One Effective Tip to Finding More Deals Every Month…

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A common question we get is, “how do you find so many houses to buy?”

First, we do a lot of marketing, (thank you to Sharon Vornholt for her posts on BiggerPockets!) But there is a huge difference that I believe sets us apart.  Our secret weapon is ….. follow up!!  Anybody can make a call or two and talk to a potential seller.  I believe the great buyers have systems in place for consistent follow up. I like to call it being “pleasantly persistent.”

Buyers sell to us for a variety of reasons, some are purely numbers based.  However, many sellers are very emotionally invested in the house.  Maybe they grew up there, or had family or someone close who lived there.  Sometimes they are simply not ready to sell when you show up to buy.  Even if they DID call you first, many times they are just not ready.  How do you know when they are ready?  You follow up and make sure they know to make YOU their first call when they are ready.  I hear other investors say, “I have tried many times but I can’t get a hold of them!”  My answer is, if you like the house and think it has potential, “Don’t stop reaching out until it’s sold!”

Have you ever heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?”  Well in our world as investors it’s more like, “When the seller is ready, the buyer will appear!”  The only question is, will that buyer be you?  If you stayed in touch, then at least you will have a chance. Another tip is if you have been great at building the relationship, you will probably be the only one bidding on the house.  People like to do business with people they like.  You may have to stay in touch for months or even years, so you might as well use that time to make a friend.  Don’t lose your long term vision.  If you do find a deal, don’t stop looking for the next. In 6 months you WILL be looking for another house, so keep that pipeline full now.

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A Real Life Example

Here is a real life example to illustrate the point.  One of our consultants found a house last summer.  She went to an estate sale to see if they may want to sell.  The answer was NO, not yet.  Our consultant tried to get her (the owners) contact number, to no avail.  About a month later, she was able to locate her contact information on Facebook so she reached out to her.  She was still not ready, but a relationship was started.  After 9 months, countless calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages and more, she finally sold the house to us.  I know that most people would have given up.  Actually many others did.  She was approached by many others, but we were the only ones who stayed the course.  Was it worth it?  Our projected profit margin on this particular house is around $30,000+, so my answer is YES, it is most definitely worth it!  Don’t you agree?

Did you know that water boils at 212 degrees, but at 211 degrees it is just water? That one extra degree allows steam to power engines strong enough to push trains!  I believe that follow up is the extra degree that takes us from water to powerful steam!

How long have you followed up on some of your deals?  Was it worth it?  I would love to hear some of your stories, so please share!
Photo: Kaysse

About Author

Glenn Schworm

Glenn and his wife Amber are the owners of Signature Home Buyers , located in upstate New York. They have bought and sold over 100 houses and counting since beginning in 2008. They are also the proud parents of 3 amazing kids and love to travel the globe, scuba dive, skydive and basically live life to the fullest!


  1. Glenn – I love your analogy; “Did you know that water boils at 212 degrees, but at 211 degrees it is just water”?

    The money is in the follow up; there is no denying that. Folks need to understand that it’s not easy. It is actually much easier to throw in the towel than to develop that kind of persistance.

    I think you hit upon something that I have been thinking about for a while. You mentioned that you have have your “consultant” calling them; someone ELSE is calling them on a schedule. I have been thinking about having my VA make follow up calls after I have made the first couple of initial contacts. I think that is what I will start doing. I would like to hear more about your system.

    Great article, and thanks for the kind words.


    • Hi Sharon,

      You’re welcome for the kind words, they are certainly deserved. I pay consultants a nice commission to buy and now even sell our houses, so they are motivated to follow up. I think having a simple email auto responder is key. It is virtually free and follows up without any effort once set up. Also direct mail pieces are worth it in my opinion, but I am sure you are aware of that! 🙂 For us the key is to keep our names in front of them so they call us when they are ready and hopefully ONLY us! I think any contact is better than no contact. Maybe a VA calling would work, if they were good at it. Hope that helps!
      I always look forward to your feedback!

    • Terry,

      Thank you for the comment. Certainly a good point, that is why we use systems to do most of the follow up for us. Like I replied to Sharon above, use email auto responders, make a call once a month (that might only take 5 minutes) but make it systematic. Lets do some math…

      Lets say it takes you 30 hours of follow up with multiple people to to get one deal. And for the record I think that is extraordinarily high! But lets say with all calls, visits, offers, and the whole package you are in all at 30 hours. Now, lets say it is a full renovation. You need another 100 hours to manage the entire project. Maybe you are new and need 200 hours, which is a lot! So now you are all in with 220 hours for this project. You net a profit of $30,000, which is average for flips. If we do the math, you will have earned about $136/hr.

      Now lets say that the same deal and the same work netted you a profit of $70,000. We have had many of them so I know it is real and possible. Now your hourly rate for that project is about $318/hr.

      Now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, maybe you wholesale the same deal for a quick profit of $60,000. Now your hourly time invested is reduced to about 40 hours in total. Now your hourly rate is $1500/hr.

