Absentee Owner Lists For Real Estate Investors

Key Takeaways

  • Absentee homeowners represent a significant opportunity for investors to find and acquire new deals — if they know where to look, that is.
  • An absentee owner list identifies homeowners that may be more likely to sell their properties to investors.
  • Knowing how to find absentee owners is a critical skill for investors of every level to master.

Absentee homeowners are so much more than individuals who have chosen not to live in a particular home; they represent an opportunity for savvy investors. After all, absentee owners are one of the single most telling signs of a potentially motivated seller. And what are motivated sellers, if not for an investor’s best friend? It stands to reason that investors who can market to motivated sellers will have an easier time closing deals, and one of the best ways to find motivated sellers is to target absentee owners.

What Is An Absentee Owner?

Aptly named, absentee homeowners are exactly what you’d expect: the owners of properties that neither live in their own assets or actively manage them. For all intents and purposes, absentee owners stay true to their name; they exercise more of a laissez-faire approach to the concept of owning a home.

Absentee owners may be away from their properties for countless reasons. It is entirely possible absentee homeowners don’t see the property as anything other than an opportunity to capitalize on appreciation, and therefore see no reason to actually live on site. Others may simply reside somewhere else, and are unable to live in the house for the simple fact that it’s too far away to actively manage. If we are getting technical, you could even consider landlords to be absentee owners, as they themselves are not living in the house, but I digress. The phrase “absentee owners” is reserved for those that covet a more hands off ownership strategy.

It is worth noting, however, that, not every homeowner has the luxury of removing themselves from a house without it representing some sort of burden. Many of the vacant homes remain empty because the homeowners either can’t occupy them, or don’t want to, and that’s where investors come in.

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Absentee owner lists

Why Are Absentee Owners Valuable To Real Estate Investors?

Absentee homeowners not only represent a specific demographic that is willing to allow their own asset to sit vacant, but also something much more appealing to investors: an opportunity to acquire a deal. While not every vacant home is up for sale, a lot of absentee homeowners are what we in the business refer to as motivated sellers. Due, in large part, to the vacant state of the homes, it’s safe to assume absentee homeowners have “less of an attachment” to the property in question. More specifically, you could argue absentee homeowners have more of a reason to sell than those owners that physically live in the property. Therein lies the real reason investors should pay special consideration to absentee homeowners: they are more motivated to sell than their non-absentee counterparts.

If for nothing else, motivated sellers are an investors favorite demographic. Motivated sellers, after all, are more inclined to not only sell their home, but also to sell it at a price that will facilitate a deal in a timely fashion. At the very least, the absentee position of many homeowners place leverage in the hands of today’s investors.

How To Find Absentee Owners

Absentee owners are a lot more commonplace than most investors realize. It is entirely possible for absentee homeowners to be hiding in your own neighborhood in plane sight. That said, if you hope to capture absentee owner leads, you need to know how to find them and, better yet, what to look for. Familiarize yourself with the following strategies if you want to learn how to find absentee owners in your area:

  • Drive For Dollars: As its name suggests, driving for dollars will have savvy investors get in their car and drive, all the while keeping an eye out for properties with a single telltale sign: neglect. If for nothing else, poorly maintained properties may suggest the property is in the possession of an absentee owner; that, or they simply don’t believe in maintenance. One thing is for certain: you’ll never know until you ask them. That said, there’s a direct correlation between the absence of an owner and poor curb appeal. Homes with tall grass, chipping paint, overgrown shrubs or even smaller signs of neglect could hint at an absentee homeowner. As such, take notes of the homes in your area that could use some TLC and dig a little deeper.

  • Check Rental Listings: As I already alluded to, an absentee owner is simply someone that doesn’t live in a home they own. That’s not to say, however, that nobody is living in the home, but rather that the owner has chosen not to make it their primary residence. Rental properties, for example, may fit a broader description of an absentee owner property, and are therefore assets investors should target. In doing so, browse local rental listings and pay special considerations to how long each posting has been up. Prolonged vacancies in rental properties could be weighing on certain homeowners, making it more likely that they will want to sell. Again, you never know until you ask, but it’s safe to assume prolonged vacancies could motivate some absentee owners to sell, and sell fast.

  • Cross Reference Tax Records: Visit your local town hall and ask to look at tax records. Proceed to match the tax records with the property addresses of respective properties. Every address that is not the same as the property has an absentee owner. The fact that the owner’s primary residence doesn’t match a subject property’s may suggest they have at least two homes, one of which they are not living in. These homeowners may be prime candidates for a direct mail campaign.

  • Buy Absentee Owner Lists: If your budget allows it, try buying a list. There are companies that will compile absentee owner information for you, but it’ll cost you. It is worth noting, however, that you’ll get what you pay for. Cheap lists may have outdated information not worth your while, whereas expensive list could be a great source of absentee leads. Just be sure to do your homework before you actually buy an absentee owner list.

What is an absentee owner, if not for a potentially motivated seller? And while not all absentee owners are guaranteed to be motivated sellers, it’s likely that more absentee owners are willing to part ways with their properties than those living in a primary residence. That makes them valuable leads, no matter how you look at it. Therefore, it could literally pay to know how to find absentee homeowners.
Absentee owner

Absentee Owner Real Estate Summary

Real estate is a numbers game; it always has been and always will be. The more leads an investor has at their disposal, the more likely they will be to land a deal. And while understanding how to find absentee owners can tip the scales in your favor, it’s not the only method for uncovering deals, but rather a compliment to a larger marketing strategy. Therefore, if you want to give yourself the best odds of finding a deal, I recommend exercising every lead generation strategy at your disposal, and finding absentee owners is no exception.

Have you had any luck trying to find or market to absentee homeowners? Better yet, have you had the privilege of buying a deal from an absentee owner? Let us know how the process unfolded for your particular situation in the comments below. Or, perhaps, feel free to share any learning experiences you came across.

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