Real Estate Investing Basics

Forget the MLS… Here Are 7 Clever Ways to Find Great Real Estate Deals!

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, AskBP
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We’ve got a major problem…

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Real estate is becoming cool again. 

That’s right. It’s becoming cool. Chill. Awesome. Hip. Trendy. Fonzie-like.

People are flocking to real estate once again to build wealth, and while I’m excited to see so many more people choosing to take their financial future into their own hands, I also recognize that this is a problem.

The more people want to buy real estate, the harder it is to find deals. It’s simple supply and demand.

Therefore, the way investors found deals in the past is changing rapidly. Unlike the previous seven years, today trying to find a deal on the MLS with a real estate agent is almost impossible. (The MLS is the collection of all houses in an area listed for sale through a licensed real estate agent.)

Instead, savvy investors are changing their acquisition methods to find great deals. After all, if you want what no one else can get, you’ll have to do what no one else will do to get it. 

Are you ready to do what it takes to find a great deal?

If so, here are seven clever strategies you can use to find a great deal!

Okay, let’s get to the seven!

Driving for Dollars

1.) Driving for Dollars

Have you ever been driving in your car and noticed a house that made you think, “boy, that house needs some work!”

If so, then you are already proficient at “driving for dollars!”

Driving for dollars is the practice of getting in your car and driving up and down the streets of neighborhoods you want to invest in, looking for potential deals. Then, you simply try to buy those properties!

But… what does a “deal” look like?

Typically, when driving for dollars you want to focus on properties that look distressed, vacant, or transitioning negatively. For example, a property with 18″ high grass is an indication that someone doesn’t care about the property much. A mailbox stuffed with old, wet pieces of mail shows someone might not live there. A tarp on the roof that seems to have been there a while shows the house might have some problems that the owner can not fix.

While driving in the neighborhoods you want to buy in, you’ll likely encounter dozens of potential properties. Write down the address of each one, including notes about the condition and snap a photo as well. When you get home, do some digging into the public records to see who owns the property. Many times you can even do a reverse-phone number search to get the owner’s number. Or perhaps you just want to write a letter offering to buy the property and mail to the owner’s address listed on the tax records.

Driving for dollars is one of the lowest cost methods to find potential properties because it involves nothing but a tank of gas and your time, which makes it great for those looking to get started investing in real estate but who have limited funds. It can also help you get to know your prospective neighborhoods really well, which will help you make smarter decisions about your real estate.

For more on driving for dollars, I encourage you to check out Chris Feltus’ posts, Driving for Dollars Part I and Part II.

Direct Mail

2.) Direct Mail

Have you ever received a piece of “junk mail” in the mail?

Of course you have!  You get them from car dealerships, credit card companies, local businesses, and more.

Direct mail is the act of sending out a large number of targeted letters or postcards to people who might be interested in selling their property, knowing that a small percentage will call you to talk more about the possibility and a small percentage of those will end up actually selling you their properties.

Related: How to Build a House Hunting Database to Find & Track Deals

While this may seem, on the surface, to be a lost cause, direct mail marketers know that the proof is in the percentages. If they can get, for example, 5% of those mailed to call, and if they can buy, for example, 5% of the homes of the people who call — they can still make far more than those letters or postcards cost. Let’s say that a wannabe landlord sent out 1,000 letters and got 5% of those people to call for more information, resulting in 50 phone calls. Now let’s say that 5% of those 50 phone calls resulted in a property being purchased, or 2.5 homes (okay, since you can’t really buy half of a home, we’ll round down to two homes).

So, could you spend the money needed to send 1,000 letters if you knew you were going to buy 2 properties? If those deals are as financially solid as they should be, I hope your answer is YES!

It’s easy to see why flipper’s and wholesalers might do direct mail — because they get paid back right away when they sell the home. Buy and hold investors, on the other hand, do not quickly sell so they don’t see that money spent returning to them soon. However, if you consider the cost of direct mail just part of the investment (think of it as “additional closing costs), then it’s hard to not want to try this method out.

Now, who is actually saying yes to selling you their properties through direct mail?

Typically, it is motivated people who can't or won't sell with a real estate agent. It might be someone caught in a nasty divorce just trying to liquidate the property as fast as possible. It might be someone who is in danger of losing the home to foreclosure. It might be someone who inherited the house but doesn't want it. It might be someone who tried to be a landlord but failed miserably and now has a deadbeat tenant who won't pay rent and won't leave.

Do you see a pattern here?

