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

by | BiggerPockets.com

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

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!

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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!

About Author

Matt Faircloth

Matt Faircloth, Co-founder & President of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, is a developer and owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to “transform lives through real estate." Matt, along with his wife Liz, started investing in real estate in 2004 with the purchase of a duplex outside of Philadelphia with a $30,000 private loan. They founded DeRosa Group in 2005 and have since grown the company to owning and managing over 370 units of residential and commercial assets throughout the east coast. DeRosa has completed over $30 million in real estate transactions involving private capital including fix and flips, single family home rentals, mixed use buildings, apartment buildings, office buildings, and tax lien investments. Matt Faircloth is the author of Raising Private Capital, has been featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast, and regularly contributes to BiggerPockets’s Facebook Live sessions and educational webinars.


  1. Jerry W.

    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

      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 Faircloth

      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 Realtor.com 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 Faircloth

      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,

  2. Aleksandar P.

    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

      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,

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