Real Estate Investing Basics

6 Smart Tips for Getting the “First Look” at Every Hot Deal

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Commercial Real Estate
161 Articles Written

Hey there BP! So let’s talk about something called “first look”.

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Perhaps you’ve heard of it. If you are getting first look at a deal, that means you are the very first viable buyer to get the chance to do a deal.

There is no other competition, it’s your deal to take or pass on.

For the really hot deals, the investor that gets first look will scoop the deal up before anyone else even hears about it! Getting first look at deals can make a world of different in your business. There are some deals that I got first look on that would have sold for much more than my “buy price,” had they gone on the open market due to competition bidding it up.

We are going to talk about what you buy-and-hold and buy-and-flip investors need to do to establish yourself as a ready, willing, and able buyer so that you get first look in your market place.

Here are six tips that have worked for me! Let’s get started!

1. Get Prepared First

So although it might be tempting to run right out and start shaking the trees to get that hot deal, you want to make sure you are in the position to act when the deal comes up.

Research your marketplace, decide what kind of deals you want to do, and most importantly get your money lined up. I can tell you that the great deals are not going to stick around for long so you better be ready to close quickly! Network with some potential private lenders and banks that will finance you quickly when that hot deal comes around.

Related: 10 Smart Tips for Building Trust With Private Money Lenders

2. Find the Deal Generators

So to get the good deals you need to know who’s generating those good deals right?

Let’s call them: Deal Generators.

These can be wholesalers and Realtors, or even other investors that are willing to pass along some deals they get for a fee. The first step to getting first look is to make a list of these people and make yourself known to them. Let them know that you are a ready and willing buyer and can close quickly. And since you did Step 1 first, this will be the truth!

It will take some time to develop trust with the Deal Generators, so don’t expect First Look after you make the initial contact. Check in with them regularly to make sure they know you are still hungry for a deal!

3. Have Integrity

So integrity is huge in this business.

Simply put, it means that you do what you say you are going to do.

In the world we live in, integrity is not a given. If you have high Integrity with your Deal Generators, they will know they can trust you. So when you tell them you are going to call them on a certain day, go and drive by a deal they have, or when you tell them you are going to do ANYTHING… DO IT!

This goes for the small stuff like "let me call you back in 5 minutes" or "I will meet you there at 10 AM". It's even more important on the big stuff like "I will make an offer on that deal by tomorrow" or "we will close next week".

And avoid – at all costs – the most important integrity breach: making offers you can’t back up. If you put a first look deal under contract and then back out without a good reason, you are done. If you lose your Integrity with a Deal Generator, it’s very hard to build it back.

4. Make Decisions Quickly

Most first look deals don’t stick around for long.

I have had to make a call on a deal within 24 hours several times or the deal would go public. If you drag your feet too much you may lose the deal to the next buyer.

That doesn't mean don't do your due diligence, but learn how to do it quickly. Once you are under contract you can always go out for a second or third site visit before closing to make sure you caught everything.

5. Create Win / Win Situations

This phrase gets thrown around all the time thanks to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and it still is applicable today.

No one likes to lose.

If you create a situation where the Deal Generator feels like you got the upper hand on them, you probably won’t get a call the next time they have something. Wholesalers and Realtors have to make money also. As I joke sometimes “It’s not a hobby, I’m in this to make money!

Bottom line, don’t beat up the Wholesaler too hard on their fee, and don’t stress too much if the Realtor is representing both sides and getting a double commission. If the deal works for your goals and puts money in your pocket, don’t worry about what they are making to get that deal on your plate!

I also like to reward my Deal Generators with a nice celebratory dinner or lunch once I profit from the first look they gave me. It’s a fairly cheap way to say thanks and it gives you a chance to build some relationship and trust with them.

6. Stay in Touch

The world moves quickly these days. Deal Generators receive calls all the time from prospective buyers so if you don’t stay in front of them they may forget about you. When your deal pipeline is getting thin make sure they know you are still out there and hungry for the next one.

So that’s what’s been working for me. Perhaps you have some other tactics to get the first look, so please share them below!

Thanks for reading!

Matt Faircloth, co-founder and president of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, i...
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    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Matt, thanks for the post. I do not have many deal generators around, but I always try to do something nice for folks who let know about deals even if they are bad. I figure the more my name is out there the quicker I will find that deal.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Jerry, It’s a great strategy to acknowledge people for thinking of you – when you say you are doing some thing nice are you giving them a gift? That’s nice of you I will have to look for some deals in your market, LOL. In all seriousness I would not reward people for giving you deals that you don’t do. For deals that I make money on I gladly give referral fees or gift cards. They go a long way! Also I bet there are more deal generators in your market than you think! Keep digging. Matt
    Chukwudi Motanya Investor from Lithonia, Georgia
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the article Matt. Any idea on the best way to find deal generators when you are an out of state investor?
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Chukwudi, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. So you are an out of state investor… Do you have access to the local MLS? If so you can search recent sold deals and make a list of the realtors that represented the buyers and sellers in your target area. You may be able to do that on also, not sure. Also call any realtor that has more than two listings in your target area. You can also look on Loopnet if you are seeking commercial deals or mid sized multi family. For wholesalers it gets a bit more complicated as they are not as easy to find. Try surfing craigslist in your target area under homes for sale. Also do a Google search in the target area for things like “i buy houses”, mortgage relief, or short sale companies. All of these companies either do wholesale deals themselves or work closely with wholesalers. I hope that helps! Matt
    Sonny Smith Investor from Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Straightforward and very practical advice. Thanks for sharing these nuggets of wisdom Matt!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Sonny, Thanks for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed. Take care! Matt
    Tony Sehgal from Montgomery, New Jersey
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Good basic points to consider before making first deal.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Tony, Thanks for reading. I actually use these tactics on a regular basis. They are definitely good tips for a first deal but investors need to work on getting the First Look on every deal, new investors and seasoned ones! Take care, Matt
    Aleksandar P. Investor from Chicago, Illinois
    Replied over 5 years ago
    This is one of the best articles I have read on BP lately. Honest, practical and to the point, without endless fluff. Thanks a lot Matt. If you come to Chicago, let me know, so I can take you on a lunch. You don’t have to generate any deal for me though 🙂
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Aleksandar, Thanks, your comment meant a lot to me. I’m glad the article came across that way as it’s what I strive for! I’ve always wanted to see Chicago so I might just take you up on that, LOL. The same offer is out there for you coming to New Jersey! Take care, Matt
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Zuarikarthik, Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. Best of luck with your condo deal. Matt
    Andy H. Investor from Stockdale , Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great article with lots of practical wisdom. I always enjoy reading your articles (and Liz’s). They get straight to the point and are well thought out.