The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (2023)

They say one person's trash is another person's treasure. This saying also applies to old abandoned houses. If you're a realtor or just looking for a place to build a home in an abandoned house, you might be wondering where to buy.

While this doesn't happen often, buying abandoned homes is a possibility. This guide will provide you with more information on how to achieve this and what requirements you must follow to own an abandoned house.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (1)

What is an Abandoned Property?

A property is considered abandoned when its owner voluntarily relinquishes ownership. Financial issues such as unpaid taxes or missed mortgage payments often cause people to leave their homes.

In many cases, abandoned properties are deteriorating, affecting the overall value of neighborhood properties. Since there is a greater chance of fire and crime, they can also become a safety hazard.

However, depending on state and local laws, the legal definition of abandoned property may change.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (2)

Why would anyone buy abandoned properties?

Abandoned homes are often among the best values ​​on the market when looking to buy a home. Typically, if you put some effort into the home, you can buy it considerably below market value and make significant changes to the home.

Abandoned buildings are often attractive to experienced real estate investors. The home can be sold at a profit or rented out with continued income. Additionally, some homeowners may be driven to purchase a foreclosed home if they feel they have the resources to modify it.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (3)

What are the characteristics of an abandoned house?

A property is typically considered abandoned if:

  • People are unsure of the whereabouts of the previous owner.
  • There is a backlog of mail in the mailbox or on the doorstep.
  • The place looks run down and dusty.
  • Nothing personal is left out front.
The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (4)

How to find abandoned properties for sale

Finding the right opportunity to acquire an abandoned property is one of the most challenging problems. These homes are typically off the market and not listed in web directories. Here are some methods for locating abandoned homes for sale:

  • Hire a realtor:Real estate agents give you access to options you would find difficult to figure out on your own, and they can help you negotiate a better deal for a home.
  • View listings online: You can find foreclosed homes for sale by searching real estate listings online. Look for homes held by banks, the government, or that are on short sale.
  • Participate in a real estate auction:Participating in an auction is another option for discovering vacant homes for sale. You can browse online real estate auctions and local auctions by visiting sites like
  • Drive around your neighborhood:By driving through your area and checking out telltale signs, you may be able to spot abandoned properties. There's a good chance that a home you visit has been abandoned if it has weeds, damaged windows, and a general state of disrepair.
  • Visit your local tax collector:You can also go to the county tax collector and ask for a list of empty or unpaid properties. You can then search those properties to see if they are abandoned.
The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (5)

5 tips for buying abandoned property

Understanding everything you can about an abandoned property is crucial before buying it. This involves contacting the owners, doing a home inspection and analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the property. If you're prepared, making an offer and securing financing is the last step in buying a home.

Finding abandoned properties for purchase can seem intimidating or daunting, but the procedure is similar to searching for any other type of property. Let's check out these top five tips to get started.

1. Find available foreclosed properties

You'll employ many of the same techniques to identify available abandoned properties that you would use to purchase a conventional property. For example, you can conduct your research or collaborate with a real estate agent.

To find abandoned homes or other vacant properties, you should thoroughly research the neighborhood where you want to buy a home. You can spot them by their dilapidated exterior, or you might be lucky enough to spot foreclosure or auction advertisements in the nearby newspaper.

2. Talk to the homeowner

Sometimes the original owner of an abandoned property still owns it but hasn't done anything to it. Therefore, the key to buying abandoned properties is to contact the owners to find out your next step.

You will need to do some research on this. You can request tax records from the county clerk. You will learn the names of the owners through this. Then you can try to find the contact details online.

Afterwards, you can visit the property and leave a letter or business card on the door or in the mailbox if the owners are not listed. Be sure to follow up if possible because you might not be the only interested customer. It may be a while before you hear a word because the owners may only be around for a little while due to the abandoned property.

The county clerk may also inquire when the home will be put up for tax auction. It will likely happen if there are unresolved back taxes, making buying a derelict property that much simpler. Just make sure you know the conditions like the price and quantity ofmoneyrequired in advance to win the auction.

3. Conduct a home inspection

If the home is not up for auction, you can pay for a professional inspection before you buy. This is a crucial phase because the state of the house can change your plans if you need more repairs than your budget.

Consider sending a qualified inspector for the sale if the bank or county prohibits inspections if you plan on buying the home at auction, so they can appraise the home even if it's outside.

Determine what maintenance and repairs are needed to make the home habitable if you can inspect the property. Pay close attention to the report because, depending on the financing you receive, you may be required to do the work before closing the house.

4. Consider the pros and cons

Even though they might be cheaper, abandoned houses might not be worth it in the long run. It is essential to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a property, considering its condition, the works that must be carried out and the cost.

The house may not be worth it if it requires a lot of maintenance to make it habitable or to increase its value. To decide if you would invest more than the house is worth after you finish, start by looking at the values ​​of other nearby properties.

