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Opportunity is Everywhere: How I Found Deals While Running Errands

Matt Faircloth
5 min read
Opportunity is Everywhere: How I Found Deals While Running Errands

I have come to learn there are three types of people in the world.

  • Person 1 sees opportunities everywhere.
  • Person 2 complains everyone else is getting the opportunities.
  • Person 3 says, “What opportunities?”

Hi, all. Liz back this week to talk about a recent and unexpected experience where I uncovered some real estate opportunities. You might be asking yourself, “What is the big deal?” Well, this really would not be a big deal, except that I found these deals unplanned while my 17-month-old son and I ran an errand for my husband. I hope you enjoy this case study and that it inspires you to look for opportunities everywhere you go!

The Story

Over the past several weeks, I’ve listened to my husband Matt complain about his car needing service desperately. I have had to hear about how his tail light doesn’t work, his car needs an oil change, and his windshield wiper is out of service. So, after having heard enough and being the good wife that I am, I told my husband that I would graciously switch cars with him and take his car to be serviced while I was looking after our little guy during the week.

Related: Opportunity is Everywhere: How to Uncover Hidden Real Estate Deals

So, with my very active and curious 17-month-old son, I headed over to the Mazda dealership. I did not make an appointment (since that seemed way too complicated), so I just showed up and asked how long it would take for our car to be serviced. They assured me that it would only be 45 minutes. So I thought to myself, there is a TV in the waiting room and between the snacks and toys I brought for my son, he should be all set! Forty-five minutes will go by in a breeze.

Well, I was completely wrong. (This seems to happen a lot as a new mom!)

After only 5 minutes, my son was done with his snack and was already bored with the toys I brought him. He had no interest in the TV show, and all he wanted to do was run around the dealership. Although he’s absolutely adorable, this was very distracting to the dealership employees. I knew I had to do something different while we waited.

Luckily, I brought in his stroller, and it was a nice day out. So I gave the dealership my cell phone number to call me when my car was ready, and we were off to take a walk. I did not know the area very well, so I was not really sure where to go.

I found a couple of stores right next to the dealership; however, one was a grocery store and the other was an Italian restaurant. Although both seemed appealing, I was not in the position to enjoy either of them under these circumstances!

So I went back to the dealership and thought to myself, if worse comes to worse, I will just loop around and around the parking lot of the dealership with my son. I began walking around the dealership and saw out of the corner of my eye a housing development behind the dealership. It was a little bit of a walk, but I thought to myself, what else do I have to do?

I need to kill some time anyway!

I began walking towards this well maintained housing development. Immediately, I thought to myself, this would be a great place to do a buy-fix-flip project.

What made me think this, you might ask…?

First, all properties were single family homes. Secondly, most properties were nicely landscaped, well maintained, and had one or two car garages. I saw young moms walking with strollers, and kids outside playing together. I thought to myself, this must be in a great school district! I later found out that the area was actually in one of the top school districts in the county!

As I walked around, I wrote down the addresses for two different properties:

  1. Properties that were for sale. Not that we wanted to buy them, but I was curious what the asking price was, what amenities were included and what was selling in this area. In other words, this would help me understand the local market better.
  2. Properties that did not have a “for sale” sign up, but looked dilapidated and in desperate need of work. Now, in a nice area like I was in, this is a little harder to find, but it is possible.

Deals I Turned Over

During my long walk with my son, I took pictures and wrote down the addresses of about five properties. There were three properties that needed a lot of work, but were not technically for sale. I also saw two properties that were for sale and took down the address and realtor’s name/phone number.

This took me over an hour to do. Obviously it would have been a lot quicker if I was driving, but I moved as fast as I could while pushing my son’s stroller. I had more ground to cover, but an hour had passed so I decided to go back to the dealership.

Once I got my husband’s car back, I spent the next half hour driving around all the neighborhoods that I could not get to by foot. I uncovered a few more properties that were for sale and a couple that were dilapidated without a “for sale” sign.

A Learning Opportunity

Besides the fact that I learned about a great area and uncovered some buy-fix-flip opportunities, I also discovered the fact that there are REO (real estate owned) deals listed on specific bank’s websites that are not listed in the MLS. While I was reaching out to a few realtors after I got back to my office, I spoke to one who told me to look directly on bank’s websites for REO properties.

So, I looked on Chase.com and found a couple of deals in the area I was looking that were bank owned, but not listed on the MLS. I called the realtor about the property, and she is going to call me as soon as the property does go on the MLS. Therefore, we will be one of the first investors in line to receive the head’s up on this property!

Related: Potential Seller Financing Flipping Opportunity: What are the Options? (Follow-up… I Got an Offer!)


When I began that ordinary Wednesday with my son, I thought I was going to achieve the goal of helping my husband out with an errand. Instead, I found some fix/flip deals to research further, made some new contacts with realtors, and learned about a new way to find more deals.

Every day we all are given the choice to be the person who sees opportunities everywhere, to be the person who complains everyone else is getting the opportunities, or to be the person who says, “What opportunities?” I truly believe there are opportunities everywhere if we just open our eyes and become present in the moment.

I hope this story inspires you to keep your eyes peeled and remain open to possibilities all around you.

Have you ever found a real estate opportunity unexpectedly?

Please share your experiences with me in the comments section below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.