There are lots of properties with residential building code violations. It’s your duty to be aware of such properties and take necessary precautions.
If you are looking for properties to fix up, finding the owners of properties that have current building code violations can be a great source of leads for motivated sellers. Find the city or county office in your area that handles residential building code violations. You should be able to see a current list of properties in your area that have violations.
What better way to find a motivated seller than by looking for owners who have buildings that need work? Since they will have already been issued a notice of their violation, the owner will know that they are going to have to come up with the money to fix the property or they will be cited. This gives the seller a great amount of motivation to get rid of their “problem property”.
How to do it
Again, you can write a letter to these sellers, expressing interest in buying their property. If they are truly motivated, they will most likely call you back to see what you can offer them. This type of seller will usually be flexible because they realize that trying to sell a building that needs work to avoid being cited is going to be difficult.
Many times the issues the landlord is being cited for are minor and can be rectified with very little money, time and effort. I once bought a property from a seller who was overwhelmed with the fact that he had 28 code violations on his property. The sheer number of violations was apparently what motivated this landlord to sell to me. Of the 28 violations, 18 of them were fixed for less than $20 total. (Cracked or missing electric outlet plates, and smoke detector batteries.) Other remaining violations were also minor and cost less than $500 total to repair.
The city had given the seller 30 days to comply and pass an inspection. Before signing the deal, I called the city and explained that I might be purchasing the property. I asked the code enforcement officer what I needed to do in order to get the deadline for inspection lengthened. And, I knew I wanted at least another 30 days. The city inspector told me to “just call when the work is done.”
The property passed the inspection two weeks later. I was able to sign a deal with no payments for two months, a good positive cash flow, in addition to the security deposits coming to me when I signed with the seller. I made approximately $20,000 all because I sent a letter to a landlord who had outstanding property violations. I did later purchase one other property from this same landlord because he remembered our first transaction when the city came calling for him again.