Finding Multi-Family Deals - Looking for some advice/opinions!

16 Replies

Hi BP community! I've been lurking here long enough, figured it's time to start my first discussion. 

I'm looking for my next RE purchase and I was hoping to get some advice, opinions or best practices for finding multi-family deals - anything from 2-10 doors - be it duplexes, tris, quads or small apartment complexes. 

The city I'm looking to purchase in has about 50,000 people so it's not very big. The challenge is I'm trying to figure out the best way to reach out find and reach out to all of the owners of these in the city and see if they are interested in selling. 

So here's what I've done thus far: 

  • I'm all over the MLS but these don't come on there often
  • A realtor buddy of mine pulled an excel file of all the multifamily deals in the city which included the address and sales price. I hired a VA to go through all the online property records and get the date of the last sale, # of units, tax assessment and the owner name

I know I can go to or hotpads and when I see an apartment unit listed for rent, I can find out details about the complex. 

The challenge is the owners of these units most often don't live there so it's hard to reach them - not to mention I'm out of state so I can't drop by! Since most of the owners are companies I could find the address they registered the LLC with and mail them but that's probably not their residence or they may have moved (perhaps their mail could be forwarded).

Maybe the above is the best strategy but I wanted to throw this out there and get some thoughts from folks who are a) smarter than me and b) have found success in finding these listings.

For more context, my goal is cash flow via buy and hold (as well as BRRR which is what I did on my latest two doors I purchased - worked swimmingly!).

Any help is appreciated!


@Jason Magee Hello Jason, I am also located in Austin, TX. I myself is trying to get into the multi-family market. I am looking for something that is 5 units or above. This is because 5 units or above is considered a commercial loan and more asset based. What I have done is purchased a list of 5 units or more that are non corporate owned, non owner occupied, that has the owner as listed as living out of town or state. I have just started doing that for states I like to visit. Now I have just started doing this and I am also very new to this and have not had any success (yet) but I hope to give you another idea to try.

Good Luck.

@Shawn C. Great to meet a fellow Austinite! 

That's a great idea. Do you mind sharing with me how to get such a refined list - especially one with owners being out of state? I've read about this and heard it brought up in podcasts here on BP but I haven't thought about doing it for multi-family. 

I'd appreciate any advice you can give on the subject. Maybe we can meet up for coffee/lunch some time - my treat!

Thanks again for your help.

@Shawn C. That seems like a very useful list to have! I will be following this post to hear about how you were able to put that together. I too am looking for a duplex. I am wondering if this list is a typical service that can be found in various cities. I would also be interested to here about your analysis of other areas.

@Jason Magee I purchase a list from a listing service and ask them to provide me with all the things I mentioned. Then I sort that list myself to meet the specific requirements that I need for that day(s) of work.

I would love to meet for lunch or something. Send me a conecttion request and I will provide you with my email so we can keep in touch. I will try to help you in any way I can and who knows maybe one day we will work on a project together or will be bidding against each other on a house we want. LOL

Its all good though. I truly believe that we can always learn something new from people you work with not matter if they are new to investing or have been investing for years. 

I look forward to the possibility of learning something new from you.

@Allyssa McCleery You can purchase the type of you want from a listing broker. I have never heard of a area that it couldn't be done in. If I was pulling a list for duplexes I would request all duplexes that are non owner occupant with the owner either out of town and out of state. I would also start with non corporate owned duplexes unless there are not that many in the area you are trying to purchase in. You might want to see if you can get a list also for the above mentioned criteria and add in evictions or code violations.

Just something to think about and good luck.

Thanks for the help, @Shawn C. . Just sent you an invite to connect. Luckily, I'm not investing in Austin so hopefully we learn more from each other than have to compete! 

Catch up soon via email. 

Hey Jason, Im a small investor in south jersey, and you asked the same question thats been on my mind. I'll be following this post for sure. If there is anyone out there in the BP community that can help it would be greatly appreciated. I've been searching the net but cant seem too find a way to get the list of multi family property owners period. All the other criteria is a big bonus. Can anyone tell me the name of a good listing service or VA that could get the job done?

Hi @Mark Vandzura ,

As a follow up on this, @Shawn C. told me about ListSource which is a great resource and their customer service (via email) is incredible. They claim to cover 95% of the country so if they cover your city you will get all the info you need.

Unfortunately, ListSource didn't have data on my particular city (it's a small city without a county so it's a bit unique) but I took other folks' advice and I called the tax assessor's office and they provide the data to me for free in excel. 

The data came in a couple excel files so I had to do some maneuvering to get the data aligned. 

I'd recommend calling your tax assessor's office and offer to pay them - I bet they won't charge you or even if they do, it won't be much.

Good luck!


Hi Jason,

Thanks so much for the info. If I come across any other sources, I'll keep you in the loop. 

I'll call the assessor tomorrow. Did you get detailed info from them, such as out of state owners, or number of units. I'm wondering how much info they have. 

@Mark Vandzura I got the address of the property and the address where the property taxes are mailed which includes out of state addresses. 

I also got # of units but my city doesn't keep very clean records on that so a lot of them say zero units which obviously is incorrect.

Hey @Jason Magee ,

Thanks for the tip. The tax assessor was very nice and offered to compile a list of multi family units free of charge. She wasn't sure of all the info that it would provide, so I'll have to wait and see. She said it will take about 7 days.

I purchased my first multi this year and it was sourced through my realtor. I was originally looking at a 12 unit and he mentioned he knew someone with an 80 unit that may consider selling. Kept it off market and was able to acquire for far less than what it's worth. Moral of the story, networking is key. Talk to as many realtors as you can and let them know what you're looking for. Another way, which you mentioned, is direct mail. If you do this, I'd recommend sending the letter certified so the receiver won't think you're blindly mailing anyone with a multi.

Hey @Kyle R. , I agree, networking is key. I recently was able to set up a meeting, through a colleage of mine,with a gentleman who owns several large 100+ apartment complexes. He was more than happy to share his experiences with me and since we are not competing (I'm looking for deals on a much smaller scale than him) he mentioned that he may be able to connect me with a couple of people he knows that are looking to sell 18 to 20 unit buildings. It may amount to nothing but only time will tell. I'm thinking positive. And, it's one more person I have in my network.