abandoned properties and getting into real estate

In Georgia, is there a way to “claim” abandoned properties and how would I go about doing it? When I drive around in the country, I see a lot of properties that look like they haven’t been lived in or used in years, sometimes decades, and if nobody wants them, if they can be fixed up into rough, but liveable condition, legally, can I “claim” one to live in rent/mortgage free, and more to invest in? First, how do I go about finding the owner? Is it possible that some abandoned properties have no owner? If so, who has been paying taxes on the property and why hasn’t it gone to tax sale? Do people really pay taxes on properties that they have’t been to in years and have no intention of returning to or selling, or any interest in them whatsoever? Is it possible for some proerties to “fall through the cracks” and not go to tax sale after the last owner died without a will or disappeared? I’ve been doing some reading, and some sources say that in Georgia, to claim a property through adverse possession, you have to believe that it’s yours because of a surveying error, and there are no “squatters rights.” Is this true, and if not, what is true? If there is no owner, or the owner died without an heir, went missing, or dissapeared for whatever reason, can I claim the properety and how do I go about getting a title? If I have to live there 7 years before I can get a title, how do I prove that it’s mine so I can start paying taxes on it and get the utilities turned on? When I got the electricity turned on in my rental trailor, North Gerogia Electric Membership Corporation had me show a rental agreement as proof of residency. How do I get the electricity turned on without a title or rental agreement? I currently have well water, so I’ve never had to get the water turned on, but if the abandoned property has municipal water, how do I get it turned on? Would I have to drill a well and get an electricity generator and live “off the grid” for 7 years? I’m thinking about possibly investing in abandoned properties in the future, when I become a little bit more financially stable and get out of debt. I’m willing to work hard and do a lot of the remodeling work myself. Is there a way to get a title to an abandoned property in less than 7 years (like within a few months) so I can fix it up and rent it out or sell it? It isn’t legal to rent out a property without a title, is it? Any answers to my questions would be greatly appreciated.

At this point in my life it would be nice to make some money, but my main goal is survival. I’m a young, single woman with no kids, and I live in rural northwest Georgia by myself with just my cat. I’m too difficult to get along with to have roommates. I’ve been going from job to job to job as long as I’ve been old enough to work, and for some reason or another, I either get layed off, or for some reason, the job doesn’t work out. Last year, when I filed my taxes, my income was less than $9,000 for the whole year. I expect it to be a little bit higher this year, but not by much. For the last year, I’ve been paying $95/week in rent, and if I’m ever going to pay the people back that have loaned me money like I promised I would, I need to find a cheaper place to live. Even though I have good credit, since I haven’t been able to keep a job for 6 months in the last 4 years, I can’t get approved for a mortgage. I absolutely refuse to sell out my dignity and dishonor my family by going on public assistance. So that means I have to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to living relatively comfortably and getting out of debt on such a low income. I don’t do drugs, and I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just a misfit in the corporate (and civilized) world.

Does anyone here live in northwest Georgia (Calhoun, Dalton, Chastworth area)? I would like to learn a lot more about real estate, but I need someone to be a mentor. I’m thinking about getting into real estate investing, but first I need to learn A LOT more and make some money. If anyone in northwest Georgia is willing to teach me more about real estate investing, I will work for you, and I will work very hard. I’m interested in buying or “claiming” abandoned properties, foreclosures, and other fixer-uppers, fixing them up, and re-selling or renting them out. Searching for properties, exploring country backroads looking for investment deals, tracking down owners, and doing the remodeling work sounds like the fun part, and the paperwork and financing sounds like more of a neccessity than an enjoyment, but it is something I need to learn about. I think I need to do something that involves more adventure and freedom than being tied down to one company and going to the same place and doing the same thing every day. I’ve been trying, and it’s just not working. I’m very hardworking, extremely independent, intelligent, ingenious, free-thinking, individualistic, opinionated, and strong-willed. I’m absolutely determined to get out of (personal) debt and make it in this world without asking for or taking hand-outs. If anyone wants me to work for them, I can do things like find investment properties and do remodeling work (also, with guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing), I just need some real-life hands-on work experience. :huh

You Can not just move into an abandoned property and live in it! That is called truss passing and can/will land you in jail. In some states there is a clause for paying taxes in your name to get a property but it is so rare and next to impossible to do that you never hear of it.
If you want to find out who owns a property go to the tax assessers office with the address and they will look it up for you. You can then write the owner a letter of interest. I wouldn’t expect to get any property for free!.
What kind of work and money are you willing to put into these properties? for example I know of a house in Alabama that you can buy for $4000. owner financing. Minimum;it needs a new roof, elec update and much clean up. The catch scary neighborhood and cost of repairs. Are you living in rural Georgia because your Family is there? Maybe moving to a place where there is more work could help.

