Just starting out, so if this is a stupid question, please forgive me. Is there any way to know if a property has truly been vacated? I read some posts where the person who purchased a property through auction discovered it was occupied.
There is no way to know for sure. You can certainly leave a note, knock on the door, peek in the windows to see if anyone is living there. Sometimes people will leave a few pieces of furniture and clothing behind so that they can try to negotiate cash for keys. The it becomes a dance to to find out what they want and if they are in fact legal tenants.