Connecting with sellers NOT on the MLS

5 Replies

Hello BP community! 

My name is Ben Allison and am working toward buying my first rental. My plan/goal is to find a SFR or duplex to get my feet wet in the business and I plan to house hack as this will be my first property. I recently began driving for Uber in order to raise more capital while I look for properties in the area. One of the best things about driving for Uber is that I get to drive for dollars while I'm, quite literally, driving for dollars. I have been seeing many properties in my backyard that look to be great opportunities with a little sweat equity. I have a background in the trades so Im looking for a property with a little work. I would like to begin contacting the owners of some of these properties but am apprehensive as to how to do this. If there is anyone on here with experience finding deals not on the MLS, Id love to hear how you go about contacting these sellers! I want to begin sending letters but don't want to scare any of these potential sellers away by misrepresenting myself.

Thanks in advance,

Ben Allison

Hi Ben,

Welcome to BP and real estate investing! You can search for the names of the target homes on your list on the local assessor's database and then look up phone numbers on the paid version of White Pages, or some similar service and start cold calling. This method definitely works but be prepared for inaccurate phone numbers, as I have yet to find a phone number lookup service that is more than 75% accurate. 

One of the most successful off-market strategies I've employed is simply telling everyone I come across that I am looking for xyz property in the area, (I've heard this advice from other smart investors on BP and elsewhere). You'd be surprised at who knows about someone thinking about selling. From personal experience, people outside of the real estate industry know about better deals than brokers, other investors etc. Not only can Uber bring in some cash, but it may be where your next deal comes from. I would encourage you to tell any of your riders that are up for talking about what you're doing. They may know someone who's thinking about selling. As a rider, I've gotten a deal from an Uber driver who knew his cousin was thinking about selling the three family property he was living in. Tell everyone you meet what you're doing! 

Looking for houses that need work certainly makes sense, but remember, pretty much every house that hasn't just been flipped could use some work. The key is finding someone that is actually considering selling. 

Good luck!


Thanks a million, Max. 

I generally try to tell every rider who is interested about my current plans and have made a few contacts through doing this.  I will most certainly continue and hopefully something will come across me and I can have the same success you have had! Awesome to hear someone has found a deal with a similar method! Ill begin digging for phone numbers ASAP.  

Have you ever had success writing letters or knocking on doors? Again, not trying to be too forceful and wind up misrepresenting what I'm trying to accomplish, however, I also don't want to let any opportunity slip past me. 

Thats great to hear, Ben keep it up! 

Yes to both writing letters/door knocking; however, I wouldn't take the traditional direct mail approach where you send thousands of letters per month. To get a deal you either have to spend thousands per month and win on volume, or be very targeted and specific with your outreach. Personally, I would always want to have a specific reason I want to buy their house in particular that I can communicate verbally at the door or in a hand written letter. 

Maybe start by door knocking and if they're not home write a letter in your car and put it in there mailbox? Most people don't care about "quick closing!" "all cash!" salesy type offers. They want to like you and trust you, so be honest with why you're there and always make sure to understand what's important to them. 

@Max Taylor  

If you want accurate numbers you need to hire a PI.  If you send large lists of names it can be very cost effective believe it or not!

@Max Taylor , okay awesome. I obviously have read about direct mail several times but it really felt like a crap shoot to me. Too much so that’s it doesn’t quite feel like it’s worth the battle just starting out. 

I’ll definitely be sending personal letters. That feels the most sincere to me. My biggest fear is to be a walking infomercial complete with eye-roll. 

Thanks again for all the help! 

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