How Should I Approach A Potential Off-Market Deal?

5 Replies

The house right next door to me is a single family rental. It was recently vacated by long-term tenants (9 years). The property owner is a former area native who moved to Florida years back.

I think this could be a potential real estate opportunity for my wife and I to begin our investment career. Given that the property has been managed at a distance, hasn’t needed new tenants in almost a decade, and is in need of some rehab, the owner might be motivated to get rid of it.

The property is in decent condition, though not without it’s rehab needs. I know it has some occasional drainage issues in the back yard and basement. I’m sure it needs cosmetic work inside and definitely on the outside. It is a three bedroom ranch, not sure if 1 or 2 baths, 1 car garage on a dead end street in the most preferred school district in the area.

The property was purchased for $95K in 1996 and I’m guessing would sell in it’s current condition in the low to mid $100s. Rehabbed, it might even go for $160-$170. I think this would be a good buy and hold property that I could rehab and rent in a couple of months time. Rental prices are $1200-$1500 on my street, all are very comparable homes.

My question, is what is a good way to approach the property owner with my interest to buy? I’m concerned that a cold call would put him on the spot and be an automatic closed door. Would a letter be an appropriate way to suggest this? Or Email if I can get his address? 


    A personal greeting (letter) can do wonders, especially if you live right down the street.  If he does not live there you may create a letter with some photos of the property and then describe how you and your wife (and future family) would like to get into a property right in your area.   With the photos you may be able to open up the negotiation table with proof of  the rehab needed, then present him your offer.  The problem is one letter may get thrown away, discarded or misplaced.  You should make a commitment and an automatic reminder that every two weeks, month, day even you will send a letter out.  persistence is the key.  Hope that helps and gives some ideas.  I am sure there are many more ideas about how to grab someone's attention.

Either phone or letter is fine, but be respectful. I see some investors make a list of everything that is wrong with a property, in the hopes of getting it for a steal. Simply say you live next door, noticed the long-term tenants had moved out, and wanted to contact him in case he was considering selling.

I love right-next-door properties, and am hoping to purchase some on my street soon - one is literally right next door.

When you do make contact with the seller, let them know you are interested in buying, and should he ever be interested in selling, to keep your information and contact you. Then if you are sending him a letter, give him every single way you can think of to contact you. If you are calling him, ask for his address so you can send him your contact information.

@Mindy Jensen That sounds like good advice. Thanks for your input! I'm sure time is of the essence since he won't want a long vacancy, so I may try a phone call first and then follow up with a "thanks for your time" letter with all of my contact info.