5. Invest in abandoned property

When buying an abandoned home, you will most likely need financing. Establish your schedule before buying the property. For example, you might require early closing on your mortgage if you're buying an abandoned home at auction.

However, if you buy directly from homeowners, you may have more time to get financing. The current owners are probably not in much of a hurry to consummate the deal because the house is already derelict.

Before looking at foreclosed homes, it's best to get pre-approved for a mortgage so that you know your budget limitations and lending institution requirements.

Once you are pre-approved and find a home, the lender will request an appraisal and title work on the home to ensure it is worth the amount required (or will be after renovations) and that there are no liens on it, such as back taxes. .

Advantages and disadvantages of buying an abandoned property

Just like conventional property, the abandoned house has unique pros and cons. Let's take a brief look at some of the most common ones.


  • Favorable discount: You can buy an abandoned house at a significant discount compared to the market price. The bank or city will likely be eager to dispose of the property if it has been vacant for some time and is in poor condition.
  • Ability to make money: If you are a professional real estate investor, you can make money by buying foreclosed homes, renovating them, and then selling them. Also, you can rent out the house and generate an ongoing income from it.
  • Little or no competition: Dealing with abandoned homes can be difficult and these homes don't get much publicity. As a result, you won't face much competition from other buyers.


  • These properties are hard to find: Finding the ideal home is one of the most challenging components of buying abandoned properties. You may need to do some research to find out as best you can because they are not often listed on property listing sites.
  • Possibly Expensive Maintenance Expenses: If the property has been abandoned for a considerable time, abandoned houses can have high maintenance costs. Do a home inspection to see what you're getting into.
The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (6)

What is the difference between abandoned and vacant properties in Australia?

The two terms are often confused. There are a few variations, but these are some of the main ones:

  • An empty house has a legal owner who claims ownership.
  • Houses that have been abandoned are unowned or the owner has relinquished ownership.
  • Vacant properties are often unoccupied for a short period of time, while abandoned buildings are typically left empty for a long time, among other distinctions.
  • While abandoned homes can look damaged and run down, vacant properties are often well maintained and in good condition.
The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (7)

Factors to Consider After Purchasing an Abandoned Home

Be prepared to invest time and money in repairs when buying abandoned homes. Sometimes it is necessary to replace the electrical and hydraulic systems. The roof could be leaking and the walls could be water damaged. Most likely, household appliances and furniture are also outdated.

But the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. First, because fewer buyers are willing to spend time and money on repairs, there is less competition. Some homebuyers would not even consider buying vacant properties because it would delay their move. Wanting to sell the property, sellers are eager to close the deal quickly.

Second, abandoned properties often sell for less than market value, allowing you to buy an investment home in a desirable area without paying full price. After modest renovations, the property's value can surpass that of nearby homes. You will see a greater return on your investment if you are a professional real estate investor ready to take the risk.

Even if you don't have a lot of money, investing in abandoned houses is a great way to make money from real estate. You won't need significant start-up capital because abandoned homes often sell for less than market value. Maybe you don't even need financing.

You can earn additional income by investing in real estate. In this situation, it is simpler to follow along by buying vacant houses, renovating them and selling or renting them out. It requires less cash flow than buying a luxury home all at once.

It makes perfect sense to buy vacant houses for rent, in particular. During the renovation, you can rearrange the space to make it more suitable for rental purposes. For example, you can add bathrooms and bedrooms, create separate hallways, etc.

Why opt for an abandoned house over a vacant one?

If you understand what to look for, abandoned houses can make incredible profits. There are many opportunities for experienced investors to buy properties below market value because many novice investors shy away from buying abandoned homes.

Abandoned homes can yield a great return on investment for the right investor with a keen eye. On the other hand, choosing the wrong abandoned property can be a total failure because unforeseen repairs, structural integrity issues, title conflicts and other problems are often encountered.

Because of these factors, only those willing to take on additional risk in exchange for a greater potential reward should exploit abandoned properties.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (8)

A closer look at the risks

When investing in abandoned properties, there are a myriad of potential risks. The extent of necessary repairs poses the greatest and most immediate risk. What's below the surface can be significantly more expensive, even if the repairs you can already see can seem intimidating.

The only opportunity you'll have to do a thorough inspection of an abandoned property before you buy it is when it's up for auction. Abandoned homes can have outdated building materials, including asbestos, which can cause a variety of problems to crop up at inopportune times.

If you decide to buy an abandoned house, carefully evaluate the health problems you may be exposed to. There are many outdated code issues and health hazards such as mold to watch out for.

Complete plumbing and wiring repairs may also be necessary because thieves often steal valuable items from abandoned homes, including copper plumbing. Not only are these big problems expensive, but they can also add a lot of time to your shift. A two-month turnaround can easily stretch out over several months, committing your funds much longer than expected.

