Real Estate Wholesaling

The Best Kept Secret for Finding Off-Market Deals

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, AskBP, Real Estate Investing Basics
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In the BiggerPockets Podcast #332, I asked two successful wholesalers, how they’re finding deals. Here’s what they had to say.

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How to Find Off-Market Real Estate Deals

Investors Adam Johnson and Brent Moreno are masters of finding deals. In fact, they've achieved a 56 percent response rate when using one particular method to contact property owners. Here they describe the unique four-step process they utilize to keep their wholesaling pipeline full of deals.

Step 1: Pull lists

The first thing is good deals are created—not found. So, we have a multitude of things that we work on. We pull several lists, everything from divorce to probate to pre-foreclosures, HOA liens, tax delinquents, and water lists (every property that’s had water shut off in the last six months—a clear sign that it’s vacant).

This is how we discover distressed properties. Everything else is coming from the courthouse. If it’s not, we’re using tools like REIPro, PropStream, and ListSource to find absentee or out-of-state owners.

Other than that, we have a courthouse runner that goes down there. We’re in Mississippi. Technology is about 10 years behind; our stuff isn’t available online. So, we physically go to the courthouse to get all that information.

So, that’s the way our funnel works. We pull those lists, we throw it into a skip tracer, and it traces everything and removes all potential litigators and everyone from the DNC (do not call) list. We’re using Lead Sherpa.

Step 2: Text message

Then, it’s a text blast. But it’s not a text blast in the sense of I hit the button, so it’s actually legal. It’s legal because I’m hitting the button every single time; it just merges their information into every message. That’s our first step. We hit everybody with that.

With this, we get about a 56 percent response rate. Prior to that, we thought we were doing good with an 18 percent direct mail response rate.

Related: 27 Ways to Find Real Estate Deals

Step 3: Cold call

Some of those, we get a text or call back, and we start dealing with those right away. The callbacks go to our lead manager. She handles all the text messages, too. Our AMs in other markets are handling all their text messages. But all the calls are coming back to our lead manager, who screens them and books the appointments.

If we don’t hear back from the people we texted, they go into our cold call list. Our cold caller then hits everyone we didn’t hear from (from the text messages).

From there, we take all the people who said “do not call” or “not interested” and take them off.

Step 4: Direct mail

But if we still don’t hear from you, we mail you. The letter basically just has a few bullet points. It says, “Hey, I may be interested in purchasing your property at such and such address. I’m not a Realtor looking to list your home. I’m a local investor wanting to purchase it.”

And then the bullet points say no fees, no commissions, no hassles. We buy as-is. If you’re interested, give us a call.


What do you think of Adam and Brent’s funnel? 

Leave a comment below!

