20 Properties That Are Definitely Showing Signs of Distress

Being able to identify distressed properties is one of the most effective ways to find off-market deals and an untapped supply of motivated sellers.


In this post, you will learn the 6 common signs of distress, be provide multiple examples of each, and understand how to identify them when researching your market.



1. Grass

Observing a property’s grass condition is a quick and easy way to identify a distressed property situation. If you come across a property that has tall or dead grass, it may have an absentee homeowner that is motivated to sell.



Image credit: MortgageOrb


Image credit: Romance Bandits


Image Credit: Distressed Property Expert


2. Windows

Finding a property with broken and/or boarded up windows is certainly a sign that the property is vacant. Also, it is likely that a property with broken or boarded up windows will show other signs of distress (grass, vegetation, deferred maintenance, etc.).



Image Credit: Foreclosure Connections



Image Credit: Investopedia


Image Credit: postfastr



3. Overfill of mail or newspapers

The overfill of mail or newspapers are subtle signs of distress. Out of all the signs of distress listed, this is probably the most difficult to spot. It can mean one of two things: the homeowner is on vacation or the property is vacant.



Image Credit: Canaday Group


Image Credit: KE1RI



4. Code enforcement signs

There are many types of code enforcement signs and sometimes they can be difficult to spot. The majority of the time, they are posted on the front door or front window.



Image Credit: Triad City Beat


Image Credit: Triad City Beat


Image Credit: The Ann Arbor News



5. Overgrown vegetation

Overgrown vegetation is similar sign as tall or dead grass, but the property has probably been sitting for a much longer. Properties with overgrown vegetation are impossible to miss.



Image Credit: NRHC


Image Credit: The News-Herald



Image Credit: WPXI News


6. Deferred maintenance

The deferred maintenance referred to here is external, since you obviously won’t be able to easily see inside the property. But if the outside shows signs of wear, the inside is likely equally as bad or even worse.



Image Credit: Realtor.com


Image Credit: Invessa Group


Image Credit: Clearview Homes 360



7. Other but obviously distressed

Here are some properties that have been through a lot. These properties should be avoided at all costs, unless you are interested in knock downs.



Image Credit: Comcate

Image Credit: Buy Investment Property Today


Image Credit: eHow





The 6 most common signs of distress are: 1) tall or dead grass, 2) boarded up or broken windows, 3) overfill of mail and newspapers, 4) code enforcement signs, 5) overgrown vegetation, and 6) deferred maintenance.


Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to put it into practice. Keep an eye out for signs of distress on your way to work, the gym, the grocery store, etc., record some addresses, look up the owner information on the local county’s website, and start sending out letters.

You may also like