3 Non-Conventional Ways to Find Real Estate Deals

by | BiggerPockets.com

Finding good deals is crucial to successful investing.  The best real estate deals are found when the seller is motivated, you can solve a problem and there is no competition.  Here are 3 non conventional ways to find some of the best deals. 

  1. Target pending sales and be the backup offer – Properties listed on the MLS often receive a lot of competition and often the seller is not motivated.  What about when a property falls out of escrow?  Sellers often become motivated and you can solve their problem without any competition.  Put in backup offers on pending sales and you just might find a home run deal.
  2. Put in your offers with only the listing agent – Listing agents love double sided commissions, especially the ones that list a great deal of REOs.  They will work hard to represent you and the seller.  It could result in a win-win for all which means a great deal for you.
  3. Target rentals and out of state owners – Approaching rentals to see if they will sell can often lead to a great deal with no competition and possible great terms.  You may be able to negotiate a lease option, get seller financing or subject to.  Also contact title and get a list of out of state or absentee owners and send them direct mail.  You can often find a motivated seller, solve their problem and without competition.

While most do what everyone else does to find deals, there could be some hidden gems found with non conventional strategies.  I hope these 3 are helpful as they could find you a motivated seller with no competition and you can solve their problem.

About Author

Ryan is the founder of Real Return Real Estate™ , a company focused on buying property at extreme discounts, selling and renting with cash flow.


  1. Taylor White PHD on

    One thing I find very important in dealing with buying property overseas – and more so than the States – is dealing directly with the home owner.

    In Panama right now, I dont even deal with agents anymore.

    If I find a property is listed by an agent, I move on.

    Its easier to get deals when you can sidestep the middle man.

  2. Im going to target absentee owners during my next mail campaign. I had one this week but he started saying that he wanted proof of funds and bank statements and Im not into lying so I just told him straight up that I was only trying to help him get out of the florida real estate market as he said he wanted. I was only trying to help him and help someone else who wanted a good deal. I would have only made like 2k on the deal.

    I love real estate investing though. Never thought such a dead market (according to the news) could be so profitable

  3. Taylor, you are absolutely correct. Talking directly to the owner’s especially motivated owners can result in great deals. I’ve never looked at real estate out of the US but imagine many of the concepts hold true in other countries.

    Thanks Alex, I know investors who are agents and have the listing agent write their offers and they are doing 3 times as many deals. It is working really well.

    Dennis, this is a great market for savvy investors. When all the news is negative it is usually the best time for investors. I recommend you find a partner who will fund deals for you. You can use their proof of funds and either wholesale or do the deal with a partner.

  4. I personally love your first strategy! Whenever I see a sale pending sign I call right away and get the details. I get more deals from this than just about any other way. Pending sales fall through all the time where I live in the CA Bay Area and selling agents and sellers scramble when the fall out of escrow to get back in before they have to lower the price.

  5. Thanks Jason,

    Yeah, targeting pending sales is an awesome strategy as banks/sellers often become very motivated. Escrows fall through all the time in this market and it is a great opportunity to step in without competition. The listing agents will of course push your offer hard as they don’t want to lose the commission and will now get a double commission. Best of luck and thanks for the comment.

  6. Michael Eckerman on

    Another Non-Conventional Way to Find Real Estate Deals is to find a local real estate investment club and approach the movers and shakers who have inventory and are looking to wholesale that inventory and pass on instant profit to you. Why would they do that? Many of the sophisticated investors who attend these clubs, buy properties in bulk and are looking for smaller investors that they can wholesale properties to and make a small profit. These investors work on volume and make their money by selling many houses to many investors – and want you to be successful so you will buy additional properties from them in the future.
    – Michael Eckerman, Wealth Recovery Specialist

  7. Great comment Michael. Many big investors have a lot of deals cross their desk and they sell them fast and sell volume. They make small returns but do it once a month so their 5-10% return once a month adds up to a tremendous analyzed return. And the other investors make a nice profit too!

  8. Your second point holds true only for sophisticated buyers. In most cases, where the agent acts in capacity of transaction broker, he doesn’t represent the buyer and neither the seller; he represents the transaction. In cases where the agent acts in capacity of single agency representing the seller….he most definitely won’t represent the buyer, as he would have a fiduciary bond to the seller. While the buyer may expect in both cases fairness, ethics and a treatment regulated by code, he will have to do his own homework as to ascertain the viability of the deal. The seller’s agent will have to disclose all that materially affects the property, but isn’t required to provide additional comparative or otherwise desirable information to analyzing the property’s value. He will not guide the buyer through the transaction, making sure he doesn’t incur into pitfalls, sometimes costly ones.

    Bottom line, if you know what you are doing when buying a property and are sophisticated enough to handle the entire transaction process (with the help of an attorney), then go ahead, go directly to the seller’s agent. If, like the great majority of buyers, you have seldom bought or sold properties in your life, beware. I, as a realtor, have witnessed several cases of buyers who thought were sophisticated, going directly to the sellers’ agents; most of those buyers were unable to negotiate the deal favorably and overlooked significant factors unfavorably affecting the deal. Ultimately they would have been better off with an agent helping them, on their side; they would have saved hefty amounts of money and would have been guided seamlessly through the entire process, without headaches.

    Remember: the seller’s agent (when agent is a transaction broker) does not represent you, he represents the transaction. And while the buyer’s agent also represents the transaction, he will most always go the extra mile and provide you with all the information you require to assure your purchase be a success.

    Read more about it here:

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