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The Most Counterintuitive Way to Find Houses to Flip REVEALED!

by Michael LaCava on November 17, 2013 · 33 comments

  
How to Find Houses to Flip

It was a week before Christmas and I was just getting ready to shut it down for the week…

I remember I told my wife these exact words as I prepped for my week of unplugging:

“I don’t care how good a deal comes along while I’m away, I won’t take it!”

Famous last words…

In this business when a good deal comes along you have to take it and break your own rules sometimes.

Whatever you do, don’t break these rules  – but sometimes you have to break other kinds of rules like taking time off to grab a deal that you otherwise would have missed.

I have to be honest here, until this happened to me, I had never even thought of it before and I stumbled upon it totally by accident.

But to get these kinds of deals, it’s really not an accident. To get them, you do have to do one thing consistently and that is network and get yourself out there.

If you are exposing yourself and making yourself available and most importantly TAKING ACTION…then good things will and do happen to you.

And you too will start to find deals like this one from the most unlikely sources…

How to Find Houses to Flip From The Most Unlikely Source

If you are an active investor, then you know the schtick: find properties and although most will be rejected, put offers in  – and in the end, a small portion will get accepted.

But sometimes investors will put multiple offers out there and  for whatever reason, totally unexpectedly, they may get two or three under contract all at the same time. 

The problem is that in some cases they may not be able to handle more than one or two at any given moment – so they suddenly find themselves with an embarrassment of house flipping riches, so to speak.

Maybe they can’t get the money they need to finance, the bank won’t let them borrow, or there maybe there are some complicated unforeseen title issues. Whatever the reason, they can’t consummate the deal.

In my market we are seeing investors get properties under contract and although they think they have the money – private, bank or hard money - for whatever reason they can’t seal the deal when the time comes.

So for you the real estate investor with a superior knowledge of flipping houses with no money, this is a tremendous opportunity for you!

Maybe in some cases, these investors just can’t handle all three projects at the same time. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, the point is that other investors may sometimes get in over their heads and want to unload properties they have under contract.

So having learned this technique a few years ago, I look far differently on my fellow real estate investors in my markets versus the way I did when I first started investing. I treat every other investor in my market as a potential parter and not necessarily a potential competitor.

And I highly suggest you do the same…

Some of these people may potentially be partners for you at a later date or they just may be other like-minded individuals who you can share ideas with and become friendly with. Chances are in your market, the real estate investing circle is not an overly large one, so treat everyone as a potential friend and or partner – until they prove to be otherwise.

And even in those cases, you can potentially partner with them as well.

The Unlikely House Flip

The first house flip we did like this, there was another investor who I had met through a REIA meeting. We weren’t particularly close, but we knew each other just enough so that he trusted me and he saw me doing a fair amount of business in my area.

He had two deals going on at the same time and thought he was going to close on both of them. Unfortunately for him, on the one deal he was financing through a bank, they saw that this other deal was going on and they felt that he was going to be overleveraged.

They denied his loan all of a sudden, he was left with two deals but financing on only one.

That’s when he called us.

So he called me up and said told me that he had one deal going and another one he needed to close on but if he didn’t close on the second one he would lose his deposit. He offered me the deal in exchange for his deposit money back.

So I called him back and I told him that I would take a look.  So I drove to the property and within 20 minutes I knew it was a good deal.  He had very specific numbers on the renovations and I evaluated all his numbers and he was right on the button. The comps he had run were right on as well. So at that point, with Christmas looming, the kicker was that I had to close within a week and a half or two weeks.  It was crazy.

Week off for Christmas – forget about it!

I called him immediately and told them I take it off his hands. We ended up making a nice five-figure profit on it.

To this day, we have a very good relationship and since he’s a real estate agent – he’s actually brought me other deals since then – none of which turned into actual sales as of yet. But regardless, the relationship still exists to this day.

The “Too Much Money” Problem

We actually find ourselves in VERY strange situation right now.

We have a ton of deals going on right now – and a lot in the pipeline – but we actually have more money available to us than we have deals to fill that money with.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great situation to be in – its just that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

As a results, this “competitor” technique is one we are using more and more these days. This is especially true as we become better known in our community and our region. It’s just a happy outgrowth of some previous success – and something to strive for when you are first starting out.

