I'm networking with real estate agents and also browsing the MLS daily. These are probably the two most common forms of property hunting, but it seems difficult to find the best deals using these methods. I recently began browsing Craigslist and have found what appears to be some decent deals. However, with limited information on each posting, it has me questioning their legitimacy. Because I don't live in the best area for real estate investment, I'm looking to invest in the Pittsburgh, PA area and all surrounding areas where the market is cheaper. I've found some decent properties in Mckeesport for very low prices, but the area is absolutely terrible and labeled as one of the worst areas to live in in Pennsylvania. Because I'm investing out of state (I live in WV), I don't often get the chance to check out some of the properties that appear to be "good deals" unfortunately.
Having said that, my question is which method has worked best for everyone to find the best deals? MLS, driving for dollars, direct mail marketing, etc.
@Mark Millich direct mail and cold calling. Make sure you know the area your looking at. Go see it for yourself. That will make or break your investment.
@Mark Millich You have a good start, but a lot of investors find that it can be better to look for "off market” deals. These are homeowners who haven’t taken the time and made the investment to fix up their homes before putting it on the market.
As @Heath Ryans suggests, mailing and calling are probably the best way to find these deals; people who share motivational characteristics of people ready to sell, but haven't yet done all the work they think they need to list property. The best way to find them is to send out mailers.
Some good lists to target are Absentee Owners with Equity, Seniors with Long-time Ownership and Homeowners with Low Financial Stability Scores (FSS).
You can work with a list broker to optimize your list for your area. From there, there are a lot of companies that can help with the printing and mailing. Be sure that you highlight that "selling your house can be easier than you think" with the advantages of working directly with you instead of the more traditional route.
@Mark Millich We do a lot of virtual wholesaling, meaning that while we live in South Florida, we wholesale in other cities and states.
We rely on highly targeted lists of off market properties, such as absentee owners who have owned the property for 5+ years, evictions with court dates, etc. We purchase these lists from list sources like PropStream. We then contact via phone, text and direct marketing. The sequence and the frequency of contacting the same list will yield the best results. It's definitely about setting up a well managed system.
We do use MLS from time to time and pursue aging listings (active on the MLS for over 6 months) and we have done deals with those leads as well.
Nowadays it is not just about volume, but clever systems in place and using the right tools.
@Mark Millich A lot of investors have success with direct mailing from lists they've created via listsource or other platforms.
All of the above.
Don’t buy a property without walking it and the area first.
@Mark Millich I mostly use direct mail to get deals. I have found that a well-planned direct mail marketing campaign can yield amazing results. However, a lot of it will depend on the markets you target. If you do plan on buying out of state be sure to do an on-site inspection at some point. Cold calling, text messages, Facebook and Google ads, SEO and RVM are also great methods. I usually cram these into my campaign, in-between mailers.