Direct mail marketing is about finding people with problems and solving their problems. You are not taking advantage of anyone or trying to trick someone into selling their house. You are simply canvassing a large number of people and trying to find those who you can find a win-win solution for all parties.

There are a number of different “lists” you can buy and mail to, but the most common is typically the “absentee” list. This means that the person who is on record for owning the property does not actually live at the property. You can find and purchase these “lists” from companies like ListSource.com or MelissaData.com and send letters, postcards, or whatever you think will work the best to secure you a deal. Typically, you’ll spend around $.50 for each postcard or around $1.00 for each letter, but this can depend on how much work you do yourself and how much you outsource.

One final note about direct mail marketing: success is found in repetition.

It is unlikely the person you are mailing to this month will respond with a “yes.” Trust and brand recognition need to be built first! We’ve all heard it said that before someone buys a product from a company, they need eight interactions with that brand. The same is true for your direct mail, so I would encourage you to mail regularly and to the same list. Some direct mail marketers send letters monthly to the same list; others send quarterly. You will likely find a solution that works well for you, but the point is: repetition is key! If John Homeowner gets a letter from you every month for a year and suddenly realizes he needs to sell fast, who do you think he is going to call? Some stranger from an ugly yellow sign taped to a telephone poll by the laundromat or you, the company that has been reaching out for 12 months?

For a much more in-depth look at direct mail marketing, check out The Ultimate Guide to Using Direct Mail Advertising to Grow Your Real Estate Business.

 

Eviction3.) Eviction Records

I’ll never forget my first eviction.

Cockroaches. Filth. Anger. A crazy lady. And a hefty bill at the end.

As any landlord reading this can testify to, evictions are not fun. They are messy, stressful, time-intensive, and expensive! During this period of time, many landlords begin to question why they are even in this game to begin with.

And this is why targeting landlords who are in the midst of an eviction can be so powerful! They have a problem, and there is a great chance they will be motivated to get rid of the property as fast as possible. Had someone talked to me while going through my first eviction, I would have seriously considered unloading the property right then and there.

So, how can you target landlords who are going through an eviction?

Public records.

That’s right, evictions are part of the public record in most counties of America. In other words, you can take a trip down to your local county administration office and ask to see a list of the current evictions taking place. Different counties and states do the evictions a little different, so I can’t tell you exactly how to track down the list of evictions in your area, but if you ask around enough it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Then, make some phone calls or send some letters! (See #1 and #2 above.)

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4.) BiggerPockets Marketplace

What if there was a single source online where real estate investors came together to buy and sell their properties?

Well, what a coincidence! There just happens to be that very thing and we call it the BiggerPockets Marketplace. Every day, dozens of listings are posted, and real transactions happening as a result. You can post an ad for either something you want or something you have.  

Looking for a certain kind of property in a certain area? Make a post!

Looking to sell one of your properties? Make a post!

Looking to partner up with someone? Make a post!

The beauty of the Marketplace is in its connection to the “Keyword Alerts” on BiggerPockets. The Keyword Alert System is an easy-to-use tool on BiggerPockets that allows people to get automatic notifications when certain words are used in the BiggerPockets Forums or Marketplace. For example, I have “Hoquiam” set up as a Keyword Alert, because that is one of the towns I invest in. Should someone go into the Marketplace and make a post about a property they are selling (or want to buy) in Hoquiam, I’ll be notified instantly!  Thousands of Keyword Alerts have been set up, and the vast majority are for specific city names for this very reason! So go ahead and post a Marketplace ad today letting the BiggerPockets world know what you are looking for, and be sure to use the city name in your ad.

You never know who is looking to sell you a deal in your area.

Craigslist Find Real Estate Deals

5.) Craigslist

In the “good ‘ol days,” people used the newspaper to place classified ads. While the newspaper might still be effective in some areas, a new business has emerged that is quickly putting newspapers out of business:

Craigslist.

Craigslist is an online classified section that is free to post and free to browse, so makes a great resource for finding real estate deals.