Well, I wasn’t going to just move in without going about it legally, but there are adverse possession laws in every state. What is the extremely rare clause you’re talking about? Adverse possession? That’s my idea, to find creative, while still legal and moral, ways of finding a place to live, and property to invest in, ways that 99.999% of the population has never thought of. And what if I find an owner’s name at the tax assessor’s office, but can’t locate or contact the owner. I read somewhere that there’s a way to sue for title, how does that work? Hypothetically, if a property goes to auction and nobody bids on it, who owns it? The government? The bank? And how do they get rid of it? Is it possible for an owner to die and their property be forgotten about, either by an heir who never claims it in their name, or by the government if they have no will? Is there any way possible for a property to be legally abandoned, with no legal owner? There sure are plenty of them that look like it, but appearnaces can be decieving.

Right now, I CAN’T put any of my money into anything, because I have no spending money. I have less than $300, and that will have to last me until I can find another job, and I have bills to pay, so it’ll be gone in a few days. Hypothetically, if I had money to spend, I guess I’d put in what it was worth, that is, only buy the property if I can sell it for more than it takes to buy it and fix it up, and make a good profit. Is that a good strategy? I’m not talking about scary neighborhoods, I’m talking about the abandoned properties I drive by every day, in rural and semi-rural, fairly safe, mixed-income areas. I don’t have any construction/remodeling work experience, but I’m very good with tools, and from what I’ve observed, a lot of it looks like common sense. Picking up unfamiliar tools and using them is practically instinct for me. Of course, I’d have to work with someone who knows what they’re doing, for the more complicated stuff. That’s what I mean by I need a mentor, I know very little about real estate compared to yall, but we all have to start somewhere, and I know I’m interested in learning more. I know a little bit of the terminology, but I still need most of it explained in layman’s terms, not lawyer language. Also, I need someone to look at properties to give their opinion as to whether they’re worth it or not. That’s why I think I need to work for someone who’s already successful, to learn more and make money by doing work for them on a contract basis, before trying to go about investing on my own.

I moved TO northwest Georgia from the outlying Atlanta suburbs to find work. There are A LOT more job opprotunities in Dalton and Calhoun than Acworth, where I moved from and where my family lives. This time of year, there’s hardly any jobs in Dalton or Calhoun, but supposively, work will pick up in the spring. I think I just don’t fit in working for a company. I’m too independent-thinking, individualistic, strong-willed, and take too much initiative to work for someone else for very long, it intimidates people in charge and threatens their authority. They sense that I’m questioning them even if I don’t say it. Plus I have medical problems and will need minor and reasonable accommodations on just about every job, and instead of bending the rules just a little bit to give me room to accommodate myself without any effort on their part, they just fire me. I’d just have the same problems with jobs wherever I went. I just need to work on my own terms.

So your plan is to just drive around and steal anything that doesn’t have a guard posted on it?

If a property is not yours, it doesn’t belong to you. That applies in every state, and not just in Georgia.

Taking what doesn’t belong to you is stealing. You don’t get to take a house just because you are capable of breaking a window and crawling inside.

If you want a house, do what everybody else does and buy one.

If you are really capable of taking initiative, you will figure out how to hold a job. Or else you will figure out that you need a job where you are expected to think and you will train for that job. If you need a job, grit your teeth and do whatever the job involves.

I don’t think that “no one understands me” counts as a valid excuse to try to steal property that doesn’t belong to you.

I never said I was going to steal anything. I’m not going to break into anything, never have, never will. Either you misinterperted me, or I didn’t word my origional message clearly enough. I was asking whether there’s such thing as properties that belong to NOBODY, and HAVE NO OWNER AT ALL and if they do exist, and I have read that they do, I want to know how one would go through the legal process of obtaining it, WITHOUT BREAKING ANY LAWS. And if they do have an owner, how to go about finding that owner to buy the property legally. And I want to know what the options are if the owner’s name can be found, but no contact information. I never intended to “claim” anything that legally belongs to someone else, I was only asking if it’s possible to “claim” properties that belong to NOBODY and HAVE NO LEGAL OWNER and the tax assessor’s office has NO RECORD AT ALL OF A CURRENT, LIVING OWNER. and if there is NO OWNER is it possible to get a title in less than 7 years, and if not, how do you get the electricity turned on? Again, I’m not talking about stealing, I’m talking about making use of something that nobody else wants.

