Buying Property That Has Building and Safety Problems

One of the best ways we have found to purchase real estate is to buy property that has issues with The Building and Safety Department (BSD). These are properties that BSD has flagged as either unsafe or in need of repairs. The property that is vacant is the best of the best in this category. The most efficient way to locate these properties is to contact the BSD in your local area, drive by the properties, find those that are vacant and research the property. Sometimes the list is online or the BSD may have other procedures to acquire the list. Also, these properties rarely are listed with a real estate agent, so they are less well known, which is always good for the investor.

The key here is to find the owner and see if you can arrive at an agreement with the owner (title holder) to sell the property to you. There are many ways to find the owner. We will review these below:

1. Contact the local property tax office and ask if you can research the address with them. You are looking for the address where the property tax bill is mailed.

2. Visit the neighbors and ask if they have a contact number for the owner. Many neighbors will help you, especially if the property is vacant and in need of repairs, as it is to the benefit of the neighbor to have the property near them (or next to them) in repaired condition.

3. If the property is vacant (and only if it is vacant), walk the property to see if there are any abandoned cars on the property. If there are, write down the license plate number. Then, contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles in your area and ask how to acquire the address of the car owner. If the DMV asks you why you want the information, merely tell them you want to buy the car and it appears abandoned.

4. Create an arrangement with a skip tracing firm to find the owner. I have seen this work in the past, although it could be a more costly option.

5. Send the owner a letter expressing your interest in the property. You might also include pictures and the Building and Safety notice.

6. Attempt to locate the telephone number of the owner. Sometimes a person with same last name is related.

The bottom here is THINK LIKE A DETECTIVE!!!

If you cannot find the owner after you have tried all of the above,
(this may be very hard to do), try again in a few weeks. If you keep at it, you will find owners that hold title to these properties.

When you do find an owner, I suggest you mention to them that you can buy all cash, with a quick close and that you need very few contingencies. All you are seeking is a short time period for inspection, as well as any other approvals you and the owner can agree on that you feel you require to purchase and close on the property.

We are always willing to assist you if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Kind regards,

Ken Sheppard
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