There are three strategies I want to share for using Craigslist:

  1. Search for Sellers: Perhaps the easiest and most passive way to use Craigslist is to simply search the site for real estate postings in your area. You can do this fairly easily and can even automate the process so new leads are sent directly to your email inbox that contain certain words that you choose (you can do this through IFTTT.com). The problem with this strategy is that there are a lot of folks doing this. If you want to get really creative, you need to go on the offensive, which brings me to #2…
  2. Post an Ad: Why wait for the deals to come to you? Instead, post an ad that says you are looking for a house to buy. Make it big, make it flashy. Get people’s attention!
  3. Search for Landlords: Perhaps my favorite use of Craigslist is actually in contacting landlords who are posting on Craigslist. Landlording is not easy, and as I often say: 90% of landlords out there suck! Many landlords lose money year after year and are only hanging onto the property because they know it would be hard to sell without fixing it up. Therefore, you can use Craigslist to search for rental listings that appear to have been placed by “mom and pop” landlords (not professional property management companies.)  Most likely, the landlord put their phone number directly in the post… so call them up! Explain that you are looking to invest in real estate in their area and saw their post, and although you aren’t interested in renting it, you are interested in buying a property. Even if they don’t want to sell that particular property, there is a chance they will have something they want to sell OR know someone else who does. Worst case scenario, you build a relationship with a local investor! Maybe you’ll even gain a mentor out of the deal!

Craigslist truly is a no-brainer when you are on the hunt for a good deal. Not only is it free, it’s also where people go to buy or sell things. So why not take 5 minutes today and find a great deal on Craigslist?

Wholesaler

6.) Wholesalers

How great would it be if you could sit at home while someone else was out there, pounding the pavement, looking to bring you a killer-good deal?

Well, that’s exactly what could happen if you get your deals from a wholesaler!

Wholesaling is the business of finding incredible real estate deals (usually through the methods I’ve already talked about), putting those deals under contract, and selling (or assigning) that contract to another investor for a slightly higher amount.

For example, the wholesaler might find a deal and put it under contract for $110,000 and sell that deal to you for $115,000, netting a $5,000 profit for him/herself and helping you get a great deal.

The key to working with wholesalers is this: find a good wholesaler! This is actually trickier than it sounds, as there are a LOT of wannabe wholesalers out there who claim to know what they are doing but really don’t. Wholesaling is one of the most difficult real estate “jobs” because you have to be great at almost every aspect of the transaction (marketing, analyzing, communication, sales, negotiation, etc.), but it is consistently taught by real estate “gurus” as a get-rich-quick way to build wealth with real estate. However, if you are able to connect with a great wholesaler, you truly can get hot deals delivered straight to your inbox.

Related: Hustle: The Single Most Important Factor to Finding Real Estate Deals

To find wholesalers, I’d recommend:

  • Call the numbers you see on those ugly “bandit signs” on the site of the road
  • Go to every real estate club in your area
  • Create a Marketplace posting on BiggerPockets (See #4 above.)
  • Train your own wholesaler how to find you deals!

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7.) Passion

Finally, the last method to find great deals is what I call “passion,” and it’s hard to describe exactly, but here’s the gist: people want to help you achieve your goals! Once you let the world know what you want, other people will help you get it!

Let me tell you a quick story. When I was 24 years old, I had just finished reading Ken McElroy’s book The ABCs of Real Estate Investing and quickly fell in love with the concept of investing in apartment complexes. At church the next morning, I mentioned my newfound love of apartment investing to a nice older couple who told me that they actually had an apartment complex they were looking to sell!

Now… was that luck or was that something I did?

I think both. As the quote goes, “The harder I work, the luckier I get!” I didn’t ONLY tell this one couple about my goals — I told everyone I knew because I was so passionate about it! This is the concept of finding deals through passion. Let your goals and passions be heard, and amazing things can happen.

(P.S. To read the entire fascinating story of how I bought that 24-unit apartment complex, check out the brand new Kindle book from BiggerPockets, How We Bought a 24-Unit Apartment Complex for (Almost) No Money Down: A BiggerPockets QuickTip Book. It’s only $.99 at Amazon, and you can read it in under an hour!)

Conclusion

As real estate grows in popularity, you have two choices:

  • Sit out and wait until the next crash or
  • Do what needs to be done to find a deal.

I know which option I’ll be taking… do you?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Let me know what method you plan to take to get your next deal!

(P.S. And don’t forget to join me for this week’s webinar!)

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.