Also, because a home's systems are often dependent on each other, other systems can quickly fail when one of them malfunctions. If you are not careful, you could become the owner of a nightmare abandoned house that cannot be saved or repaired.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (9)

The law behind the abandoned property claim in Australia

In Australia, you can claim abandoned property, but you must first meet the following requirements:

  • You resided on a property while exercising your squatter rights (adverse tenure).
  • You can demonstrate your unsuccessful attempts to contact the property owner. You can also demonstrate your intent to acquire the property by growing crops and trees or renting it out to others.
  • The property has undergone renovations and has been fenced.

adverse possession

If you live in a derelict house under Australian usucaption law, you will be able to claim ownership. You will need to demonstrate that you have been there for 12 to 15 years – 12 in the rest of the country and 15 in Victoria and South Australia.

If the home's original owner returns, they can evict you and file a lawsuit against you. They will lose the trial and the property will be yours legally if they don't succeed in 12 or 15 years.

Some properties are exempt from the adverse possession rule:

  • crown land
  • Land owned by the Water Authority
  • Highway Corporation
  • public transport corporation

Why are there occupation laws?

The Limitations Act 1969 (NSW) provides for Australia's adverse possession law (commonly known as squatter legislation). In other words, if someone does not use or occupy the property to which they have title, someone else who has used it can file a claim after 12 years.

This serves as a mechanism to deter and correct errors in land titles. Other reasons this law exists include:

  • Determine properties that have been abandoned as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to recover those properties.
  • Collect any unpaid rent and other debts from previous tenants of derelict buildings.
  • Prepare homes for relocation as soon as possible.

The fundamental idea of ​​this law has been around for centuries and can be found in various forms in most countries and jurisdictions.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (10)

Is it illegal to enter an abandoned house?

Is it illegal to enter an abandoned house?

Trespassing is illegal when someone enters a vacant property without the owner's consent. On the other hand, an abandoned property has no legal owner and is open to anyone.

Contact the neighborhood police and tell them your intentions if you want to follow the law. This can reveal information about the property's owners and whether it is vacant or abandoned.

Note: Be aware of potential security risks if you enter an abandoned building. Inhabiting abandoned houses can be dangerous due to destruction.

Abandoned houses for sale in Australia

How to buy an abandoned house if the owner cannot be located or contacted? The best thing to do would be to visit the county clerk, as you will be able to obtain the rightful owner's contact information. It's worth a try even if you can't reach them.

You may be able to buy the property at a real estate auction if you discover it is held by a bank. However, make sure the location is worth it before doing so.

The cost of the property itself may not be very high, but you may have to pay a lot for maintenance, renovations or repairs. Don't forget to also look at the area in which the property is located.

The Australian Guide 2023 – Accumulate Australia (11)

Are there free houses in Australia?

There are Australians who offer a house for free. What is the problem? These individuals give you a house for free, not the land it was built on. Typically, prefab homes look like this.

Sometimes they are given away for free; the new owners will only have to pay for the removal of the house from the site. You would have to pay to move from a free house to a legal house. As attractive as the deal may seem, there is a danger involved.

The house can, for example, be seriously damaged or damaged during transport. But if you are ready to take a risk, you can get a free beautiful house in return.

the end result

For some property owners and investors, buying an abandoned property may be the best option. Before you bid on the house, make sure you've done your homework; review the property's past and arrange for an inspection. You will be aware of what you are doing this way.

Whether or not you intend to purchase an abandoned house, this is an excellent opportunity to think about doing so. Start the mortgage approval procedure now if you are prepared to learn more about your possibilities.

Common questions:

1. How accessible are abandoned houses?

You will not be prosecuted if you enter a house if you are sure it has been abandoned. However, entering a vacant piece of someone else's property is trespassing. To be safe, talking to the local authority is essential to find out if you can enter a property that you believe is abandoned.

2. How can I find out who owns an abandoned property?

The county office is the ideal place to look up an empty property and find out if it's abandoned or already owned. Usually, the address is all you need to find out who owns a property.

3. Where can I find foreclosed homes near me?

You can always look around your neighborhood and ask people if any houses don't seem to have anyone living in them if you want to know how to find abandoned properties to buy there. Alternatively, you can quickly visit the county clerk's office.

4. Can NSW Police evict trespassers?

A violation of the Police Offenses Act can occur even if the ground is merely crossed. The police can take legal action if necessary. However, the police must offer the trespasser the opportunity to leave before they can arrest and violently remove him.

5. How is an adverse possession claim successful in New South Wales?

If an encroaching landlord has occupied encroached land for 12 years or more and complies with the provisions of the RP Act, he can claim adverse possession in NSW. But because the law in this area is so complex, knowing your rights is essential.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 10/03/2023

Views: 6212

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.