This way of finding deals is particularly interesting because it is certainly a means of finding deals that I probably never would’ve thought of a year or so ago.

The Counterintuitive Acquisition Method

When you think about it – this method of acquiring properties is completely counterintuitive – why would you ever find a deal from someone who in essence, is your competition?

But when you think about it, no one is your competition – everyone in your real estate investment community is a potential partner – even in some cases the ones you DON’T particularly get along with.

But especially other investors…

This may be a more advanced strategy and for people who have a little bit more experience in the market but nonetheless it’s a very good way in which to find houses to flip. Give it a try yourself and see how you do!

Made it this far? Leave a comment below. What do you think? Is this a good strategy? Have you ever done this kind of thing before?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

sandy November 17, 2013 at 7:53 am

This sounds really great and when I am into this market it is something I could use. I am still investigating this idea and I have a lot to learn yet. Thanks for the insight I am sure it will help me when I am ready to start Flipping.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Your welcome Sandy. Whats your target market?

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Mark Ferguson November 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

Great advice! I have reached out to a few investors before about buying deals from them, but nothing ever worked out. I am also in a nice situation where I have five flips going and I am ready for more!

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

That’s Awesome Mark. We have 2 under agreement sold closing in December – 2 being rehabbed – & 3 in the loop to close to start rehab. All I can think of at the moment. LOL
Looking for more as we have $$$ on the sidelines. Happy to see you are rocking it !!!

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Melodee Lucido November 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

Michael,

Great giggle started when I read that you were going to take the week off. I’ve learned to never say that and even try to keep the thought a secret : >

The major part of my business is in co-oping with other investors and creating mutually beneficial opportunities with them. We enjoy working together and help each other learn how to grow our businesses.

Thank you for this article sharing a good point of view that others may not have considered. There is no need for competition. Co-operation is my happy place.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

That is funny Melodee & maybe I will keep it a secret next time. We never really shut it down though do we?

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Roy Schauer November 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

I agree about building that relationship. We are a fairly small community here and some people still have that “competitive” mindset and it shocks them when I tell them what they consider “sensitive” information about how I work deals. Or give nuggets of advice. Like I tell them, there are enough deals to go around. I try not to get hung up on any one deal. And who knows, maybe we could work together on a bigger deal that neither of us would normally try to go for on our own. I think it just comes down to perspective. When people transition from the “job” mentality where people are in competition with each other for resources, they still have that mentality in effect. If another investor and I are trying for a property, and this has happened, if I don’t get it, I’m not obsessed about losing, but try to figure out what made their deal more appealing to the home owner. Also I contacted him and established a rapport in hopes that we can work together in the future. Just like working with a homeowner, creating win/win scenarios go a long way.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thats great Roy. Always good to call the competition especially if you lost a deal to one.
I call it healthy competition and there is nothing wrong with that.

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Jane George November 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

If everyone thought this way, that no one is your competition but rather your potential partner, how much more could be accomplished?! What’s the use of networking if you’re not going to work your net? It’s the same with restaurants if you think about it. More restaurants opening near yours make you step up your game. There’s a reason that restaurants setup along “restaurant row” in high traffic areas. Exposure. If local investors partnered together more, how much more efficient would rehabbing communities become and exposure to businesses wanting move into the area would increase. There’s more than enough real estate to go around. I’m glad the winds of change are blowing in the partnering direction.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Great analogy Jane. That is so right. My past residence in Waltham, MA did exactly that. Restaurant haven up and down Moody st and many have been there for over 20+ years
Kind of like Newbury st in Boston if you ever been .
I didn’t quite look at it to that extent but certainly would drive economic development to your community. Thanks for the comments

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Steve Johnson November 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

Since I’ve got very little cash right now this is my preferred method to get into my first flip. I’ve got my wholesaling campaign in place. I’ve got a few investors who I’m hoping to send deals to and I’ll offer to minimize the wholesale fee in exchange for learning the business more.

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Ricardo November 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

great idea I use this system very often I call bandit signs connect with other investors in club meetings everyone is a potential partner for sure

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm

You got that right Ricardo. I use to think bandit signs were my competition and when I started calling them they were not. Some of them I actually partnered with.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Great approach Steve. Where are you wholesaling?

