Driving for Deals from Absentee Owners

how to find house flip deals from absentee owners

The rain was coming down hard as I set off from my office, on a mid-morning mission to find my latest house flip deal. Up here in New England, a mid-August northeast wind makes it feel more like October than summer. I was sopping wet before I even made it to my truck.

Yet our market here has been hot, at least for my house flipping team and I. I still get excited knowing that our next big deal could be just one street or one turn away. There are money making gems in many neighborhoods here in the United States. The challenge of course, is finding them.

Driving for Deals

The windshield wipers on my truck were on the verge of falling off as I pulled into a section of town I felt had good potential. I was "driving for deals" as my team likes to call it, keeping my eyes peeled for any sign of a lucrative property. It's a bit like fishing - sometimes you hit 'em hard and sometimes you go home skunked. Today I was hoping to hit 'em hard.

Off in the distance, through the sheets of rain, stood a home that looked to be abandoned. There was no car in the driveway and the lawn was severely overgrown. If there was someone occupying the home, they certainly were not putting much effort into the property. I stepped on the gas and accelerated to a whopping 15 mph, which was about as fast as I felt comfortable going in this sort of weather-plus I figured the house wasn't going anywhere.

Normally I would coerce my acquisition manager Bill, or my marketing guy John to walk the property in these less-than-ideal conditions. Yet I was on my own, so I decided to suck it up and have a closer look-despite the drenching weather pattern. I hopped out of my truck, closed the driver's side door and stomped my way through the muck and mud towards the house.

From the looks of it there was nobody home, and it did not seem as if there had been anyone home for a long time. There was no sign of any recent landscaping work and the exterior of the home was in desperate need of a paint job. The inside of the house was eerily dark and I could see cobwebs in the windows. If there was someone inside (which I highly doubted) they would be living in a seriously spooky environment.

As I stood there in the rain, I couldn't help but think about the story behind this property. Why was it left vacant, left to rot away in such a promising section of town? Did someone local own this house? If so, where were they?

The questions just kept on coming and I decided right then and there that I had to dig in and find out more.

Absentee Owners

Once back at my office I sat down with John Fossetti, my wholesale specialist and marketing guy. I shared with him my experience in the field and explained to him the situation.

"You know Mike, it could be another absentee owner" said John, with a rather unexcited expression on his face. "We have been finding a lot of these types of situations around town recently."

John had a point. Over the past several weeks a good chunk of our house flip deals have been coming via absentee owners. An absentee owner is an individual who owns a piece of real estate but does not live in it. Absentee owners offer investors like me plenty of opportunity, because their personal situations are all over the place. Often times a very good deal can be created from an absentee owner situation.

More often than not we locate good deals from absentee owners by sitting at our laptops, instead of driving for deals like described above. Don't get me wrong I enjoy getting out in the field and spending some time driving around time, but I'll be the first to admit that it is not the most efficient way of locating deals, especially deals from absentee owners.

Let me explain...

How to Find Deals from Absentee Owners using MLS

Over the past several weeks my team and I have been consistently finding deals from absentee owners by sitting at our computer and implementing 1 simple strategy. Typically I am a believer that you need to "get out there" in order to find lucrative house flip deals. Yet recently I've discovered that this is not always the case.

By utilizing certain software programs, like MLS for example, it is possible to find deals from absentee owners from the comfort of your living room-as opposed to slopping through the wind and the rain. The key of course, is knowing and implementing the right strategy.

This week, on the membership side of House Flipping School, John is going to share with you our strategy for finding deals from absentee owners. This is a strategy that is working well for us, right here and right now. One of our most recent deals came via this strategy just this past week.

If you are a House Flipping School member, simply click on the below image to watch a screen cast tutorial video on how you can implement this strategy yourself, and find deals from absentee owners.

If you are not yet a House Flipping School member, you can still sign up by visiting this page and then view the video by clicking below.

how to find deals from absentee owners

*Please understand that after much thought my team and I have decided to cap 2013 membership at 500 members. More members = more support, and limiting membership to 500 members will help ensure that we have the time needed to create high quality house flipping content, while also maintaining the growth of our own personal house flipping business.

If you've been on the fence about joining House Flipping School, then now is definitely the time to do it.

Looking Forward

I'm not sure if the house I found while driving for deals in the pouring rain will end up making us any money. I still have some research left to do, plus we have various other projects going on right now that are eating up my time. In addition it is summer time here in New England, and I wouldn't mind having at least some time by the pool with the kids.

Yet I'll be sure to keep you posted on how things progress.

As always if you have any questions or would just like to say hello, please feel free to email me via Mike@houseflippingschool.com. I really enjoy hearing from blog readers, whether you are a House Flipping School member or just a casual visitor-so please don't be bashful.

Best of luck this week in your own house flipping business. Keep pushing forward and if you run into trouble, I'm just one quick email away.

Take care and see you at the top!


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Mike LaCava

I'm a full time real estate investor, proud Dad and husband. My team and I are working to restore communities - one house at a time. House Flipping School is my way of sharing this vision with other investors who want to do good for their community, and make money flipping houses.