Fortune has dealt me another fine REO listing, this one located comfortably enough just about 3 blocks from where I live – hey, what’s happening to the neighborhood?!  So I cruise on down there – could have walked, but brought the car in case I needed to make a fast get-away (you never know…!).  Very nicely maintained house and landscaping, so nicely maintained it seems more than likely that it is (former) owner occupied.

Since it’s the middle of the day, I hadn’t really expected to find anyone home, and nobody was.  I took a bunch of photographs, and knocked on a couple neighbors’ doors – nobody else home, either.  I left my nice REO Agent note on the door, saying I’d been by to do an occupancy check and to contact me immediately.

The hours ticked by, and no phone calls.  That evening, just around dusk, I had to go to the store for some milk, and I drove by the subject property – even though it was past the time that most people get back from work, the note was still there on the door.  By the middle of the next morning – note still on the door as I drove by on my way to grab BPO pictures and do some routine property checks.  However by late afternoon when I came back – the note was gone, and there was a car in the driveway – bonanza!

Screech go the tires, I park a couple houses down and walk up to the door – ring the bell.  Wait. No response.  Knock.  Wait.  No response.  Knock again – nothing.  I leave a business card, hop back in my car, and drive away – hmm, are they playing ostrich, what?  But a couple hours later, just after dusk, I happen to drive by again – and the car is there, but no lights are on.  Very mysterious!

Quickly determining who occupies a foreclosed property is the first and a very important task when getting an REO assignment.  Often times, it can be surprisingly difficult to determine this.  Many neighbors today literally have no idea who is living next door to them – they can usually tell you if a neighboring house is vacant or not, but who the actual resident is – pfft, a lot of folks have no clue.  And if the occupant doesn’t call you, and you can’t find him at home – what to do?

I have a lot of good luck using – it has a handy reverse-lookup function, you can type in the property address and do a reverse-lookup.  Probably about 40% of the time, it will come up with both a name and a phone number.  Also using, you can enter in the former mortgagor’s name, and the city and state, and you may find a match that way – either at the subject property address, or at some other address in the vicinity.  One of my favorites too is using – you can type in the former mortgagor’s name and it will do a “deep web” search – searches and that’s usually where the best matches come from, but sometimes you can find other ways of possibly contacting the former mortgagor – e-mail, facebook, their place of business, etc.

A lot of links from will take you to paid searches – PeopleFinders.clom,,, etc.  I have not had a great deal of luck with these paid services.  What I am usually looking for is a phone number, and I have found typically, if the phone number does not appear in, it’s not going to appear on any of these paid reports, either.

Then of course, there’s a good old-fashioned Google Search. When you are search via Google, remember to put the occupants’ full name together in quotation marks for most accurate search results.  So for example if I was looking for a Joe Smith in San Jose, CA – I would type this into the Google search:  “Joe Smith” + “San Jose, CA”.  This kind of search will usually result in some very concise search results, maybe just a page or two of results, versus the dozens or hundreds of pages if you were to search just for “Joe Smith San Jose, CA”.

I hope this information is useful to you dear readers, if you have any other ideas about how best to determine occupancy of a foreclosed home, please leave a comment!