Larry Goins

Buying Properties From Out-of-State Owners
by Larry Goins

Investing with Out Of State Owners

Buying properties from out-of-state owners is what I consider to be the most overlooked method for getting great deals. Why? Because many top investors are NOT pursuing this method.

Here’s the situation: Those who aren’t pursuing out-of-state owners often tell me, “Yeah, I need to be doing that.” And the ones who are already doing it absolutely LOVE it!

The worst comment that I’ve heard about this method was as follows … “I tried mailing to out-of-town owners. I got a deal from it, but it seemed like the sellers I talked to were getting a letter about once a month from another investor or Realtor. So the competition was a little stiff.”

I disagree with the concern about stiff competition. Compare that to the pre-foreclosure list where sellers are getting 10-30 letters a DAY. Truth is, sending an effective letter to out-of-state owners works wonders.

Out Of State Owners vs Absentee Owners

Notice that I’m referencing Out-of-State Owners, not just Absentee Owners. An absentee owner could live down the street or across town. So their level of motivation is likely to be lower. They can more easily rent, sell, or take care of the property. An out-of-state owner, on the other hand, is usually too far away to deal with the property.

Out-of-State Owners typically have one or more of these problems:

  • The house is vacant, so they’re worried about vandalism.
  • The house is vacant, so they’re paying for a house that they’re not using. And on top of that, they’re probably paying for their new house, so they have two house payments.
  • If they have it on the market, they’re probably frustrated that most potential buyers are too picky. And they’re not there to make the house look nice for showing.
  • They have a non-paying tenant in the property.
  • The property needs repairs, but they’re not in town to oversee the renovation.
  • They have a property manager who is not taking care of the house. After all, the manager knows that this owner is out-of-state and can’t see the day-to-day property management problems.

How To Find Out-of-State Owners

Investing with Out Of State Owners Lists

There are several ways to find vacant property owners and get a list of out-of-state owners, ranging from free to costing $400 or more. You decide how much you want to pay. But the more you pay, the better the list gets. Here’s what I mean…

County Appraisal District

For free, you can go to your county appraisal district’s website and pull up property records one at a time to see if the owner lives out of state. Free? Yes. Unbelievably time consuming? Big yes. I don’t advise doing this. There are better things you can do with your time.

A better way is to request an electronic spreadsheet of the data from the appraisal district. Just call them up and say that you need a listing of single family houses. And you need the list to include owner names, mailing addresses, and property addresses. Almost all counties require that you write a letter requesting the file, and then they’ll mail (or email) it you. And they WILL charge you for it. I called several counties and got prices ranging from $20 to $400.

Once you get the file that contains the list, sort by the mailing address state field. You can delete those that are in the state where you’re looking to buy. And you’re left with out-of-state owners. But you’re not done yet…

There’s a VERY good chance that 20% to 30% of the mailing addresses are no good. Appraisal districts just aren’t good at keeping that info up-to-date. So, if you want to get the current address for those people, you’ll need to “clean your list.” You can do this by paying a “list cleaning” company $250 to $450 per thousand names. It can be pricey, but I highly recommend it.

List Brokers

Another good way to get this information is to call a list broker. These companies can get information from many different sources, compile it, cross-reference it, etc., and come up with a list of out-of-state homeowners. Ok, so some of them can. I recently called fourteen different list brokers and only two of them had a list. You can expect to pay about $250 for a list of 1,000 out-of-state owners.

In summary, pursuing out-of-state owners requires a little bit of time and money up-front, which ends up being a great thing! After all, that’s what scares most other investors away, leaving you with little or no competition for some of the best deals in your market. Don’t delay. Start generating your list of out-of-state owners today. And profit tomorrow!




Larry Goins
Larry H. Goins is not only licensed as a mortgage lender and mortgage broker in North Carolina and South Carolina, he is also licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina as a Real Estate Broker and General Contractor. He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Mortgage Professionals and a member of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals.

Over the past few years, Larry has served as President (2003 & 2004) of the Metrolina Real Estate Investors Association in Charlotte NC, a not-for-profit organization that has over 350 members and is the local chapter of the National Real Estate Investors Association.

In addition to conducting his own sold out 3 day Dream Big & Wakeup Wealthy Boot Camps several times a year, he is also an active real estate investor and speaks at various Real Estate Investment Associations about investing and finance.

Between speaking engagements and mentoring other investors, he oversees the daily operations of Investors Rehab, Inc., of which he is a co-founder and officer. Investors Rehab, Inc. is a real estate investment company that buys and wholesales 10-15 houses per month to other investors at 70% of ARV.

Larry Goins is also the Owner and a Managing Member of Financial Help Services, Inc., a Mortgage Broker and Lender specializing in Investor Loans. Financial Help Services, Inc. offers traditional and hard money loans to investors.


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