If you’re a real estate investor who’s just getting into the game, you’ve probably read quite a bit about distressed properties and why they’re an attractive option – but how can you find these places? This guide gives you three tips to help you find the best deals.

3 Surefire Ways to Spot Distressed Properties

Other than driving around and looking for “For Sale by Owner” signs, scouring the MLS or visiting distressed property websites (which are all great strategies), there are three other ways to dig for distressed properties:

  1. Search county tax records
  2. Look at local court records
  3. Network with attorneys

Here’s a closer look at each.

Tip #1 for Spotting Distressed Properties: Search County Tax Records

County tax records – property taxes, to be specific – are often publicly available information. Simply visit your county tax assessor’s site. Though you can’t tell if a property is distressed by looking at these records, you may be able to surmise that properties with past-due taxes could be a great deal.

Tip #2 for Spotting Distressed Properties: Look at Local Court Records

Many public records sections on county recorders’ websites list notices issued to homeowners before the foreclosure process. You may be able to flip through these lists and find a home that an owner is willing to part with before it goes into foreclosure.

Tip #3 for Spotting Distressed Properties: Network With Attorneys

Attorneys who focus on real estate foreclosures, family law and probate can be great resources when you’re looking for distressed properties. You may be able to get several inside tracks on properties that are – or that will soon be – available for sale.

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