    Mark Ferguson
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article Brandon! REOs are great but I have had great luck with short sales and estate sales as well. Looking at the small towns outside the city is also great advice. Much less competition.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Mark! Yes – Short Sales and Estates, both excellent options that I forgot about! Thanks for adding it!
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You’re a man after my own heart! We all want the “cheapest” house, it just makes sense! But then comes what do you get from that house, what will the returns be, appreciation, and what about the safety, right? I’ve created my own Leveraged Analysis Technique for finding these properties, and I even give a video demonstration on the biggerpockets blog for anyone interested in learning how to do this effectively, and I take it a couple of step farther than this: First, I ALSO check out the Crime. I ALSO sort by Photo count (the more photos, the less crappy it turns out to be, the more time you save), and finally, I look at the Rents. The Crucial Key Metrics (C.P.R,) The internet has made it extremely easy to leverage these resources. We just need to smart about when and what we leverage for each price range. (which we now know how, and share, here on biggerpockets). Thanks for addressing what’s on everyone’s mind. I love the 21 yr old Brandon asking for “cheap.” Lol.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hah thanks Lisa! Yeah, I’m always surprised by those who don’t try to find the cheaper homes in their area. I think there is a stigma that says cheap=bad. Not always true (but sometimes!)
    Lisa Phillips
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Of course, right! That’s when this little thing called “discernment” comes into play, and we use our previous skills and resource to consistently pick the best ones. I mean, I am VERY discerning about my investments, but there are still a ton of low cost, great CF properties to choose from. I mean, isn’t that why we are all here, instead of writing this out, learning how to DISCERN a gem from a rock?
    Joe Luciano
    Replied over 5 years ago
    When making 100 offers, are you making the offer or are you having a real estate agent make these offers? How does your agent feel about that? I suppose it depends what the time frame of those offers are. 100 in a week is much different than 100 in a year.
    Joe Luciano
    Replied over 5 years ago
    When making 100 offers, are you making the offer or are you having a real estate agent make these offers? How does your agent feel about that? I suppose it depends what the time frame of those offers are. 100 in a week is much different than 100 in a year.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Joe, It’s more of look at 100 houses (online or in person) and make offers on 10. The idea is that if you are getting more than 10% of your offers accepted, you are probably offering too much. For years, I was getting 9/10 of my offers accepted and now, looking back, I know I should have offered less, lost out on some of them, but I’d have more equity and cash flow today.
    Gerald K.
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Brandon, thanks for the timely article. Seems like with the drop in inventory and increase in prices around here, even the REOs are expensive or trashed and need cash only offers. Getting tough these days! Definitely need to keep the options open. Thanks for the tips.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Gerald, thanks! Yeah the MLS is getting tough so we have to find some new sneaky ways to get a good deal!
    Dawn Anastasi
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Regarding making 100 offers and getting one house — I rarely make offers. In the past year I’ve made only 1 offer that got rejected (list price $13,500, offered $14,000, sale price $24,000). That’s because I run the numbers BEFORE I offer so I don’t waste my time or my agent’s time making tons of offers that probably won’t get accepted. When I visit a house I take into account an estimate of the number of rehab dollars I will need and factor that into my “all in cost”. I also don’t make offers on houses I don’t look at. I guess I prefer the sniper method versus the shotgun blast method.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Dawn, I agree- I’m actually more on your side with the sniper approach. However, when I look at my past, I see that I had way too many offers accepted, and I see now that I paid too much. Also – 100 offers is way too much. No agent would do it. What I said was “look” at 100 houses (online, driving by, etc) and then offer on 10. I think a 1/10 ratio for accepted offers is pretty good, and not so much that my agent won’t do it. It takes him maybe 15 minutes to write up and submit an offer, so he maybe has to spend 3 hours on offers for every one deal. I’d say that’s time well spent for him, since most “first time homebuyers” take 3 hours just to submit one offer! 🙂 As always thanks for reading and commenting! You are a wise person Dawn!
    Shaun
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Different strokes for different folks I suppose. I personally find it a colossal waste of time to look at a bunch of houses I don’t even make offers on. It takes a lot less time to write an offer than to even do a driveby of a place, forget about actually going inside. I make most of my offers before looking at the place and see what sellers want to play ball and I will go tighten up my numbers when it makes sense. I am an agent so I can do this without having someone else do it so that is clearly a big factor. I am curious at how many houses you looked at and only made one rejected offer on? To my point above you use a lot more time and effort of your agent looking at a house than offering on it.
    Jordan
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the tips Brandon. I’d look outside my city but housing prices are a stupid expensive where I live and in the surrounding areas. I’m looking to buy soon and think I’ll look for places for sale by owner.
    Ang
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I have a dllema that I should not be having I think it would make a nice blog article for one of you guys to present to the Bp universe. Anyone interested? Reply Report comment
