My wife and I are looking through the internet (Redfin, Loopnet, etc) for apartment buildings that are cash flowing and are having a hard time finding any. I heard through a BP podcast and from other investors that Loopnet and other similar sites are the "bottom of the barrel" when it comes to RE finds.
Does anyone have any advice on how to go about getting notified of good deals or have had any experience another away?
Finding cash flowing properties should not be a problem. Finding ones that cash flow at the return you want is the hard part. If you can't even find properties that just turn a profit at all then you might want to revisit how you are underwriting the property.
As for getting the better properties, it is a matter of building relationships with the brokers. If you're looking for the smaller (5-20) unit properties you can also try to do direct mail marketing but that won't work as well for the larger properties.
Jacob, odds are that most of those deals that you’re seeing on those sites have been seen by dozens of other seasoned investors who passed on those deals already. The best way to find apartment complexes is by contacting the brokers in your target market. When you reach out to them you should have some specific goals in mind and a specific range in the number of units you’re looking for and that should be able to help you find some better deals
You could also try marketing to apartment owners that could be motivated to sell (i.e. people that have owned the property for 30+ years, owners who have inherited the property, etc). You can find much of this info through public records. But keep in mind, It's still going to be a search.
Some commercial banks that do the loans on apartments may also be a good source for sellers. Same goes for commercial real estate attorneys, some REITs or 1031 intermediarys. So it could be worth connecting with them as well.
If all else fails, you may want to consider investing in an apartment fund. Might not be as much of the return or ownership you're looking for, but you could still cash-flow and get the tax advantages with a lot less work.
Great advice from all. Thank you very much.