is the case, the neighbor may just be trying to protect them from bill collectors or process servers. In any event, by leaving your card you do make it available for the owner to reach you.

If your efforts to reach of the owner through the next-door neighbor or other nearby neighbors don’t yield results, you can always venture a trip to the county courthouse for a manual records search. This can be somewhat time-consuming, but when you’re done, you will have the name of the owner. With this information in hand there are a couple of other strategies you could implement.