The challenges of looking for property "out of area"!

12 Replies

The “out of area” for me is 2 hours. I don’t see how others do it if it’s in another state far away or in the same state more than 2 hours.

I’m finding this to be quite daunting. I like to drive areas to see if I really want to proceed and then send over to my agent the particulars. She’s great because she may know something I don’t like foundation issues (something never seen in the descriptions on the real estate web sites), which we then move on to the next property. So, yes she doesn’t just do the “robot” thing: “I’m only going to give you what you asked for.”

With homework and spreadsheet results in hand I plan on looking at some properties this weekend after my 2 hour trek.

Originally, when I asked my local-agent if she could recommend or find someone that I can work with in this area, she got back with me and gave me a name.

I called and found out that the realtor is a very young guy that unfortunately shows he has not been doing this work for very long (1 year to be exact, is being shepherded by his broker/owner more than what I thought would happen). I gave him what I was looking for and what I wanted to achieve in rent (of course that is not always doable given the market). We also talked about my expectations and I asked what he needed from me and if I send properties over what would work for him. So, initially I thought we determined what would work for both of us.

I met him on a trip up that was more for seeing friends and using that time to drive around the areas to lay eyes on. While I was there we had already pre-arranged to see one  property, unfortunately the property was trashed and beyond what I wanted to get involved with as an investment.

After that trip and more conversations to ensure both of use still had the same objectives, I ended up speaking with the owner/broker because he couldn’t answer any of the questions I had like giving me an ideal of which areas I could look at (of course without going against any ethical things that realtors have to abide by), rents I could get, area sales. Yes, I did the “web search for crime”, looked up some rental rates, and tried to narrow my areas to a smaller net of homes. By nature I am a researcher so if I say this is what I want then know I’ve already done my homework and have decided. There is a ton of information out there and I looked at learning a new area before dealing with any realtor. Maybe all agents work differently but my expectation is from my experience with my local-agent that is a forward thinker and communicates well and is well versed in her craft.

The conversation with the broker/owner he works for flooded my ears with cap rates and expectations on areas like students populate here or more professionals in this area but some grad students, if I am looking at student rental then I need to be weary of the cycles (in/out when they look for housing, etc). Wow, ok this is what I was asking for…..Ideally, the purchase price for as low as it can be bought and the rent that will cover the expenses and still have cash flow, and being rentable is the investment.

To the point of looking “out of area”, I am traveling to see properties and want to utilize this time effectively to see as much as I can given the fact that I can only do this on weekends. He asked, “which properties are you most interested in so we can *just* see those”? Well,…..I’m interested in the list I gave over so that I can lay eyes on the property and investigate if it’s worth pursuing. Is that unrealistic?

I had 12 properties initially that I would have narrowed down, but, it was narrowed down for me because 5 now have pending offers. I re-listed my list and every day one gets plucked from my list. Nature of the beast! I don’t think it to be unrealistic to see 7 properties in two days since I don’t live in this area. Am I going about this all wrong? I don’t think I am?!?. How best else to utilize the time knowing I only have a few hours to make a decision on what to pursue *if* to pursue at all. I’m utilizing the same mind set as if I were at home and found properties to look at, doing the same steps; it’s just a 2 hour distance away.

It took a little longer after getting comps to filter through and then just do some web searching because he gave me properties that were a year to 3 years old. How those would be comps, I’m perplexed. If there isn’t anything in the immediate area then don’t they have to go out of area to another sub-division/location? The last property I purchased, that’s just what happened, both the realtor upon giving me comps and the appraiser when it came time to do the loan, went further.

I’m an avid believer in helping someone and honestly, everyone is “new” at something at one point or another in their life. We all have to start somewhere. I’m just not sure how this will turn out. Of course the spreadsheets look good for the analysis but realistically, getting out and seeing the property and the area are what will for a greater percentage determine if it’s worth pursuing.

It was suggested to me I should let this pass and find someone else and that he’s not going to make it as a realtor. I will find out after this weekend and I hope for both of us it’s productive.

You need a Realtor that is Investor Friendly! What you are asking for is not out of the question for any investor starting with a Realtor. Maybe if you called a brokerage that dealt more with foreclosures and short sales. This way you know that they know the difference between a purchase and an investment. If you are looking around my area (Ocala) I can recommend someone. 

Hi @Raven Dorminey

Nice to meet someone close to my area. My cousin lives at the Villages so I'm down there often - well often enough. 

I'm looking in Tallahassee for MFR and SFR.

I thought the broker / owner would be the person I would be dealing with since she herself has property. She's told me a couple of times that she has 20 though on the appraisers site I only see 16 between her and her husbands name. Anyway, this guy is getting his queues from her/his team. 

I'm leaving tomorrow night to drive up to get a fresh start Saturday.

I hadn't thought of realtors that handle foreclosures and short sales - I may have to give that a try - need to see what happens this weekend.

