How long did it take you to find your first duplex?

19 Replies

I'm starting to look for duplexes with a realtor. We've been looking for about 4 weeks now. So far I've looked at 6 properties most of them were in bad condition or in bad neighborhoods. Out of 6 properties I looked at we made 1 offer which didn't get accepted. The market looks pretty dead right now. There aren't any duplexes available. I'm in the Dallas Fort Worth Area. Is this typically how the process is?  

I read somewhere that the best deal never get posted, it's mostly insider investing. Is that true? 

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you 

Not in the Dallas area, but wanted to give you some hope.
I bought a duplex in Arlington VA in 2016. I believe the area has around 7 multi-family sales in the last 2 years, extremely rare. Duplex went under contract same day as listed. I went in as the backup offer and ended up with it. Stay with it, good luck.

There have been several articles about Dallas being the hottest market right now.. The giants market on facebook and youtube like crazy trying to get newbie investors to go pay for classes/services here. I am pretty sure that what is currently happening in Dallas is similar to that of a very hot sale publicized/marketed on the ads/tv. By the time you get there everything is gone, there may be SOME stuff left over but would you be better off shopping at the next best market? I'd bet the giants aren't shopping in Dallas right now... Their lending companies might be here (which could've been the reason the ad got published in the first place) so where are the big boys investing? Someones gotta be snatching all those discounts in Houston.

I would not be too discouraged by your results so far. It is extremely common to make lots of offers before getting one accepted. I'd be nervous about the buy if my first offer ever was accepted immediately. My biggest concern is that you drove out to 6 properties but only offered on one. Here are some things that have worked for me over the past year or two as I was trying to make my process more efficient:

1) Figure out what your definition of a "good return" for your market is - and it will vary based on asset class but should remain fairly consistent for your region. You're looking for a numerical value on each property, I use a cash on cash return percentage. 

2) Do your research beforehand (look at # of bedrooms, overall quality, cross-reference against Craigslist, Zillow etc.) and determine if it meets your criteria within at least a reasonable window of what you are willing to offer. If the property (even rehabbed) stands no chance of meeting your criteria without a rediculously lowball offer, you don't go see the property. This is 10 minute pre-work that avoids an hour or more of travel/showings.

My biggest point in all of this is that to make 6, or 10 or 25 offers without success is not that out of the ordinary if you're trying to get a deal. What you don't want to do is go on 100 showings to make 25 offers. I make an offer of some type on nearly every property I see (and I don't mean that I offer on everything, quite the opposite). Just use your predetermined standards to figure out if it's something at least within range, and then back into your offer number to meet your standards. You're trying to improve your ratio of showings:offers made in this way. 

It's also worth noting that if this is your first property, you might want to look at a million properties just for the heck of it and to get your feet under you. Six is by no means a large number of showings overall, I mention the above just to provide some suggestions on how to streamline your process in the future. But more showings will help you determine your standards and use your time more effectively.

If you keep looking at 7 duplex’s a month, then you will find something soon. Just make sure you have your finances lined up and you are ready to make an offer. Also think about contacting different brokers and let them know your an interested buyer. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Bradford Clark :

If you keep looking at 7 duplex’s a month, then you will find something soon. Just make sure you have your finances lined up and you are ready to make an offer. Also think about contacting different brokers and let them know your an interested buyer. Good luck!

 Thanks for the motivation. Here's the thing I've been working with a realtor and she had me sign an Agent Agreement. She's a great realtor and I plan to continue working with her. Am I allowed to contact other brokers still? I wouldn't want to cheat my realtor.

Originally posted by @Steve Miller :

I would not be too discouraged by your results so far. It is extremely common to make lots of offers before getting one accepted. I'd be nervous about the buy if my first offer ever was accepted immediately. My biggest concern is that you drove out to 6 properties but only offered on one. Here are some things that have worked for me over the past year or two as I was trying to make my process more efficient:

1) Figure out what your definition of a "good return" for your market is - and it will vary based on asset class but should remain fairly consistent for your region. You're looking for a numerical value on each property, I use a cash on cash return percentage. 

2) Do your research beforehand (look at # of bedrooms, overall quality, cross-reference against Craigslist, Zillow etc.) and determine if it meets your criteria within at least a reasonable window of what you are willing to offer. If the property (even rehabbed) stands no chance of meeting your criteria without a rediculously lowball offer, you don't go see the property. This is 10 minute pre-work that avoids an hour or more of travel/showings.

My biggest point in all of this is that to make 6, or 10 or 25 offers without success is not that out of the ordinary if you're trying to get a deal. What you don't want to do is go on 100 showings to make 25 offers. I make an offer of some type on nearly every property I see (and I don't mean that I offer on everything, quite the opposite). Just use your predetermined standards to figure out if it's something at least within range, and then back into your offer number to meet your standards. You're trying to improve your ratio of showings:offers made in this way. 

It's also worth noting that if this is your first property, you might want to look at a million properties just for the heck of it and to get your feet under you. Six is by no means a large number of showings overall, I mention the above just to provide some suggestions on how to streamline your process in the future. But more showings will help you determine your standards and use your time more effectively.

Thanks for all the tips. 

I was really shocked when I began my search. I never imagined it being this tight of a market. I will continue with my search, and try to be more strategically now. I was already doing some of the things you mentioned but I need to get more specific with my criterias so I don't waste time and gas looking at properties. 