      So I guess we all need to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze for following up. For me, the chance of making $1500/hr or more is worth my time every time! We do not always do this well on each house, but more often than not, we do. So we take the good with the bad and in the end it is well worth our time. Making your follow up systematic will greatly reduce your actual hours and allow yo to scale your business to whatever size you would like.

      Let me know if you agree or maybe you have a different view point. Thanks again for the comment. This may be a good topic for an article.

      • Brandon Turner

        One other thing your point brings out, Glenn – the importance of spending more time searching for those killer deals. If you spend 5 hours looking for a $10,000 profit or 50 hours looking for a $50,000 profit – it’s WAY better to spend more time looking for the best deals.

        Just thought I’d add that!

        • Very True Brandon! We must always watch where we are spending our time. We will get what we are searching for, so we must choose wisely. While we search for the whales, we will find many tuna along the way. Don’t throw them back in, use them to pay the bills and keep the machine rolling to catch those whales. Sorry for the fish analogy! I am an avid scuba diver! 🙂

  2. Not sure if I am going off topic, so I started a thread here:

    As a newbie to REI I’m not seeing that kind of high pay-off yet. I tried looking at HUD/Home Path/REO’s first and did not see enough profit margin there. Now we are getting our license, joining local associations, looking at the new home construction market, still trying to figure out where to spend our time more effectively and our nitch.

  3. By the way this concept is true for those going after REOs as well.
    I have bought 3 properties on the 15th offer I put in on a place.

    I think they might have sold it to me just so they wouldn’t have to reject my offers anymore. 🙂

    • LOL, 15 offers, now that is persistence my friend! Want a nice little tip? We have purchased dozens of REO’s over the years and people always wonder how we have won so many bidding wars. We always talk directly the the listing agent and ask them if they will also be our buyers agent and do what they can to help us. It takes some good relationship building and also you need to figure out how to ask questions they can ethically answer, but once you figure that out, you can be in charge of your own destiny and never be in the dark about the numbers again. Some people are agents themselves or insist on using their own agent. Using them as your buyers agent will help move the deal along, and who cares about the couple thousand you might save in commissions. In the ling run having a friend on the inside will make you so much more in volume. I tell people to not jump over the dollars to get the pennies! Hope that helps!

      • I have tried to build some of those relationships. Still early on with that though.

        Interestingly a lot of the MLS listings here explicitly say that you should get your own agent and they want to Co-Broke. Not sure why the locals are like that here.

        My guess is that they don’t want to waste time actually showing the place to people and writting offers that they know won’t be accepted anyway.

        • Thats funny, I have never seen that in a listing. On most short sales, they actually can’t be on both sides but that is not the case for REO’s. For the REO agents, if the bank won’t accept the offer, there is not much an agent can do. What they can do is to let you know the banks number and you can choose to use it or wait it out. Obviously the risk of waiting it out is that someone else who is willing to pay more will walk in and get the house.

  4. Gloria D. Wilson on

    @Glenn Schworm – Thanks for the helpful article and the tips – I’m just wondering what happens to those properties that come up for auction, but don’t sell. Are they then available for purchase? If so, how does one go about accessing them? Also, how do you track down abandoned properties to make purchase offers?

    • Glenn Schworm

      Hi Gloria,

      Thats a good question I am not actually sure what happens to properties that do not get sold at auction. Maybe someone else knows on this conversation? As far as tracing down abandon properties, go to the local courts house to start and research to find the owners, send the mailers, call if you can, be like a private detective and persistent until you get an answer. Hope that helps!

  5. Alex Bedar

    Excellent post, I have 2 questions
    1. Lets say I want to concentrate on some street , how do I get those residents phones numbers, face book… ?
    2, I got in touch with some sellers. I was in touch with them for several month, but the problem is that the price they want was to expensive , so who do you make your sellers to sell you at 205 or 305 percent lower than the market price?

    • Jeff Feldman

      First I explain that I’m a cash buyer and looking to get a great deal for a fast convenient closing, that my offer won’t fall through because it doesn’t pass inspection for the banks financing. Of course if they’re not motivated to sell quickly they should put it on the open market to get the most and hope it doesn’t fall through. Then i explain the numbers to them ex: 15 profit 6 selling 5 interest etc.

      • Natalie Anne Cole

        The people need to be in the position to take your offer. It can’t just be beneficial to you! I imagine there has to be a way for you to know that you are targeting people who are looking to sell quickly or who have the equity to make a deal that benefits both sides.

  6. Will King

    Sept of 2017 I knocked on the door of a pre-foreclosure lead. She was a tenant we began to talk for 30 minutes. She then told me about a house she inherited when her father passed. Every 30-45 days I called her to see if she was ready to sell, for months she said not now. In July 2018 I called her and she was ready to sell. We wholesale this property, in 2 days we sold it for a $22k profit. The fortune really is in the follow up.

    Thanks for post.

  7. Joseph Marulli

    A concise and effective article, Glenn. Thank you. I recently became abnormally interested (for me, anyway) in real estate investing. I’m reading as much as I can right now, getting ready for when I finally take the plunge into my first investment, and I consider myself fortunate to have come across such warm-hearted, people-centric guidance.

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