Thanks, I will be sure to talk to you if I decided to go in that direction.

@Daria B.  

Yes, your broker might have many investments of her own, but she isn't that good at finding you a list of them to look at. The foreclosure Realtors usually work with investors and know what they are looking for as far as numbers. Also, ask for properties that fit your profile that have expired listings. Those sellers will likely be motivated to sell. 

Maybe there is a local REIA in the area you want to buy and you can contact them to see if they have any members that work with investors.

Sorry you are chasing your tail. I am starting the course to get my RE Liscence. I am going to focus on working for investors. I know what they want and hopefully they will buy cheap from me and let me list it to sell it for full market value.

Let me know how your weekend goes!


I'll try not to make comments which may not really prove useful to you so I will suggest you might look into any wholesalers in the areas you are looking into. They might have properties they are holding and making available to investors. Its not that common to find real estate agents who are investor friendly or even knowledgeable especially those new coming into the business because their real job is to sell the listings the broker has contracted to sell. 

I understand that you got in contact with this Realtor through a referral from someone you trust. It is simply not working. Move on. You are wasting your valuable weekend time. I would suggest contacting the listing agents for the homes on your list. Interview them and see if one of them is a better fit for you. Knowing the work you get, like and expect from your local agent gives you the advantage of knowing what you want. You won't get it from this young realtor you are trying to be patient with. He needs time to grow. Are you willing to give him the time he needs?

@Raven Dorminey

Also, ask for properties that fit your profile that have expired listings. Those sellers will likely be motivated to sell.

These I assume are properties that are off-market because they didn't sell at what they wanted?

@Gilbert Dominguez

I am clueless about wholesalers and what that entails. I honestly don't know where to look for them or what to say if I found one. And are they agents?

@Pyrrha Rivers  

to the point of contacting listing agents, if they are the listing agent it's in their best interest in selling it is not? How would they help me if it's their listing?

Although, yes I know what I'm looking for, I feel I need representation not just on ensuring the contract is what it is when that times comes, but also knowing that someone isn't just going to give me a bunch of not-in-my "criteria" listings (honestly I find a lot myself and I know there are properly other sources I have no access to).

I do read through contracts and my local-agent already knows what to put in for things like my contingencies to speed up the process. You know the going back and forth, please add this, take out that......

I'm already committed to looking at these homes this weekend. It's not a complete waste of time since I get to see the properties and do-the-thing-I-do. Also connecting with a friend whose wife is a RE agent who works with another guy. I "just" found this out so I need to find out more about her and her contacts. She may also be "new" I don't know. He said she was freelance and I didn't understand what that meant and didn't ask.

This also may lead me to speak again with the broker/owner as I would be tell her this isn't working and why.

Thanks all for your comments and I take them to heart and will use this information as I move forward. Have a blessed and wonderful weekend!

@Daria B.  My point in suggesting you contact the listing agents in simply to broaden your horizons when it comes to Realtors. The one that was referred to you is just too inexperienced to be able to help you at this time. I suggested that you contact those agents and “Interview” them to see if their style is compatible with yours and then perhaps you could build a relationship and use them as your buyer’s agent in the near future. Absolutely you need representation and to know your interests are being protected. However from your pots it doesn’t seem like you’re getting these needs met by your current agent.

@Pyrrha Rivers I didn't understand what you initially said. I get it now-building for the future. 

@Daria B. No problem. I'm glad you asked the follow up question and encourage you to make this a practice. If you don't understand, ask until you do.

Good job!

I'm going through this as well now. I have been finding all the properties myself but at this time I have no one in the area to work with, my first thought was to start by contacting the listing agent, if it goes well I can continue working with that same agent for future properties.

Since for me it'll be a 5 hour drive (Jax) I'll definitely need a property manager to help with the majority of the time. I was probably going to try to get a referral for a PM from whatever realtor I work with. This really sounds like the type of route that will probably lead me to a few duds but I have no idea how else to start at the moment.

@Dyanne C. I hear you. I went out of area because my area hasn't had anything that I was looking for and I found the prices to be ridiculous. This other area had better prices but it meant starting over again since I had no contacts what so ever. The realtor actually worked out better after the 2nd meeting and looking at the places i found. He came up with some others and we did an all day opening of doors. Of the 12 I narrowed it down to 4 and 1 I really like. And 2 I didn't want to see after driving in the neighborhood. But the one I really like as potential has to rent and I need to get it to a lower price than what they want. I also found that even though the home prices were lower for the same sq ft and typical amenities of the home, the home inspection, appraisals, WDO inspection are higher. WDO I was quoted as being $400 and home inspection as starting at $310. The appraisal starts at $500.

@Daria B. Hi there did someone mention wholesaler in the Tallahassee area. Welcome, this could be your lucky day. I am a wholesaler in Tallahassee.

Call me Tim Hall any Time.

Thank you.

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