    Ang
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I have a dllema that I should not be having I think it would make a nice blog article for one of you guys to present to the Bp universe. Anyone interested?
    Jorge Caicedo
    Replied over 5 years ago
    good article but I’ve found that trying #7 and 8 are a migraine at best and a toothache at worst for flipping…maybe i just come across jerks w/ those two…
    Jason Mifsud
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hmmmm… as a real estate investor, I’m a little confused by this list. MLS is only a research tool to me to get a quick run down on pricing in an area but I never purchase at retail, only wholesale. FSBO is good just like REO (not so much in Canada.. its against policy for banks to sell below FMV). But Tax Liens and Sheriff’s sales are fantastic.. get the info on the home, perform all due diligence and make an offer directly to the owner before the auction and score a deal without competition.. Also, I never purchase with a realtor but will always sell through one… helps me to automate my system so im doing less. And my golden rule has always been only buy with OPM. And when looking on Craigslist, dont look for the people who are selling houses, look for the people who are selling personal items such as a customized Harley Davidson… there should be no reason other than money issues that someone would sell these items. Have a chat with them and make an offer…you may walk away with buying a house and a bike While helping someone out of a tough situation.. its all about problem solving.
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Jason – are you after my heart? Completely agree with you perspective. Haven’t bought a thing off MLS in 5 years, and I am licensed!
    Frank Iglesias
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article… I love the Short Sales and Estates option!
    steve
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Jason those are great ideas for the Craigslist leads. Brandon, I seem to have the most trouble with fha and the 203k. When fha has such strict guidelines for the overall condition of the property how do you convince them a crappy fixer upper will be safe for you?
    Jason
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Ben.. yep… I have only purchased 1 house of the MLS and only because I knew I had no competition. It was a foreclosed remediated grow op that the banks would not finance without health clearances. There were multiple offers on the table but no one could secure financing. I went out and got the Alberta Health Services clearance as well as an updated air quality report. I secured financing prior to making an offer and did an inspection myself so there would be no surprises. I then placed an offer with no financing condition, placed an inspection condition, $5k deposit with an additional $5k on waiving of conditions… oh, and the offer was 35% off of the list price. Offer was accept, house bought, reno-ed and flipped, suited the basement and sold it for 75% over purchase price with 40% net profit… presold before the work was done or the property listed. I do my best to have the seller approach me as a warm lead without competition rather than chasing down cold leads or MLS listings with loads of competition. This is a more efficient use of my time. I work very hard at being lazy… I am of the work smarter not harder school of hardknox Reply Report comment
    Jason
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Ben.. yep… I have only purchased 1 house of the MLS and only because I knew I had no competition. It was a foreclosed remediated grow op that the banks would not finance without health clearances. There were multiple offers on the table but no one could secure financing. I went out and got the Alberta Health Services clearance as well as an updated air quality report. I secured financing prior to making an offer and did an inspection myself so there would be no surprises. I then placed an offer with no financing condition, placed an inspection condition, $5k deposit with an additional $5k on waiving of conditions… oh, and the offer was 35% off of the list price. Offer was accept, house bought, reno-ed and flipped, suited the basement and sold it for 75% over purchase price with 40% net profit… presold before the work was done or the property listed. I do my best to have the seller approach me as a warm lead without competition rather than chasing down cold leads or MLS listings with loads of competition. This is a more efficient use of my time. I work very hard at being lazy… I am of the work smarter not harder school of hardknox
    Ben Leybovich
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Jason – you are what we call a creative and sophisticated investor; one who creates his opportunities rather than competes for existing. Very inspiring indeed. All real estate used to be played your/my way. With the advent of HUD/REO/MLS/Financial crisis investors have been spoiled and creativity has been sidelined. I believe this will change sooner rather than later and if all one can do is buy foreclosures off of the MLS, one’s business will come to an end. You are on it sir!
    Jason Mifsud
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Ben.. Thanks for the comments. Its nice to know that there is someone of the same mindset out there. Opportunity has to be created.. it is not just sitting around where everyone can see it. The MLS in Canada is where you want to be selling… its a market place and it dictates what people are willing to spend on a home. The keyword in that last sentence is “home”. The MLS is for the emotional buyer and you can never compete against an emotional buyer as they will spend as much as thet believe the home is worth to them. I don’t buy homes, I buy property.. there Is an emotional disconnect that allows me to purchase at my price or walk away. You need to be able to do that in this business… especially if it is how you earn your daily bread. Brandon – I definitely agree with prospecting out-of-town. The smaller communities nestled on 20mins drive of major municipalities are definitely appealing. A different take on that is look for land… I am currently working with 2 different business partners who have taught me sooooo much. their philosophy is “can’t find a cashflowing