Struggling to find my first deal

30 Replies

We are new at this and struggling to find our first house to flip. Everything seems like there isnt enough returned based on the amount of work needed. I think im in need of a good wholesaler or birddog to keep feeding me properties until i find the right one. Anyone have properties that could be good fits for me. Looking for something in Atlanta only. Any help would be great. Going to my first meeting this weekend so that should be good

@Shetal Gandhi - OK- not to be disrespectful, but if you can't find deals on your own, what makes you think that paying others to find deals for you will work? They likely have the same access to properties that you do. Birddogs are used by investors that are to busy to find their own deals.

The deals are out there, but you need to know what you are looking for....

Thank you for your input. I dont have much time to find my own deals so thats true, but also because this is all fairly new im not 100% sure what im searching for is exactly correct. i know its going to take time but finding the properties is really hard. 

@Shetal Gandhi - You need to determine what  a good deal in your market looks like. What if a wholesaler comes to you with a "deal". They offload their problem onto you because you are unsure of what you are getting into. I would recommend finding a mentor in your area that can teach/mentor you. Is it your day job that keeps you busy? What industry are you in?

yes, i have a day job as a programmer (IT) then i come home to 2 elementary school children. So as you can imagine time is limited.  

How do i find a mentor, and how does that work exactly. How do they get paid?

@Shetal Gandhi

take your kids out with you and drive your target areas to do direct mail marketing for deals.
good luck

@Shetal Gandhi - I would look at local real estate "meet up" groups. They exist is most areas and are a good way to meet people in the business. You can even search/connect with other investors on the BiggerPockets website.

A true "mentor" will teach you about your market and the business because they have a passion for real estate - they will not want your money. You will need to do your share by reading and learning as much as possible.

Thanks @Mark Brogan , i may just have to do that.

Account Closed, im going to my first meeting on saturday. Fingers crossed things go well

@Shetal Gandhi I would not recommend buying a deal based on what someone else tells you.  Even if they say it is a good deal, do the numbers yourself and do your own due diligence.  Trust but verify!  Learn to analyze properties on your own.  Use the calculators here on the website and run numbers for multiple houses before you dive in.  It will give you an idea of what is a good deal and what is not.  More so than you have now at least.  Why flipping?  Have you done this before?  Do you have experience with project management or know someone who does, or do you just have money burning a hole in your pocket?  Buy some books, read and learn.  If you don't have time to learn, find and evaluate your own deals then you shouldn't be trying to flip houses.  Maybe look into some long term gains with buy and hold investments.  Again do your home work on these types of properties.  It's not impossible to do, but harder with a day job and you just better know what your getting into.  

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!  Cheers. 


I am a newbie too and maybe a newer newbie than any of you,. However I would not hesitate to advise that there is a great book downloadable from Bigger Pockets itself called " A beginner's guide to RealEstate Investing".

You will have to make time to read though. And its free.

@Shamus Quirk   im new at wanting to flip. Not new at investing. I currently have 3 rentals which ive had for 10 years. Now we wanna start flipping

@Johnsy DSouza i will look into that. Of topic. Where is Auckland?

NewZealand. Now don't ask me where is that?

@Shetal Gandhi ok good!  It's a different animal!  Just know your numbers.  Don't take someone else's word for it.  Cheers!

Johnsy DSouza lol i know where that is, im from wellington, now live in GA, nice to meet a fellow kiwi on here

@Shetal Gandhi  Welcome to BP!  I share your pain.  I also have two young kids and I was in IT prior to jumping into real estate full time.

Here's the non-answer to your question.  Don't buy a flip.  If you have a hard time finding the time to identify a flip, then you would be overwhelmed once you found one.  It's very time consuming to flip your first ones and time is of the essence.  

IT programmers make very good money.  You should be looking for more rentals to create wealth and tax advantages vs. flips for increasing your income (I'm guessing).  

