How to purchase a abandoned structure with an absentee owner that is not listed for sale?

I would like to purchase an old building that was a railroad structure. It’s
abandoned with absentee ownership and it is 100 years old. It is not listed FOR
SALE. It is in great shape, but everything around it is being vandalized and
falling into pieces. I want to save it. I found records at the county
courthouse of it dating to 2003. The original owner on the records was the
Norfolk-Southern Railroad and they had an old address for their offices in
Atlanta, but they are currently at a new location. They stopped paying taxes.
They’re not even interested. It has been abandoned for 13 years and was
converted to a food storage warehouse. I’m among the handful of people that
know its existence and its history. I have done research on purchasing
abandoned properties, but never found anything as rare as what I’m asking you
now. It’s a bizarre situation. Please give me the best answer necessary. Only
if I can find how much back taxes they owe……..

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can't purchase it unless the owner wants to sell it: abandoned or not, no one can be compelled to sell property, even if they are making no use of it. If it is ever foreclosed upon or seized for unpaid taxes (or an unpaid mortgage or loan on the property, if any), you may be able to buy it at a sheriff's sale or otherwise from whomever owns it after foreclosure: but one way or another, you need whomever currently holds title to agree to sell to you.

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