How to Verify & Find Property Owners when Verifying Applicant Rental History
Do you find interesting investing in Metro Detroit real estate, but don’t know where to start?
Everyone keeps telling you that the key to a successful investment is finding the right property, but you can’t find any good leads. The ones you’ve seen are either too expensive, need too much work, or both—which you don’t have the resources for.
Well, the secret is to find the right property owner. Once you learn how to spot and find these homeowners, you’ll unearth valuable properties to invest in.
Let’s discuss expert tips and tricks below.
When Do You Need to Find the Owner?
You drive through town one day (or you’re Driving for Dollars) and see this ugly building or run-down home that you’re certain is an opportunity for you to flip and rent out. The problem is that you have no idea who owns it, making it difficult to contact them and find out how motivated they are to sell.
This example isn’t the only time you’ll need to find the property owner either. You might need to do so if:
- The current owner wants to sell but doesn’t have the time or resources to list the property. So you have to track them down and approach them directly to discuss any purchase proposal.
- You’re screening tenants and someone gives a fake reference. For example, if they say “John Smith” owned the house but your research showed otherwise. They may be lying to cover a bad reference, requiring you to dig deeper and find the real property owner.
- You need to contact the owner for permission to enter the property for an inspection, or repair project, or to give them a chance to fix problems before you take legal action.
- You want to talk to the owner about a neighbor issue, such as someone parking in your spot, making too much noise, or causing pest infestation due to irresponsible garbage handling.
Whichever the case, you must find the property owner to solve the situation. There are a few different ways to track them down, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Steps to Find Who Owns a Property in the City of Detroit
Unfortunately, the City of Detroit is a bit behind in updating records. Usually, if it’s an owner-occupied property, there’s the owner’s address and taxpayer’s address, where county records can also track who the owner is via the deed. But the City of Detroit tracks it differently.
The owner’s address is where they live, but if it’s a rental, they can put their own address as the taxpayer’s address—not the address of the rental itself. You might also have an LLC that owns the property and the address is the attorney or office, where if you contact an attorney with the solicitation, they may not forward it to the owner. So an LLC is a dead end.
How can you do it, then? Here are the 5 steps you need to follow for a property owner search:
- Look Up the Property on the Detroit City Assessor’s Website: The first step is to find out who owns the property you’re interested in by searching for it on the Detroit City Assessor’s website. All you need is the address or parcel ID number.
- Look Up Their Phone Number: If you’re still struggling to find information and only have the addresses on hand, try to use WhitePages to find their contact information among many other things (e.g., financial records, background checks, property details, lien records, etc.).
- Check If There Are Any Tax Liens Against the Property: Here’s a pro tip we’ve learned. If you have their name, you can check if there are any tax liens against the property on public records, which you can find on Wayne County Treasurer’s website or Tax Lien Records.
- Contact the Owner Directly: Use Michigan Business Lookup, where you can find the LLC and the registered agent’s address for the LLC. If it’s an office building, the contact is probably for their office or lawyer. But if it’s a residential property, the contact is most likely the owner.
- Hire a Real Estate Agent: If you’re still having trouble finding the right homeowner, then you can always hire a real estate agent. They have access to databases that contain detailed information about properties and their owners—most of which you have no access to.
- Reach Out to the Neighborhood Association: Lastly, try reaching out to the neighborhood association. They might have some insight into who owns the property you’re interested in, which cuts down the time and effort you’ll need to put in.
These are just a few tips to help you find the right homeowner in the City of Detroit. With a little effort, you should be able to track down the owner of any property address in the city and start the process of purchasing, investing, and reaping returns.
What You Want to Find in a Homeowner
Now that you know how to find homeowners in the City of Detroit, it’s time to discuss what you should be looking for. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- They Should Be Motivated to Sell: Look for a homeowner who’s motivated to sell, likely because they’re behind on taxes, need to relocate, or are facing foreclosure. You can usually tell if someone is motivated to sell by the way they’re marketing their property.
- They Should Have Realistic Expectations: You want to find a homeowner who has realistic expectations, where they’re not expecting to sell their property for more than it’s worth. If you can find someone like this, then you’re in a good position to negotiate a fair price.
- They Should Be Willing to Negotiate: You want to find a homeowner who is willing to negotiate. Finding that will give you some wiggle room when it comes to price.
Keep these things in mind as you start your search for the perfect Detroit real estate investment. With a little bit of patience and perseverance, you’ll be sure to find an excellent investment opportunity..
What to Do After Finding the Homeowner
Once you’ve found the homeowner, your next step is to start negotiating a deal. Remember, the goal is to find a motivated seller who is willing to sell their property for a discounted price. If you’re not familiar with negotiating and would like additional help, you can always hire a real estate agent.
Real estate agents help you get the best possible price for the property—without you having to do the hard work.
You should also have a loan ready before making an offer on the property. Doing so will show the homeowner that you’re serious about buying their property and that you have the finances to do so in an efficient manner.
Finding Homeowners to Become a Successful Rental Property Investor
Finding homeowners in the City of Detroit can be a challenge, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to invest in real estate here.
The best way to find out who owns a property is by searching the city’s assessment database. Keep in mind that you’ll need more than just an owner’s contact information; you’ll also need to put together a strong offer if you want to stand a chance of getting your deal accepted.
Get in touch with our team of property managers today! We’ve been operating in Metro Detroit for over two decades now, and have every information and insider knowledge you need to succeed.