Buying Technique - Title Search / Off market

Hi All

I'm in the process of developing some sites and doing research for my next site in the same area. I see some properties which are ripe for redvelopement but they are not for sale. On google and on the plans some of these blocks look ideal for development. Some of the houses are realy run down and I can't imagine people want to actually live there.

I remember reading up on the idea of searching for the Title and making an offer to the owner. And there's all this stuff about off market transactions without giving the details on how to get them.

I'm looking in Melbourne.
I was wondering if anyone here can give me some tips on how to go about acquiring such property. Should i mark out say X no of properties I would like to make an offer on and then do title searches and then contact the owners. It would cost me to get the title of each property and don't want to overload my work.

Is this the area of a buyers agent?

Does any one have an example of a letter to the owner? This would be awesome.

Any Further Ideas?

You should be able to approach the local council for details of owners. I have done this in the past in the West. No cost attached :)