Abandoned House in Your Neighborhood? 8 Steps You Can Take

Having an abandoned house in your neighborhood is not only an eyesore but a potential problem that attracts squatters and trouble. If you’re concerned about the abandoned house in your neighborhood and how it can harm your property value, then read on to learn what you can do about it.

Is it Really An Abandoned House in Your Neighborhood?

Is it Really An Abandoned House?

While you can take action to help protect your neighborhood in the case of an abandoned house, it’s important to first ensure that the house is truly abandoned. Leave a note on the door or see if you can catch someone coming or going to the property. What appears to be abandoned could actually be a home where the occupant is unable to care for the property and land by themselves and you could offer to help.

If you are sure there is no one living on the property then start by mailing a letter to the address, even though the owners are no longer living there they might have left a forwarding address at the post office and the mail may get forwarded to the right people. If your attempt at contacting them by mail doesn’t work you can go the extra mile by checking out the public records.

The local county clerk’s office can give you the name of the homeowner and their address as this information is all open to the public. In the best case scenario the address of the homeowners will be different from the abandoned house so you can send a letter to them with your concerns and offers of solutions to their abandoned property.

If there is no owner listed for the home then the country clerk’s office can get you the information from the bank on file that owns the mortgage to the home. If this is the case reach out to the bank to discuss ways to improve the property to keep your neighborhood safe from squatters and crime. The home might be in the middle of the foreclosure process which could explain the abandoned look to the home. Let the bank know your concerns or any issues you’ve seen as the bank can take steps to minimize any damages or vandalism and close on the home more quickly.

What To Do About the Abandoned House in the Neighborhood

If you’ve been able to get in touch with the homeowners then you can work with them to help them find a buyer. In some situations the homeowners will have moved out of state, leaving the property to go wild and unattended and leading to less offers and interest on the home. You can offer to help by mowing the yard (with permission) or spreading the word about the home for sale. If they haven’t had any luck in selling the property, you can let them know that there are reputable house buying companies like Gary Buys Houses that will buy their home for cash and can close in as little as a week.

If the homeowners no longer live near the property, selling their home to a real estate investor is a great solution. A house buying company will come in and clean up and fix up the home, improving the look of the neighborhood before they put the house back on the market.

While the home lays empty talk to neighbors about looking out for each other and the safety of the community by keeping an eye on the home. You can, and should, report any problems or signs of squatting to the local police. Broken windows, doors, a jungle-like overgrown yard or trash strewn about are all potential violations of city building codes and you can contact local officials so they can take action.

What Not To Do About the Abandoned House in the Neighborhood

While it is tempting to take matters into your own hands and do something about the abandoned house yourself, it’s important that you stay off the property unless you have permission from the homeowners or the bank. Your helpful action of mowing the lawn or even installing floodlights to keep away vandals could actually get you in trouble and get you blamed for any accidental damage that occurs while you’re just trying to help.

If you talk to the bank or homeowners first, the odds are good that they will give permission and be thankful for the help; but without that permission it’s best to stay away and avoid being liable for any accidents or damage to the property.

8 Reasons a House Becomes Abandoned

Two abandoned houses each two story with broken windows

While the number one reason a house ends up an abandoned property is financial, there are several factors that can lead to walking away from a home.

1- Expense

Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where the repairs on the home exceed the amount of money you can put into it. If your home is in need of rewiring, all new plumbing or other expensive repairs like foundation repair then the price for repair can be prohibitive.

2- Recession and Job Loss

Whether it was the great recession of 2008/09, the global pandemic of 2020/21 or high interest rates, the realities of job loss and economic downturn can negatively affect your ability to take care of and maintain a home. If you live in a city where a local industry provides most of the jobs, a closure of a factory or major layoffs can affect the entire city and your ability to sell your home.

3- Bad Neighborhood

If your once family-friendly neighborhood has deteriorated into a stagnate, or even unsafe, neighborhood, selling a home can be near impossible. Businesses and landlords aren’t likely to buy up properties in neighborhoods such as that and property values can be negatively affected.

4- Inheritance Issues

Some people struggle with the idea of selling the home they grew up in. Inheriting a home that you don’t plan to live in but have a hard time parting with for sentimental reasons can lead to vacant homes that deteriorate without regular maintenance and care.

