A day in the life of researching abandoned homes

Hi I'm Dan. I've been exploring now for about 7 years, and today I wanted to share a day of my experience finding many homes in one day.

My close friend and I do most of the driving. But, before we start we have a general location as to where we are going to go.  We start generally around larger towns and begin near their outskirts. We take the back roads, roads not normally driven mainly every day. 

This day we had or plan down, a paper map in hand looking over the general area we are in, a GPS to track our location in the Jeep, and of course, and this is our most important tool, our smartphones. The information Google provides on locations is invaluable. Pinning locations, and researching databases are a must for us. For us, we prefer to know who owned the properties before, if they truly are abandoned, and for how long. Much of that information is key to good research. We prefer not to find places cold and go into them, rather we like to know a history.

As we drove around, it was a perfect day. Snow on the ground is great for telling if anyone has been near a home! Driveway plowed? Its most likely owned. So we look for unplowed driveways, broken windows, etc. All the signs of an abandonment.

On this particular day, did we get lucky! On a 4.5 hour drive of about 250 miles, we found over 30 homes!  Screen shots were taken of the addresses for research, exterior shots of homes taken to remember all the places.

We then categorize them: high potential, medium, and poor of being "good" places to shoot. Of course everyone wants that "time capsule", where it looks like they just got up and left, but those are very rare, and few and far between.

After days like this, we go back, get home, hop on the internet, and begin researching. Then go back in spring. Overgrown? Yes! Mark that as good. Then after that, its a matter of time, effort, driving, and getting a way in. Some places take years to get in. Waiting on that open door or window takes time, but if you find one that is worth it, when you do get in, its so worth it.

So I hope that helps! Personally, doing all my own research with friends, finding places only you know about, and having a great time with like minded people is what this is! Have to have a passion for it. So be safe, enjoy, and have fun!


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