or potentially profitable house to buy/sell.. no worries… just build one!” Land owners are very willing to give you the land to develop for free and take payment once the property has been developed and refinanced/sold. Also, as an investor, you get to pay yourself upfront, develop the property and either refinance to hold and rent or sell for profit. Multiple streams of income from one project. Steve – I’ve found that solving someone’s issues is a very profitable and personally satisfying way to earn an income. I encourage you to browse craigslist and kijiji from mid-month to end of month. The things that are put up for sale wreak of desperation. .trying to pile pennies together to make dollars because rent/bills/mortgage are due. It is very easy to strike a conversation with these people and find out what their real need is. If you can solve a financial issue for them then great! You can do this all day long and build a client base that will come back to you when they have recouped and are looking for a home or, when sadly, thry repeat the same mistakes and get into a pickle again. Some people may frown upon this but nothingppl say can make me feel like ive done something wrong by profiting on someone elses misfortune when all ive done is helped someone out of a terrible situation. Ive just witness a beautiful young family walk away from their home with huge smiles on their faces, excited to start fresh with cash in the bank and zero stress. That lets me sleep at night
    Jason Mifsud
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Ben.. Thanks for the comments. Its nice to know that there is someone of the same mindset out there. Opportunity has to be created.. it is not just sitting around where everyone can see it. The MLS in Canada is where you want to be selling… its a market place and it dictates what people are willing to spend on a home. The keyword in that last sentence is “home”. The MLS is for the emotional buyer and you can never compete against an emotional buyer as they will spend as much as thet believe the home is worth to them. I don’t buy homes, I buy property.. there Is an emotional disconnect that allows me to purchase at my price or walk away. You need to be able to do that in this business… especially if it is how you earn your daily bread. Brandon – I definitely agree with prospecting out-of-town. The smaller communities nestled on 20mins drive of major municipalities are definitely appealing. A different take on that is look for land… I am currently working with 2 different business partners who have taught me sooooo much. their philosophy is “can’t find a cashflowing or potentially profitable house to buy/sell.. no worries… just build one!” Land owners are very willing to give you the land to develop for free and take payment once the property has been developed and refinanced/sold. Also, as an investor, you get to pay yourself upfront, develop the property and either refinance to hold and rent or sell for profit. Multiple streams of income from one project. Steve – I’ve found that solving someone’s issues is a very profitable and personally satisfying way to earn an income. I encourage you to browse craigslist and kijiji from mid-month to end of month. The things that are put up for sale wreak of desperation. .trying to pile pennies together to make dollars because rent/bills/mortgage are due. It is very easy to strike a conversation with these people and find out what their real need is. If you can solve a financial issue for them then great! You can do this all day long and build a client base that will come back to you when they have recouped and are looking for a home or, when sadly, thry repeat the same mistakes and get into a pickle again. Some people may frown upon this but nothingppl say can make me feel like ive done something wrong by profiting on someone elses misfortune when all ive done is helped someone out of a terrible situation. Ive just witness a beautiful young family walk away from their home with huge smiles on their faces, excited to start fresh with cash in the bank and zero stress. That lets me sleep at night Reply Report comment
    JerryW.
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Brandon, nice blog. I love how you always provide links and I end up reading 5 articles with each blog. I bought a property that was a little of both last fall that I plan to flip this spring. After driving to a neighboring town and looking at about 4 properties, and not looking at the one I wanted to make an offer on. (It went under contract the 3rd day it was on the MLS, the day I drove over to view it.) I passed a house with a for sale sign in the yard about 5 houses down. It looked small and had piles of junk all over so bad you couldn’t get in the driveway. It had all the utilities off, so I had to look at it by flashlight It was only 10 days until the foreclosure auction I got a great deal but we had to race to get it done..
    RoyN
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Brandon, I’m leaning in a similar direction to Ben and Jason here – Yes, I may be a little shocked, but probably not. Our primary interests are in multiunit / mixed-use properties and, in our local market, when a property hits MLS (actually ICX.ca here), you already know there’s a problem – usually it suffers from serious neglect and/or is way over priced. The real deals – and most which are not really deals – are sold privately. After you get digging in the right ground, you are likely unearthed more than you can reasonable handle {unless you have much more liquid capital hanging around than I.} Not to completely discard MLS – and other online listings – they are useful when first getting started or looking at a new area. We’ve been doing that with a couple of markets in the U.S.A, but find it not only to be lots of work, but it would be impossible w/o a knowledgeable and trusted pair of boots on the ground to weed the simply “cheap” from the possible.
    Ralph Taylor
    Replied over 5 years ago
    How does an investor make use of 203k?
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Ralph, The only way is as an “Owner Occupied Investor”- meaning buying a duplex, triplex, or 4-plex and using the 203k to fix it up and rent out the other units. It’s a lot of paperwork, but it works well!
    Cameron Benz
    Replied over 5 years ago