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Sharon Vornholt November 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hey Mike –

Great post. Having an abundance of cash puts you in an enviable position. I’m sure there are a lot of investors that would like to step into your shoes. And like you, I think it pays to network with other investors ie “the competition”. There are so many ways you can help each other in this business.

Sharon

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Sure is Sharon but like you we work our butts off to get ourselves in these positions.
VCP (visibility + credibility = profitability).
Just need to find more deals to keep my investors happy. ;-)

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Mark November 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

So the guy just wanted his deposit back or did you pay a bird dog fee? What would you suggest doing here? Great story.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Because we stepped in he was able to save his deposit and we gave him a little extra for thinking of us even though he wasn’t expecting it.

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Dennis Lanni November 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

If other investors see you can add value (fast cash, complicated title solver, whatever) then your right, they are not your competitor because you’re helping them become more successful. Other another note pay off debt or take a profit, to much sitting cash around makes almost every business sloppy.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

good point Dennis. Thanks for your comments

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Stephanie Dupuis November 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

Hi Mike!
Love your article. The “time off” comment is so accurate! I’m currently taking some time off. My game with myself right now is to see how long it lasts. I did finally catch on and I have only told my Grandmother ; ).
Great insight on befriending other investors. This is great business sense.
I’ve enjoyed each of your articles and appreciate you taking the time to share with us.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Your very welcome Stephanie and I happy to help! Hope your enjoying your time off!

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Josh November 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

I have also found that your competitor could lead to a future partner. Especially if you are going to the auction house day in and day out, many of these on-site partnerships will happen and turn into very successful transactions. Lately, there have been fewer “flip-able” properties than ever, making more investor offers on one property. Many times if you partner with a competitor, it will at least be one less offer on the table that could turn into your favor.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Great point Josh and that is just what I did at an auction to buy some land. I partnered with a builder and there was only one more bidder.

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Matt Roe November 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

This post is simply spot on!
I’ve been investing for about 6 months and in a market 1,500 miles away from my home none the less. Long story short I don’t have private or bank funding available to me yet and HML’s are few and far between in this state.
I do have 4 properties currently under contract that I would happily wholesale to or partner with another investor. I had to stop making offers 3 weeks ago because I tend to get too many accepted and don’t have the means available to flip them or keep them as rentals.
Networking can be invaluable, I think an important part is being able to find partners that are willing to step out of their own backyard.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Thats great Matt. What is your target market?

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Matt Roe November 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Oklahoma

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Matt that seems like a good problem to have. ARe the #’s great in these deals. It just seems like if the returns were great you shouldn’t have a hard time finding partners based on the #s. What are you doing for marketing to get all those leeds and closing them.

Matt Roe November 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Yup good numbers (or at least I think so)
#1. 10k PP 18k Rehab ARV 55-60k Rent ~1k/mo
#2 21k PP 18k Rehab ARV 65k
#3 142,500 PP 150-200k Rehab ARV 500k+

I’m sure expanding my network should do the trick, it’s mostly the buy and holds that we have issues finding buyers for especially since most people are not interested in partnering on rentals.

We’re getting them off the MLS and craigslist, as far as marketing I’ve only made 3 phone calls to vacant property owners and that is where #1 came from.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Matt those are killer #s. Are those ARV’s supported by sold comps and are those repair #’s enough to get to the ARV value needed to sell at $60,000.

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Michael November 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

What market is this in?

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Shaun November 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

Great points about networking and building those relationships.
That one turned out great for you.

It is probably even more important on the other side. How lucky was the other investor that he had that relationship with you to save his money and credibility. As much as it would suck to lose the deposit it would be worse to start getting a reputation of not performing on your offers.

I have had some solid prospects come my way from relationships I’ve cultivated and I also have no fear of getting “to many” deals since I know I can quickly wholesale them to my amazing group of colleagues if it is good.

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Michael November 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

Exactly Shaun – If it is a deal you will have no problem like you said wholesaling it. If it is not a deal you will find out when you have no takers from experience investors or investors that know the #’s. I see too many newbies get burnt on buying wholesale deals because the wholesaler is a “expert”. Buyer beware!

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