5- Environmental Problems

Updates to environmental regulations can cause costly updates for homeowners. Perhaps you’ve been required to get rid of septic tanks or outdated wiring. A home inspection report could turn up asbestos or lead-infused paint. If your home has environmental problems the cost of repair can be staggering, sometimes more than the cost of purchasing a new home.

6- Ecological Disaster

Areas that experience widespread contamination in the water or air can cause people to abandon their homes. Flint, Michigan, one of the top cities in America for abandoned homes, has experienced ongoing water troubles throughout the city, making it incredibly difficult to sell a home.

7- Natural Disasters

If your home has experienced flooding, hurricanes, an earthquake or tornado, your family may have been forced to evacuate. Rather than repair and rebuild, in some cases homeowners will walk away from their property during stressful situations like natural disasters.

8- Difficulty Selling

Bad photos, unattractive curb appeal and outdated interiors can all make a property very difficult to sell.

The top 10 US cities with most vacant homes

Top 10 US Cities Abandoned Houses

According to a report by The Hill these 15 cities in the U.S. have the most vacant homes as of 2023.

Here are the states with the highest vacant housing rates:

  1. Maine—23.9 percent
  2. Alaska—21.4 percent
  3. Vermont—21.3 percent
  4. Florida—20.5 percent
  5. West Virginia—17.7 percent
  6. Delaware—17.6 percent
  7. Alabama—17.2 percent
  8. New Hampshire—17.2 percent
  9. Hawaii—16.9 percent
  10. Arizona—16.7 percent

For comparison, the states with the lowest vacant housing rates:

  1. California—8.5 percent
  2. Washington—8.7 percent
  3. Iowa—9.5 percent
  4. Connecticut—9.9 percent
  5. Ohio—9.9 percent
  6. Nebraska—10.02 percent
  7. Oregon—10.03 percent
  8. Illinois—10.1 percent
  9. Colorado—10.3 percent
  10. Minnesota—10.6 percent
  11. Utah—10.7 percent

What Happens to Abandoned Homes?

Unfortunately when a home is abandoned it’s often left at the mercy of one of these four problems:


Left on their own an abandoned house that is left uncared for through snow, heat, wind and rain will start to show the wear and tear. Whether the heat is cracking roof tiles or the rain gutters have been clogged so moisture is building up in all the wrong places, the weather will break down abandoned homes over time.


Surprisingly plants left unchecked can do plenty of damage to abandoned homes. Invasive ivy can take over yards and walls while uncared for trees can die and become a fire hazard. Tall grasses and weeds invite mice and snakes and every neighborhood critter to become a resident of the abandoned property.


Empty homes can be a hotspot for crimes and vandalism. Squatters can move in on abandoned properties and leave problems and messes in abandoned homes.


Peeling paint, broken windows and wild, overgrown yards are not uncommon on an abandoned home. Left on their own a home deteriorates quickly and the interior doesn’t fare much better over time.

How to Sell Before Abandoning a House

How to sell this white boarded up abandoned house

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have considered abandoning your home rather than deal with the expenses and problems you are currently facing, know that you do have other options. While a traditional buyer would not be interested in purchasing a home that has damage or large repairs needed, a non-traditional home buyer like Gary has the experience and team to take on any property including an abandoned house.

Selling your home to a house buying company like us at GaryBuysHouses allows you to save time, money and stress helping you to still make money off your house that is either currently abandoned or might be soon. Gary is ready to make a fast and fair cash offer for your home and is willing to take on properties in any condition. If you are interested in selling your house to Gary then reach out today and have a closing date in as little as 7 days.

Gary does not sell your contract, require inspections or extensive negotiations. He specializes in hassle-free closings and cash offers. If there is no mortgage on the property then Gary could even close in as little as 1 to 2 days.

Working with Gary means getting a check that you can cash right away the day that you meet up about the property. He is serious and motivated to purchase your home and if for any reason Gary doesn’t buy the house, even if it’s your fault, you get to keep the earnest money. Contact Gary about purchasing your property and don’t let it become just another abandoned hou

Gary Parker

I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring. https://www.garybuyshouses.com/

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