How are you finding your deals?

26 Replies

Hey BP family hope all is well.

My goal is to get a property under contract to either wholesale or partner with someone by the end of the year. If not I’ll at least have moment going into the new year but I am laser focused on achieving my goal.

I have a list of addresses from list source which I am preparing to mail to. I am also going to start driving for dollars and door knocking. I have my neighborhoods selected and will focus on these pockets heavily. Also have a RE agent keeping an eye out for properties and sending me data.

I am curious to know what techniques are you guys using to find properties. I know that every market differs from the next. What works for you in your city. Anyone in Los Angeles, what has worked pretty good for you specifically. Also what have you found that work in your city/town? Looking forward to your responses.

I'm disappointed no one has answered. I before getting on BP, I just used the MLS (with an agent), the newspaper, and Craigslist (the normal way, not the way BP suggests lol). I just joined 2 weeks ago and am not planning to buy again until 2018, but when I do, I expect to use Craigslist the way they recommend, do Driving for Dollars (with a friend's help as I have a brain injury from Iraq and can't drive), foreclosures through the county list, and of course, the MLS. lol We'll see how well that goes in a few months. :-)

Another one disappointed that no one responded on this thread. :-(

I was told "get in touch with some investors and wholesalers".

How does one do that? 

We're still doing MLS with agent currently - but then again, we don't have time for anything more "professional", as we're doing this on the side.

@Jody Schnurrenberger sounds great. I’ve heard of using craigslist, but haven’t given it much thought. I’m pretty sure it varies by market.

@Cristina S. Have you attended any meet ups in your area? Start your networking there and you’ll meet a ton of people that way.

Ho Dorian,

Would these be people that I can buy from - as  in "wholesalers"? Or just other investors who tell me to get in touch with wholesalers but nobody really knows where they are and how to get in touch with specific people?

I have been contacting listings that are overpriced and have been on the market way too long...my conversations are usually less than 3 minutes and go something like this "I'm Dustin with HomeSmart....I like your property listed at 225, I have cash buyers that I would love to show this to but they want to make x amount of profit and would be willing to pay somewhere around x amount....I usually wait for there response which is anywhere from f#%$& off to "the seller won't take 175 but he would consider 185"....I would say I can get a 20-40 thousand discount on about 1/3 of my calls...I've never had one of these calls last longer than five minutes.

All right, fine. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. I'm a home improvement contractor. I buy and manage my own properties. I make all-cash, no-contingency offers. I've been burned by this. I expect to be burned again. I mitigate this risk as much as I can by work and study, but I do not take risks I cannot cover. I only invest in a property what I could theoretically put on the ground and burn and still have my business survive. I use my own cash or secure my loans with my own property, so it's mine to win big with or lose big with.

If you're relying on the MLS in this town to find deals, you're at least two steps behind your competition. Easily the best source of cheap leads in this town are distressed properties, and the easiest way to find them is on the monthly sheriff's sale lists. When you buy them at the auction, you have to be sure you've done a competent title search. If you don't know how you've got to pay someone to do it, and that costs money. No title search is ever perfect, and so there is some risk involved. Thankfully, doing a title search in my county is reasonably easy once you learn the process. There are plenty of people who make money off this who flutter their hands and insist it's incredible dangerous to bid on properties at a foreclosure auction, but really, it's not, once you've spent a few months learning the process and the law in your state and county. Most investors shy away from this kind of buying, and so the old adage that opportunity is often missed because it goes around dressed in overalls and looking like hard work is proved out yet again.

In an aging community like this, the second-best places to find properties right now and for the next twenty years are agents, specifically agents who are deeply embedded in their communities and have thousands of contacts. Those agents who have stuck with the game for twenty or thirty years, patiently building up giant networks. These are the agents who read the obits every morning and make notes. They always have a contact who can introduce them to the next of kin if they don't already know them. They have enough suits to get through six or seven funerals a month. They are specialists in pocket listings and sales of the estates of the dead.

These agents are always looking for cash buyers who make firm offers and close quickly. They'll take any offer to the kids of the deceased (who very often live elsewhere), and convince them that they can trust Uncle or Auntie Agent who they met when they were still kids that this is a perfectly fair price for their parent's place as-is for cash, no home inspection, no contingencies, no paint, no renovation, cash on the barrelhead in 30 days or less...because who can stand to come back to western Pennsylvania and sift through Mom's towering piles of crap, excuse me, collectibles?

How do you find these agents? That, ladies and gentlemen, is a real trick in this day and age. Because nobody calls them off an ad. They find their own business. Typically, they work for itty-bitty independent agencies, if for anyone. Don't expect to find their email addresses online, maybe as the listing agents on Zillow.com. They're definitely not here on BiggerPockets.com. They are in their 50s and 60s, members of the last vestiges of the analog world. This is their last hurrah on the American real estate scene.

One way to find them is through tradesmen. These agents know every independent plumber and electrician in their operating area. They've called all of then at some point during their careers to fix something wrong with a house for sale. So if you can find a list of licensed plumbers or electricians in your area, you can find a referral to the kind of agent I'm talking about.

An experienced agent like this is solid gold for a real estate investor, and you should make contacts with two or three in your target areas at least.

All of this of course means you had better be able to do solid home inspections yourself, because you'll never afford to pay a home inspector for all the places you look at. That means there's no hand-fluttering and mincing around about piles of junk, stink, missing appliances, busted doors and windows, ugly popcorn ceilings, damaged floors, possible asbestos, OMG, is there is mold on this wall? BLACK MOLD??? Are those RAT DROPPINGS??? You've got to actually know the product you're buying if you're going to successfully pry houses away from the clutches of the dead and their even more grasping adult children.