    How long do you have to occupy it?
    jason
    Replied over 5 years ago
    i’m young too 24, and looking to get in real estate and he mentions he did it at 21, how different is it now, is the only way i can get a rental is a conventional mortgage?
    Shaun
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Agree with a lot of your points. I think the thing that should be emphasized is that it is about VALUE not just getting the cheapest POS on the market. The most expensive place will probably never be the best value, but I’d guess the cheapest one usually isn’t either. However I’d guess most of the time that best value is in the bottom 5-10% pricewise.
    Dayna
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Definitely consider a fixer, but you can also ask around and/or approach someone who may be interested in selling there home that is not currently on the market. ~Dayna at http://www.flipt.co
    Kevin Andrews Investor from Seekonk, Massachusetts
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great guide Brandon. Thanks for the links to other articles for REO’s and Foreclosures.
    David White from Edgewood, Maryland
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Great list. When I’m in the market to buy I’ll have to revisit this article.
    Vern C.Tan
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great List ! Agree with your all points , cheap homes are really hard to find . By this post many people can know the technique how to find the cheapest home. Thanks for this valuable share! Vern C Tan!
    Alan merle
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Great share!!! Well, I wish i had found this article some days ago. As Me and my husband searching for the cheap apartment and we finally got a house but it is so expensive. Hope it works out for us in future.
    Luke Smith
    Replied over 3 years ago
    These are really great ideas of how to find an inexpensive house. I like the tip about setting an alert so when I’m looking for a certain house comes up I will know about it. That way I don’t have to spend a lot of time on the web looking for the right house.
    Gregory Willard
    Replied about 3 years ago
    It’s interesting that you should look for houses that are for sale by the owner. When we were looking at houses, we looked for ones sold by an agent because we thought it would be better for us. It’s good to know now that we are helping our friends find some.
    Gregory Willard
    Replied about 3 years ago
    It’s interesting that you should look for houses that are for sale by the owner. When we were looking at houses, we looked for ones sold by an agent because we thought it would be better for us. It’s good to know now that we are helping our friends find some.
    Skylar Williams
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I like your fifth tip about where to find cheap housing. It makes sense why real estate gets cheaper the further you are from the city. I’m hoping for something at the most 45 minutes away from the city and 10 minutes or so from grocery shopping.
    Sarah Smith
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I want to start a family but need to buy a house first. I had never considered getting a fixer-upper that has easy to remedy problems. Often fixer upper houses are great because your can tailor them to your own taste. It would also be smart to make sure that if you get a house that needs to be fixed that you get one that is fully within your budget so that you don\’t end up too far into debt.
    Scott
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Thanks for these useful tips. I like that you suggest to look for houses outside the main metropolitan areas. I agree that homes tend to be cheaper outside the city. However, you thing to keep in mind is that you will have to spend money on travel if you work in the city. I think you’ll have to measure the pros and cons to decide what’s best for you.
    Luke Smith
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I really love your comment about looking at lots of houses when trying to find a cheap house. Your comment about “cheap is relative” makes a lot of sense, and even a more expensive home might be “cheap” when you figure what you’re getting for your money. I would also think that having a good real estate agent would help considerably in trying to find a cheap home, as they probably have a lot more contacts than the average person.
    Luke Smith
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I really love your comment about looking at lots of houses when trying to find a cheap house. Your comment about “cheap is relative” makes a lot of sense, and even a more expensive home might be “cheap” when you figure what you’re getting for your money. I would also think that having a good real estate agent would help considerably in trying to find a cheap home, as they probably have a lot more contacts than the average person.
    Jay Jorgenson
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Who wants to spend more than they have to on a house? I really like what this article said about looking at a lot of houses for sale to get an idea of what your local housing market is like. I am definitely going to implement these tips so thanks for posting!
    Raisa Delima
    Replied over 2 years ago
    These are such great tips for someone like me who is buying a house for the first time. You made a good point when you said that it’s good to try looking in the suburbs outside of big cities. That is something I haven’t thought to try, so far, but I think it’s a good idea since the cost of living is less outside of cities. Not only that, a lot of rural or suburban communities have all of the businesses and services you need really close by so you don’t have to search far.
    Jesse Jamison
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I think it is always a good idea to look outside of the city. I might even like getting a house in the middle of nowhere. It means having a bigger yard. The only concern here is making sure the commute to work and stores is manageable.
    Sandi
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I was thinking about buying a cheap mobile home the seller needs moved. Move it to a cheap piece of property fix up a little and sell. I figure I can do all this for around $40,000. The market in my area for something like this is 80-$100,000. Good idea or bad idea for a first investment property to get started? Thoughts?
