Here's an old post on search engine roundtable that claims google's policy is to discount previous backlink juice when a domain changes ownership.  I'm not convinced whether this is actually true or something Google says to discourage excessive domain buying / 301 redirecting for SEO benefit.  The comments above seem to give varying opinions on this matter. Would be great to get to the bottom of that one!
As mentioned earlier, finding such expired domains can prove to be a daunting task especially if you don’t have a tool to make that process a walk in the park for you. Instead of spending your time searching for tools that you are not even sure will help you find expired domain names with lots of traffic and backlinks, how about you try a game-changing tool integrated into Webfire 3.0 software called Expired Domain Finder and make your expired domain search a lot easier?
Hi Michael, thanks for the excellent writeup. I followed your steps and found that the domain name I’m seeking is currently registered with GoDaddy. Interestingly enough, I actually owned this domain name almost a decade ago, but out of laziness (at the time), I didn’t renew the registration. Someone else snatched it around the same time and has had it since. The website is dormant, with only an embedded video playlist from a YouTube account last updated over a year ago. The website itself hasn’t changed in appearance for several years.
If you are pursuing option 1, then you will want to use an automated service for the reasons mentioned in the article. Follow the process in the article to see which registrar the domain name is located at. If it’s at a Auction House like GoDaddy, NameJet or SnapNames, I believe they publicly share if there is a backorder on a domain name but not who placed that backorder. (Any interest in a domain name may be enough for someone else to place a backorder, thereby driving interest in the domain name that may be visible to the registrant.) So if the domain is at a registrar partnered with one of these companies, then you’ll have to monitor it manually (via calendar entries based on the whois expiration data) to maintain your distance.
Finally, you want to head over to domaintools.com. Then put the domain into here. What this will do is it’ll show you the history of the domain, because a lot of times these domains have been dropped like four or five times and a lot of people in SEO feel this way. I’m not sure about it. If a domain has been dropped several times, then Google does actually devalue the links pointing to that domain. So, as you can see I just changed registrars a few times and it hasn’t been dropped or else it’ll say one drops or two drops.
I'm running the new Mac edition of Domain Ronin and I have to tell you it's extremely stable. I'm getting about 250k pages every 5 minutes which equates to about 2700 checked domains. At the moment it's only using about 1 gig of memory for 100 threads. I've got the page count and other settings to the max. The builtin features like TF and spam checking on the fly are wicked helpful.

The whitelist filter for wanted characters is now split into three filters. The old whitelist is now named whitelist (only). When used, the domain has to consist only of the defined characters or numbers. No other characters are allowed. The new whitelist (any) filter finds domains that have at least one of the defined characters or numbers. The new whitelist (all) filter finds domains that have all defined characters or numbers at least once.
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