I agree with Rick. If you think finding a property is a lot of work wait until you actually get the construction project going. Nearly all the flippers I know act as GC on their deals or have built a team over years that can run with just a project manager. If you're looking to flip by paying a Birdog AND pay a general contract/ project manager, then i doubt you'll be able to find a deal in any market. 

My suggestion is like the others: Drive around looking for ugly houses, check the tax records for the mailing address, then start a mailing campaign. Mail 3 times the first month, 2 times the second, and once a month for another 6.

@Greg Saunders

What type of thing do you put in a mailing campaign.

Just by driving around what if the condition of the house is worse from the inside than out. (IE: a complete rehab). How do you know how much to pay? Sorry soo many questions.

@Rick Baggenstoss

 Rentals is most likely how we will go in the future but for now trying to find a way to build a bit of money, before we settle for rentals only. Yes IT pays well, my husband is a pharmacist so that pays well too, hence we don't get any of the tax advantages of rentals like most do.

Try plugging numbers from different flips into the BP flip calculator, and also keep the rules of thumb in mind. If you see a house that's selling for 50k, surrounded by houses that are worth $110k, you know you've got an opportunity to put in 20-30k and make 20-30 in profit. Keep the 70% rule in the front of your mind just to help weed out some of the ones that definitely won't work. There's a lot of podcats on flipping that might help you as well.

@Shetal Gandhi as a programmer, you are likely ahead of most REI folks in terms of what you can do with data.

mash yourself a simple geodatabase from redfin csv's or assessor shapefiles. get up on qgis (20 minutes) and make some visual databases for your programmer self. Start reading everything in the forums. It will take a couple of weeks, but it will answer all of your questions. 

Drop me a line if you wish, best of luck and keep us posted!

Seattle Duplexes, 2015

In the area I live now,  it is difficult to find homes to flip and make a profit in my price range.  They are just not worth the work and cost for the slim profit.   I have been looking in other cities to find a price point I want.

my advice is to stay patient and you will find something that works. nothing is perfect though so you might have to give and take a bit. how are you searching? as a realtor i would not recommend zillow, or trulia since they are rarely accurate and by the time you see the listing, it will already have multiple offers. go ahead and drive around neighborhoods that you see potential and talk to owners that are looking for a way out. also, find a realtor in your area ( they are free to buyers) because we know of listings before they hit the market which would give you an advantage! good luck and message me if you have any questions  

I'm new to flipping myself.  I think following /shadowing other flips in the area could help, even if the investor doesn't know you are.  I'm not saying walk in on the site but pass by and try to follow what is going on.  Also local meetings , big big help.  Also helpful to me was pick an reo, and completely run a mock situation that includes everything you can think of.  Just some thoughts from another newbie like myself.   People on this site are great for helping out.   

@Shetal Gandhi

Hey man,

It is tough getting started! For sure the toughest part is actually jumping on a deal that you know is a deal. This is because the unknown water looks so deep and murky; however, the biggest advice I can give you is take a look in the area you live, or an area that is a little more affordable outside of where you live! 

@Mark Brogan hit the nail on the head when he told you to jump in the car with the family and drive to areas you know. If you want to do it on the cheap and not ask for any professional help at first (i.e. real estate agent), then just pull up Zillow or Redfin. Yes, the prices are not always on point, but you know the inventory of that area and the prospects you would be able to drive by. Check the school ratings in the area, check the park access, check the crime rate, and check walking distances for stores/shopping. What it comes down to is local knowledge and comfortability in that knowledge.

Once you buy your first you will be able to apply that knowledge to that next deal and keep moving forward. You'll get it, just keep the passion and motivation going!

Good Luck,


Get an investor friendly Realtor who has property themselves.  They will point you in the right direction.  Also, have you thought of using or similar sites?  I used a combination of those to close on my first deal recently.  (sight unseen from Thailand)  Nerve wracking and a bit more risky, but you reduce risk with a good realtor, property manager etc.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here