    Sandi
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I was thinking about buying a cheap mobile home the seller needs moved. Move it to a cheap piece of property fix up a little and sell. I figure I can do all this for around $40,000. The market in my area for something like this is 80-$100,000. Good idea or bad idea for a first investment property to get started? Thoughts?
    jresquival
    Replied over 2 years ago
    That’s a good tip to sort potential buys by price. That way you’ll immediately know what’s in your range. I think I’ll try that when I move out of state for work.
    Danni Black
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I really like your tip about looking outside the city when it comes to finding a home for sale. My husband and I have been thinking about buying our first home for a while now and we would love to find something for a decent price. We will have to keep these tips in mind for our search to help with the process, thank you for sharing!
    Dave Anderson
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Because there are so many online websites it makes it a lot easier to find houses that are within your budget. Like you said, it is good to sort by price and look at a lot of different houses. I think that it would be a good idea to lower it down to ten potential houses before looking in person. Once you have the ten houses you are interested in, you should go and visit them to narrow it down more. After that, it will be easy to make offers on the ones that you like the best.
    David Sabatini
    Replied over 2 years ago
    If I could give a word of advice to starting investors, it is this: Always come up with your maximum allowable offer before you start any negotiation! Leave plenty of room to allow for some back and forth. Also, don’t aim to get the house for your MAO. The goal is always to get the house at the cheapest price possible without losing the deal for being too greedy. Like all in life, it is a balance; use common sense. Also remember, not all deals are home runs. Don’t worry if you didn’t make a fortune on your first house. Your negotiation skills with every property you buy. Keep your eyes open, there are cheap houses all around us. When you know where to look, the competition disappears.
    Marcus Coons
    Replied over 2 years ago
    I loved how you said that the more houses you look at, the more chances you have of finding a great deal. We are planning on entering the market for a house in a few months and want to make sure we know all there is to know so we can land a great deal. It is important to remember that hiring a real estate agent can help you make sure you get the best prices and find the best properties based on the market.
    steve h
    Replied about 2 years ago
    All ideas here are good food for thought . One thing I would add is once you narrow it down, always get a home inspection done! There are so many things that can be wrong with property, It may shine as far as looks and with the excitement of purchasing it You buy on impulse .Always need to take in account the cost of hidden repairs . Like plumbing electrical issues which look fine ,but are not .Always get inspection!!! as an inspector I say beware
    Sariah
    Replied about 2 years ago
    My husband and I are checking the real estate market for properties for sale that we can invest in. Of course, we want the best deals as much as possible; inexpensive properties for sale. In this article, you provided great tips on how we can find those cheap houses by strongly negotiating. Much appreciated!
    Steele Honda
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    I liked that you said that by looking at a lot of houses, I will be able to better sort out the good from the bad and train my mind to find great deals. My husband and I have decided to stop renting and buy our own house, and we are kind of on a budget. We will make sure to get a good grasp on our local real estate market by attending as many open houses as possible, and maybe soon we will find our perfect house or apartment!
    Steele Honda
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    I liked that you said that by looking at a lot of houses, I will be able to better sort out the good from the bad and train my mind to find great deals. My husband and I have decided to stop renting and buy our own house, and we are kind of on a budget. We will make sure to get a good grasp on our local real estate market by attending as many open houses as possible, and maybe soon we will find our perfect house or apartment! Reply Report comment
    Elsa Anderson
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    I liked that you mentioned the 100-10-1 strategy when trying to purchase a home which basically means to look at 100 houses, offer 10, then just purchase 1. That’s quite a smart move to do since you’ll have choices available to you. I’ll try to do that since I’m planning to move from my old home due to some circumstances. Thanks for the great tips on how to find cheap houses on the market!
    Mark Padolsky
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Cheaper houses gives you a bigger responsibility. Like safety, the durability of house and also the place where it built. So, think twice before investing to a cheap houses.
    Kyle Wayne
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    It really helped when you talked about getting into the habit of instantly clicking to sort by “cheapest first”. My younger brother is recently married and they are looking for houses for sale. I’ll be sure to talk to them about working with a professional and to search by the cheapest house.
    Ridley Fitzgerald
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for the tips on buying a home. We don’t have a ton of money, but we still want to move into our own place. I’ll be sure that we follow your advice and maybe look for a fixer-upper and try to get a home inspection.
    Silas Knight
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for the fantastic home hunting tips. I like how you said that we need to look at a ton of houses to find the best deal. We’re hoping to buy a home this year, so we appreciate any help we can get!