Would like this to be my first birddog deal but...

I’m in the suburbs outside NYC and I want to finally get into REI as a birddog and I have found property that might be good but I am having issues obtaining some the info on it. I first got wind of this house when there was small article in the paper about it regarding neighbors being upset about its appearance. This home is near me and has been abandoned for about 3 years. It is a cape cod style home in a nice area. Similar homes in that area in good condition go for 450k and up. This house is mess, completely overgrown and there were abandoned cars on the property. The outside looks all original and a bit beat but may only need paint and a roof. Cannot say what the inside looks like but I am sure it is all original and old. I researched it and found out the original owners name. He died about 3 years ago and the home was abandoned since. The county records indicate home was purchased in the early 70’s. Then around 1985 the owner deeded the house to his son at some sort of cost of around $13500. I am not sure exactly in what way that was applied. According to address records I scrounged up on switchboard.com and anywho.com the father and son lived together in the house at least until the father death in 2003. There does not seem to be an other known address for the son. Neigbors kept complaining it was a eyesore so county issued a judgement to them late last year to get the property cleaned up but nobody ever responded it so the county came and cleaned up the property a bit and got rid of the cars. From the news article it my understanding that the owner owed property taxes for the last 3 years and according to a the county has been trying to find a way to take the house but strangely in all this time nothing has been done and no judgements have been put against it other than the one for the cleanup request. Its my guess the the county has been unable to locate the son as well since nobody ever responded to the judgement. I would love to find out if there is a way to get in contact with the owner before the county gets their hands on it. Sounds like it could be steal if a deal can be made with the owner. I would love to pass this place off to an investor and have it be my first bird dog deal. Not sure if the county has taken possession of it yet because nothing has been recorded indicating it. Whats the best way to pursue this from here?

Thanks in advance,

The first thing is to find the owner. Start with the county records. Who is the person responsible to pay the taxes and what address do they have. If the address is the same as the property address, then your job just got harder. What I would do then is ask the neighbors if any of them know where the owner lives and I would also check http://www.zabasearch.com/ frequently they can be found there. Good luck.

I read a bit more into the county records and actually I think I made some mistakes. It appears that both parties which I mentioned may not be father and son but possibly brothers. The agreement that was made in 1985 and says they are to be held as joint tenants with right to survivorship. It appears that the house may have been their parents house as a woman with the same last name is on some earlier deeds going back to late 50’s though one of the sons also was named on the those earlier deeds at that time. The one who died 3 years ago which may have been her other son was supposed to at his convenience purchase the property for the sum of $13k from the son named on the earlier deeds at which time he would become complete owner and be solely responsible for everything including the taxes. Once he made that purchase a Quit Claim deed was to be issued to him by that son. There is no recorded Quit Claim deed listed. This agreement is the last record related to this property up until the violation notice related to the messy property issued last year. So these two parties appear to be co-owners and one is dead and lived in the house until his death 3 years ago and the other may very well have died in the last 20 years which may mean there was may be no known heirs to claim the property. The one that died was in his 80’s and I suspect the other brother was probably around that age so he could very well be dead.

I would check with the probate court and see if anyone filed a probate case. If so, contact the Personal Representative (or Executor) and go from there. Sometimes, the PR is court appointed if nobody has stepped forward on behalf of the deceased. Try to get this before it goes into Auction.

My county offers online records access which is how I got the information on the mortgages and the agreement. The search allows access to all recorded court records as well as land records and no court records show up. I guess its possible that a probate case could have been filed but not yet have been recorded and transferred to the online database. Guess I’ll have to call them.