I also want to practice evaluating more properties like you said, only problem is the number of properties are very little...so I'm limited. there. 

Do you think zillow is close with their prices assessment, the zillow zestimate? I'm finding it difficult to gauge what the properties will appraise at. Any tips there? I want to be competitive with my offer but don't want to be tight on money after the appraisal. I'm also having trouble understanding who my competition is, if that even matters. The first property I put an offer on the seller wouldn't say how many offers they'd received. It was in contract within 48 hrs.   

Originally posted by @Meron Fessahaie :
Originally posted by @Bradford Clark:

If you keep looking at 7 duplex’s a month, then you will find something soon. Just make sure you have your finances lined up and you are ready to make an offer. Also think about contacting different brokers and let them know your an interested buyer. Good luck!

 Thanks for the motivation. Here's the thing I've been working with a realtor and she had me sign an Agent Agreement. She's a great realtor and I plan to continue working with her. Am I allowed to contact other brokers still? I wouldn't want to cheat my realtor.

If you signed a buyer agreement, then I understand completely. Keep looking at different properties and ask your real estate agent for recently comparable sales. This can give you some basic numbers

Originally posted by @Meron Fessahaie :

I'm starting to look for duplexes with a realtor. We've been looking for about 4 weeks now. So far I've looked at 6 properties most of them were in bad condition or in bad neighborhoods. Out of 6 properties I looked at we made 1 offer which didn't get accepted. The market looks pretty dead right now. There aren't any duplexes available. I'm in the Dallas Fort Worth Area. Is this typically how the process is?  

I read somewhere that the best deal never get posted, it's mostly insider investing. Is that true? 

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you 

 They are very tough to come by.  For that matter any property in Dallas that is a deal is under contract, but especially duplex's are really really tough to come by.

As a matter of fact we have an offer on a duplex right now in Dallas, hopefully you aren't our competition....it went on the market on Friday, and was a multiple offer situation over the weekend.

Last year we put in 6-8 offers, full price, most of them all cash and didn't get anything until our realtor got us an off-market deal.  In fact one of the properties we were looking at ended up with 35 offers on it.

I think the thing is to just be patient.  Don't chase, there are some crazy offers out there, and even if you get the house under contract, it has to appraise.  Very very often many of these properties wont appraise for the agreed upon price, so the financing falls apart.

@Meron Fessahaie There just aren't a lot of 2-4 family properties built in Dallas. When you couple that with the insane flood of investors wanting rental property, you get low inventory and high prices. 

Try to go off market if you can. Keep looking at properties on the market too. Just be consistent, eventually you'll find something as long as you are being reasonable on your numbers. 

Originally posted by @Andrew Herrig :

@Meron Fessahaie There just aren't a lot of 2-4 family properties built in Dallas. When you couple that with the insane flood of investors wanting rental property, you get low inventory and high prices. 

Try to go off market if you can. Keep looking at properties on the market too. Just be consistent, eventually you'll find something as long as you are being reasonable on your numbers. 

I hear ya. Where can I look for off market deals other then on Bigger Pockets?

@Meron Fessahaie Hey Meron, have you considered looking on the outskirts of Dallas at possible up and coming areas?

Oh also, the market might seem dead (based on active MLS listings); however, the real estate business is a people business, so you might want to pivot and start networking at local meetups and you may find something there. Just a different perspective.

Hope this helps. Goodluck. Thanks! - Ola 

It took two months for us to find our first deal. We found two side by side 4-plexes. We were open to any "good deal." It took three months find our next deal, a group of 6 duplexes and one SFR. Both of these deal were MLS listed. The deal we are working on now is an off market deal that arose as a result of our previous deals. Get your real estate agent to set up an MLS multi-family search for each county where you are interested in looking, the emails I get are titled "Update on all XXXX County 2-4 units." Look at this email as soon as you get it because at least around here, the "good deals" that hit the MLS, don't last very long.

Hey, the struggle right now is very frustrating. Here in Chicago we’re dealing with the same problems. Low inventory and the inventory that is out there is for a lack of better terms **** and over priced. What you have to do is keep pushing forward and keep forging connections with realtors and possibly cold calling. You’ll get a lot of pissed off owners who say NO! And hang up but my last deal was done so and while they didn’t sell they had a friend who was thinking about it so we met. Talked. Built a repor. And in doing so kept it off MLS. We later found out she had 5 6 flats and we ended up purchasing them all with an easy sale because of the built connection.

Hope this helps!

Cramer

@Meron Fessahaie Wholesalers, direct mail, networking with agents/investors...for the right price, I've got one you can buy from me off market ;)

Took me over a year to find but finally found one and closing in early Feb!  Stick with it.  Don't fudge the numbers and be patient.  Don't want your first deal to be your last

I'll agree with others and the observation that you will  need to analyze and make lots of offers before you strike gold. Keep hammering away. Run some numbers beforehand to determine if it is even trip worthy. Keep pushing.

BUT, sometimes the stars align and a deal is created out of thin air.

For me, it was day 2 of my search. First MFR offer I ever did, which was $57,582.38 less than asking nonetheless! A wild stab in the dark. A very offensive offer to tell you the truth. Lower than it needed to be to make the numbers work.

The seller came back at $35,000 less than asking. I got it under contract in a heartbeat. 

So yes, the road is long and arduous most of the time. Though sometimes it is as easy as pie.

mine found me, right when I was about to give up lol.

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