Again, I apologize for not wording the origional post clearly enough. I’ve been reading about a lot of new stuff that I don’t understand yet, and I’m unfamiliar with the terminology, and I may have used it incorrectly by accident. :embarrassed

Ok you posts are a little long and it’s a little early for me to read something that long…

In CT adverse possession takes 15 yrs. In many states this time period is 10-30 yrs depending on the state. Even then after the time period elapses you still have to go to court and contact every possible heir to the property. If and only if no one shows up to claim it you have the possibility of taking posession. This is a very risky way to aquire properties. Listen, stick to the basics. Buy low, sell high. If adverse possession was a worthwhile way to aquire properties we’d have a forum here to discuss it.

Ps, I found this with a quick google search: http://www.lawchek.net/resources/forms/que/advposs.htm

Looks like it’s 20 yrs in GA.

From what I’ve read on other websites, it’s 7 years for properties with builings on them and 20 years for undeveloped land. I was wondering if there’s a way to get a title sooner if either, there’s no record of an owner, or I make every attemp to locate and contact the owner and still nobody claims the property, or if the legal owner died with no will and no family members close enough for the judge to give the property to (if someone dies with no will, the judge will usually grant their property to their next of kin, out of tradition, even though they don’t legally have to.) I still want to know if it’s possible for a property to have no owner, not even a bank or the government.

It’s not adverse possession, but I once talked to someone who bought, I think it was an acre if I remember right, of land for $700. Undeveloped land in Northwest Georgia normally sells for about $10,000 per acre. The previous owner had no use for it, and owed $700 in taxes on it, so she bought it for $700 so that the last owner could pay off the taxes owed and get rid of it, because to them, it was nothing but a tax burden. So they practially gave it away. She now lives on that land. How do you find deals like that?

So far, I haven’t bought any properties, or attempted to track down any owners, I’m just doing the research beforehand. There are several properties I’ve been kepping an eye on, but all I’ve done so far is driven by, I need more information before I track down owners.

Approxamately how much does it cost to put new copper wire in a trailor or small house after people have stolen it? Would it cost more or less than the trailor would sell for after it’s fixed up? There’s a neighborhood I’m considering renting a house in for really cheap until I get out of debt, and I asked a neighbor if any of the vacant trailors were rentable, and she said that all the copper wire had been stolen. I’ve herard this is very common for abandoned properties.

No, not is not possible for a property to not have any owner at all.

If it doesn’t have a private owner, it has a government owner.

Your basic idea that you can find a property that doesn’t have an owner and just take it for yoursellf is flawed.

If you try to build your plans for the future on an original idea that is not true and is not workable, you are going to fail, and you might very well end up in jail.

If you do not have any money and you are good at finding properties that look like they aren’t wanted, you might be able to generate income for yourself by bird dogging, which means you find a seller who wants to sell really cheap and you put him together with a buyer who wants top buy really chep, and they throw you a couple of dollars to thank you for putting them together.

You will never be able to take any property by adverse possession, because adverse possession only applies in adversarial situations. If the owner doesn’t even know you are there, it is not an adversarial situation. Adverse posession is not easy, there are a lot of conditions that have to be met, and it involves a lot of expense for lawyers.

There are urban myths about obtaining property with adverse possession simply by moving in, and they are just that. They are myths.

Your friend who bought the land for back taxes did just that. She BOUGHT the land from the owner, who happened to be the local government. She didn’t just find it laying on the dside of the road and take it.

If the govenment owns a property that’s been abandoned for years, won’t they sell it for a small fraction of it’s market value? I don’t intend to make any careless decisions without thoroughly researching the legality of it, that’s why I’m asking these questions here, because maybe more experienced people can answer them.

I have thought about getting started by bird-dogging, and it does sound like it’s a valid way to get started if I have no money to invest. What all is involved with bird-dogging, other than driving around looking for properties and writing down the address and reading the foreclosure notices in the newspaper? I know there has to be more involved in it than that, that would be too easy. Who tracks down owners, the bird dog or the investor? Who negotiates deals with owners and asks them if they’re willing to sell, the bird-dog or the investor? Does anyone in the northwest Georgia area need a bird-dog to work for them?

Properties that don’t have heirs automatically go to the local government by escheat. You definitely can to buy direct the gov’t, they may or may not want to sell but worth a try.

Cool link Rich. I took CA real estate law in college and I sware that the book was 4 inchs thick. It is so nice to have every thing on the internet now! :cool