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    John Underwood Investor from Greer, South Carolina
    Replied about 1 year ago
    How are you getting owners cell phone numbers? I have been getting calls from wholesalers and have wondered how they find my number.
    Darwin Crawford Rental Property Investor from Scottsdale, AZ
    Replied about 1 year ago
    TLO, Enformion, batchskiptracing dot com, etc. All for sale. Some specialize in cell phones.
    Joel Stauber
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Latoya Tomlinson from Charlotte, North Carolina
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Hi Brandon, Do you have any recommendations for good text messaging software/programs? Thanks!
    Dillon Harrington
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Check out
    Ronald Hinzman New to Real Estate from Rochester NY
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Hi Dillon, I checked out, do u know if they text blast people in a legal way? Such as Brandons talking about? Personally i want to txt blast a preforcloser/vacant list.
    Pauline Jones Residential Real Estate Broker from New York City, New York
    Replied about 1 year ago
    where do I find turned off water lists?
    Jazlynn Gibbs Flipper/Rehabber from Georgia
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Interesting 😂 I’m done... going back to work now.
    Dillon Harrington
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Yeah, Great question!
    Bob Davidson from San Francisco, CA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    There's nothing new here. These techniques have been around for some time. Left off the list are 1. Door knocking - time consuming but very worthwhile, 2. Email marketing, and 3. silent voice mail marketing.
    Wesley C. Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I’m not a lawyer, but I believe #3 may be illegal.
    Kenneth Wilk from Dallas, Texas
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Shame on you (y'all) for suggesting that we invade people's phones with text messages. This should NOT be allowed. Such solicitations on my private phone really piss me off.
    Neil Aggarwal Lender from Richardson, TX
    Replied about 1 year ago
    There are always going to be unwanted calls and texts. If one company does not do it, others will. Even if you are on the do not call list, people overseas still call you. You can't control it from the source. My phone allows me to block numbers from contacting me. I add people that contact me to that list. It knocks down the unwanted calls and texts very quickly.
    Kim F. Investor from CA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I agree. I don't even answer my phone anymore unless I recognize the number. If I get an unsolicited text I reply with something to the effect of "I might have considered your offer/candidate if you hadn't sent me an unsolicited text." My SIL has the best response to solicitors- she's tries to convert them to Christianity. LOL!
    Ryan Mercer
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Then register on the national Do Not Call list. Easy to do online. It says IN THE ARTICLE that they do not text people on that list (because it's illegal).
    Albert Thuilot
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I guess that puts you in the category of 44% not responding...OR puts you in the 'want to tell someone off', so 56% response rate? Hmmm...
    Christianna Ortiz Investor
    Replied about 1 year ago
    What text message service are you using?
    RJ Sidhu Rental Property Investor from Fairfax, VA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Hey Brandon, Good article, do you wish to answer the questions posted here?
    Christos Christou from Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 1 year ago
    How can you find which properties have had the water shut off?
    Christopher Beeler
    Replied about 1 year ago
    This is very interesting. Can you provide a source of proof around #2, "it's actually legal"? From what I've read it seems that texting is 'opt-in' only. The TCPA states that "clear and conspicuous disclosure" is required even if a business has an individual’s phone number or already has an “established business relationship”. I was under the impression that written consent is required. Have I been wrong to all this time?
    Jan Koontz from Scottsdale, Arizona
    Replied about 1 year ago
    What are the sources for the lead lists: divorce, tax liens, probate, etc. that you stated? Thanks
    Roberto Lugo
    Replied 10 months ago
    Article says the courthouse
    Albon Shaw
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Sounds like a good overall strategy. I'm also curious if the local water utilities are providing you the lists, and if not where you are getting them. Thanks for your article!
    Aaron Williams from Mobile, Al.
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Great info. I'm with the others wondering where you get the water lists. Thanks for the article
    Jeff V. Investor from Deridder, Louisiana
    Replied about 1 year ago
    As far as the water lists, I heard in a few podcasts that if the water municipality is public then the lists are public information and can be requested from the water municipality directly. Have yet to try it, but makes sense to me. Jeff
    Glen A Hassard
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I guess the million dollar question is: How many deals are you closing from this?
    Drew Winningham Flipper/Rehabber from Bangor, ME
    Replied about 1 year ago
    “So, that’s the way our funnel works. We pull those lists, we throw it into a skip tracer, and it traces everything and removes all potential litigators and everyone from the DNC (do not call) list. We’re using Lead Sherpa.” What is a skip tracer, and what kind of litigators are we worried about?
    Carey Greiner Real Estate Broker from Bend, OR
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Heard these guys on a podcast and love that they learned making sure the seller is getting what they want gives these guys a level of success other want too. Love all the options to get more sellers calling.
    Omar Bunch from Hardin County, KY
    Replied about 1 year ago
    How does one go about getting the water shut off list?
    Matt Skog from Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Where would I find your list of things that a courthouse runner does? Besides physically going there frequently, I know my way around to looking up a property's mortgage balances, but still can't figure out a method of finding holders of a CFD. I can only stumble across them at random. Are there any lists specifically for this?
    Duane Kidman Professional from Mansfield, Texas
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I am surprised you didn't mention SEO, Facebook, PPC, etc. Are you not getting leads from these sources?