Posted by Bill Gatten on July 24, 2001 at 15:19:09:
In my workshops, when I suggest doing that (putting a for Sale Sign on abandoned property), it’s more for the ringing laughter I get from the audience when I say it (I say something like: “…and a selenium crystal clock couldn’t measure the time span before someone rats on you and the owners calls”). I actually did it once years ago, but it was an accident…I made my deal with a divorced lady and put the sign on the window while I was there, and after the sign went up (while I was doing my due diligence) the ex-husband called and said she had no right to sell his mother’s house (the sign was already removed and in pieces in the trash can by the time I got there).
However, who’s to say it won’t work for you. Though you might also try checking the tax records for forwarding address; sending a registered letter to their last known address with a request for a return receipt and proof of delivery. You might also check with neighbors who might know of relatives who might know where they are. School records are good too if they had children. They won’t give you an address usually, but they may mail a letter for you (and the same is true of recalcitrant neighbors or relatives who may think you’re a bill collector or a process server). Neighbors may also known where they worked, and their former employer may give you the address or phone number, or mail a letter for you.
As far as someone calling on your sign, you can just tell them the property is no longer available, or not available yet, but when circumstances change you will call them.