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Home buyers, real estate developers and investors often have difficulty in finding the owners of urban abandoned properties. A lot of times this problem develops because they do not know where to begin and or their frustration gets in the way of thinking logically.

Ownership of abandoned real estate

Purchasing a home almost always ends with the deed being recorded at the court house. Financial institutions want to make sure they get their money back if funds are borrowed. The deed and loan papers (deed of trust) are filed together. In rare cases, the owner who you think is the current one is not. If someone buys a house and does not take a loan out, he or she may forget to record the deed at the circuit court for years.

Map parcel number at treasurer’s office

All municipalities have an administration building. This is where the treasurer’s or assessor’s office is located. Call or visit and give them the address. Within seconds you should know the name. If an owner of the abandoned property bought it decades earlier, they may not have your information. The older the purchase date, the bigger the chance that this can happen.

When computers became prevalent in the court houses, many started from a certain point and did not save old ownership records. It may be listed as an unknown owner. Do not think that you will never find the name of the abandoned property because of this. These departments do not have the time or manpower to research every unknown parcel unless later you show them documentation supporting the current owner’s name.

Research abandoned houses

The assessor will have the map parcel number (mpn), sometimes referred as the gpin. Many parcel numbers can be searched online using our tools and links.  If not, visit the clerk’s office and conduct the search there. Any judgments, loans and tax liens will be tied to the parcel number. They should include the owner’s name and or address. If other names come up under that number, the newest one should be the current owner.
Deceased owners of urban properties

Sometimes the owners are deceased. If they died and left a will, it will be filed in probate at the circuit court. It will have the names of the people the homeowner left their property too. They would now be the current owners. If the owners died intestate (without a will) and heirs exist, the administrator would have filed a list of heirs. They would be the new current owners.

Supplying documentation

Documentation of the ownership of abandoned real estate that you have found must be taken to the assessor’s office. Explain everything to them. They will research the real estate and give you the information you will need to track down the current owner.