Good question, but a difficult one to answer. If it looks abandoned there is a good chance it's in Foreclosure. However, the Foreclosure process is a long one and the house could very well sit vacant for some time before it can actually be sold. You can check with the Court House to see who holds the mortgage on the property (this is public record). If it's a local bank, then you might have a chance on getting some answers. If it's not a local bank, you are probably better off waiting until a "For Sale" sign goes in the yard.