I had a couple call me up a over 3 months ago, they e=wanted to buy 7 acres next door to them. They had been trying to find the absentee owner with no luck.
I noticed the property had been on the market before so I just contacted that agent hoping she could get in touch with the seller. She said she would be glad to work with me on the deal but informed me the seller moved a lot and was very hard to get in touch with. She first called every number she had and sent letters to every address. No reply. Then she found her on Facebook. Facebook was the only way the seller would communicate with their agent.
We found out there was a lean on the property. It was bought with owner financing and the previous owner had passed away. His estate had been trying to collect on the unpaid debt for years and were considering foreclosing. The property also had state tax leans.
As luck would have it I was the co-agent on a listing that was owned by the estate that held the lean. I was able to go over all the options open to the estate and they decided on a dollar amount they would settle for just get it over with.
The seller was asking way more than the property was worth for the property. Her agent went over her options including the reduced payoff I had gotten from the estate. The options were limited. They were, Option 1 hold out for more and face foreclosure or a tax sale. Option 2, sell it and walk away with a few thousand dollars. I told the sellers agent that I would advise the estate to start foreclosure if she did not sell. I educated the estate on the foreclosure process and had recommended an attorney to foreclose for them. Believe it or not it took the seller a long time to make up her mind. Why her agent and I could not tell. It seemed to us that it would be crazy not to sell and loose everything.
After three months of tracking down the seller and sorting through leans we went under contract and closed within two weeks of signing the deal.