Now I know at least 80% of the people reading this think they're going to get into real estate as some kind of investment strategy or magical get-rich-quick endeavor and never get their hands dirty in the ways I'm describing. They want "Real Estate Sanitized For Your Protection." Let me ask you something: if a dude with a perfect manicure and bleach teeth came up to you and promised you that you could make huge money renting out portable toilets for construction sites and outdoor events, you might believe him if his numbers were convincing, right? But would you believe him if he promised you you'd never have to smell crap?

Originally posted by Account Closed:

@Jody Schnurrenberger

Find the tradesmen, find the agents.

Save the cheerleader, save the world!

 Now based on your responses and strategy, you're the last person I would peg to quote a line from HEROES!!! Haha

Account Closed  like all things its highly regional.. the OP is in LA  average home prices is north of 500k.

you go to a Trustee sale ( no sherrif sales in CA) and its cash on the spot.. and there will be competition bringing oh 3 to 10 million per investor in cashiers checks that day... that's your competition.. its not like were you live were you put down a small deposit and have 30 days to close.. and you can walk from the deposit if you don't like it.. ( at least that's how it has worked for us on the other side of the state at sherrif sales I have personally bought).  So big difference on west cost in our cash and carry no do over states.

in your market you have all sorts of opportunities and I would do exactly what your doing and I have done that for the last 40 years. the MONEY is made knowing how to work the courthouse.. by that I mean exactly what your describing.

In Ca  long term wholesaling is extremely difficult with a failure rate in the high 90 % tile range..

long term viability in that market is more towards licensed activities or putting together your financing and being able to close.. there are not vacant houses all over the place and even bad fixers sell for big bucks..

Not to be a Debbie downer but boy I just see a lot of wheel spinning in those areas.. uber competition and the need for real money .. as in big money.

Hey @Dorian Jones ,

I always have five different marketing strategies when I’m hunting for the next deal.

Here are a few that have worked for me:

1: Driving for Dollars: This takes up a lot of time because it requires you to do follow up research and send out letters or make phone calls.

2: Bandit Signs: Putting up signs in high traffic areas is a great way to get attention. Be careful, however, officials may have a problem and fine you. I always put them up on Friday night and take them down Sunday night because town officials don’t usually work during these days.

3: Network: Go around and talk to attorneys, find out what they specialize in, and let them know what you do. This is a fantastic way to gain leads, attorneys help with divorces, foreclosures, deaths in the family, etc., because in events like these, real estate is usually always handled by an attorney.

4: Newspapers: This is my least favorite, yet most helpful way you can find leads. Read the arbitrary section and kindly reach out to the families of those who have recently passed. With the upmost respect, introduce yourself and let them know what you do for a living (no pun intended). Don’t push too hard, let them come to you when they are ready. Also, offer to pay for their attorney’s fees (for the real estate sale transaction), they probably have a lot of things to pay for during that time.

5: Local Businesses: I print a small simple description of what I want the public to read on the top half of a normal 8.5x11 piece of paper. The second half I fold up and tape or staple the sides in order to create a pocket. In the pocket I leave business cards. I make 20-30 of these per town and leave/pin them in as many businesses as I can around town. Most stores have a designated area for marketing material, and it’s free! If I see a lot of potential, however, I talk to the owner and tell them that for every lead I receive and purchase who uses the owner’s name / business name, I will donate $500-$1000 to a local charity. (If they have kids around the business, which I can strongly relate to, I offer an option to purchase them a EE bond, which is a bond used for education expenses.)

Alright, that’s all I’m giving away for today! I have many more ways to gain leads but it won’t help you very much at this point. I would recommend that you pick and stick to a handful of strategies, focus your time into them, and do them full heartedly. Once you feel that you’ve fully exhausted these strategies, you could move on to a new set.

Good luck!

-Elvis

It took me a year or so to get on a number of wholesaler lists, get informed through various sites, etc. It is not easy and you need to be persistent, attend networking groups, sign up for email lists, etc. and then pursue leads that meet your criteria.

Direct mail and online marketing (PPC and SEO) are how I've picked up 95% of all my deals this year.  I've also gotten referrals to people with inherited houses that need to sell.  I got the referrals because my network knows that I buy them, so make it a practice of letting people know what you are looking for.

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@Account Closed Appreciate the knowledge. I’ll read this multiple times just to absorb it all and apply as much as possible to my deal hunting tool bag.

@Jay Hinrichs in your experience what is a great way to steal around in the Ca/La market? Not here today and gone tomorrow.

@Elvis Methoxha thanks, that’s more than enough. I actually thought about leaving things at businesses but realized it wouldn’t work well in the neighborhoods I’m shopping for deals in. Here in LA you see bandit signs on every other corner. They’re flooded all over the town.

@owen d.
Have you heard of anyone receiving good return rates threw social media marketing?

Hey Dorian,

I think there’s a big real estate expo in LA this weekend (Nov 4&5) and guessing there’s a huge networking potential there. I’ve tried a few other real estate networking groups in LA but they are hit and miss.

Another idea is to hit up CPAs and Tax professionals that represent wealthy people. Ask if the have any clients that need to sell properties to recognize gains or losses within the 2017 tax year. I know some people getting good deals due to people needing to sell before Dec 30th. Just an idea.

Good luck!
Joel

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