Real Estate Investing Basics

10 Ways to Look for Investment Properties

16 Articles Written
Tips for finding an investment property

When it comes to investing in real estate, it’s easy enough to define your budget and set your criteria for the type of property you’d like to buy. Finding and purchasing a property that fits your budget and criteria is something else entirely.

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There are a variety of ways to find investment properties. Some methods are easier than others, but the more you pursue, the greater the likelihood you’ll find what you’re looking for, at the right price and in the right location.

Related: BP Podcast 040: 40 Quick Tips for Buying Your First (or Next) Investment Property

10 Ways to Find Real Estate Properties for Investment

  1. Word of Mouth – Don’t keep your interest in investment properties to yourself; other people could help you with your search. By letting other people know that you are in the market to buy, and letting them know what you’re looking for, you increase the chances that you’ll find the right property.
  2. Realtors & Real Estate Agents – Why not go straight to the people who know? Realtors and real estate agents have access not only to their own sellers, but to the sellers of colleagues and other contacts, increasing the chances you could find what you’re looking for.
  3. MLS Listings – Multiple Listing Services, otherwise known as MLS, are collections of properties for sale by different real estate brokers throughout the United States. There may be multiple MLS for different communities, though, so you might have to do some digging to find all the properties for sale on the MLS in a given area.
  4. Locals Newspapers & Circulars – While it seems a bit old fashioned, many homes are still listed for sale in local newspapers and circulars dedicated entirely to homes listed for sale in a given area. You never know what kinds of gems you might find newspapers and circulars.
  5. Craigslist – has basically turned into the online version of the local newspaper classifieds. You’ll find everything for sale here that you would in a newspaper – including potential investment properties, whether you’re looking for a commercial building or a single-family home to rent out.
  6. Specialty Websites – You can search websites like,, and other websites for different types of properties in which you could invest. There might be some sites geared specifically to properties in certain larger cities as well.
  7. For Sale by Owner – Though it’s not the best way to sell a property, some sellers still just stick a sign out in front and wait for buyers to come find it. If you’re looking to invest in a certain area, take some time to drive around. You just might find something that isn’t listed anywhere online.
  8. Auctions – Banks have to unload those foreclosures somehow and many of them are sold at bank foreclosure auctions. There are also even sheriff and city auctions for properties taken due to taxes owed. You could also check out the specialty website,
  9. Outbound Marketing – If you have the budget for it, you could try to bring the sellers to you through outbound marketing. It requires money up front, though, to do things like print direct mail pieces, pay for postage, and more.
  10. Making an Offer – See a property you like? What’s the harm in making an offer? The worst that can happen is someone says “No.” But what if they say yes?

This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great place to start looking for real estate investment properties. You can pick and choose which places to look, or use them all, but remember: The more places you look, the better your chances of finding the perfect property at the right price.

Have you searched for investment properties? Where are your favorite places to look for potential investment properties?

    Ted Schmidt
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Ken, I especially admire your choice of “word of mouth” as number 1. The “spoken word” was the first ever form of marketing and will always be the most effective. -Ted Schmidt
    Sharon Tzib
    Replied about 6 years ago
    A lot of people attend REIA’s or Landlord Assoc meetings to find properties, which kind of relates back to #1. Also, some will “drive for dollars,” looking for properties that seem abandoned or neglected, search for the owner in the tax records, and then send them a letter.
    Replied about 6 years ago
    I as a real estate broker agree with using a pro but you need to add value to him also. I get asked all the time do I know if there are any???? Ask your self this, why would I tell you first? I have customers who use me for more than just a single property. If the are flipping and i found them the property they should use me. If they don’t I might still call them but not sure what order they are on my list. You want me to work like a dog, you better reward me when I retrieve for you.
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Great article but was looking for some gold nuggets. You forgot bandit signs! Luke,
    Paul Timmins
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Call Property Managers if they manage a portfolio they are the first to know an owner is selling. Ask them do they know any properties coming up for sale. No broker at this stage.
    Abel Vazquez
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Wow this article just showed me that I am some what in the right path to purchasing my first investment property. I use a combination of sites to do my research I use to scout properties then in another window pull up Zillow rentals to find comparables in the area to get an estimate how much the property can roughly rent for , when I figure that out I usually come to a conclusion of how much I should offer. At that point I pull Zillow to find out how much my mortgage would be based off the offer I am planning to make. After I do all this then I have some what of a snap shot of the propertys potential. I ensure that I always over/under estimate to ensure that if anything unexpected presents its self I would have the cushion to attack it. Any ways thank you for the great article Ken. Abel
    Eric Young from La Crescenta, California
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thank you Ken. That was very informative! With regards to buying through auctions, I’m curious if anyone who dabbles in this area could point me in the right direction by providing me with a couple of their favorite auction-based real estate sites. I am familiar with, and hoping to add some additional resources to my toolkit! – Thanks in advance.