Next steps after driving neighborhoods

10 Replies

Hi BPers.  I took the advice of several BP podcasts and just drove (actually walked the dog) through my nearby neighborhoods.  I was mostly looking for properties that appeared vacant and/or unkept in an otherwise nice neighborhood.  Now I am using my city's online information tool for properties (portlandmaps.com) to find out things like whether these properties are owned by absentee owners and also checking on the sales history.  My goal from these walks and information searches is to get a list of properties that I may be able to get under contract off-market and at a good price and, at the same time, help out the owner by taking the property off their hands.  I've been just cold calling the owners to find out their situation and their plans for the properties. My goal, once I take ownership is to fix them up and have them as rentals.  

I have three questions:

1.  Are my criteria good for this strategy of 'driving the neighborhoods' or did I miss the point?

2.  When checking property information on sites like portlandmaps.com, what other information would be helpful to take away for each property.  I've been pulling the owner information and the sales history.  What else would be helpful for the strategy I've described above?  I wouldn't be opposed to moving over to other sites like agentpro247 or similar, but what information would help me to determine if these kinds of properties are worth cold-calling at all... like a first screen?

3.  Do you have any advice for how I should conduct a strategy like this, any changes I should make to it, and how to make it successful?

Thanks for taking your time.

I give you credit for putting in the work. However, be careful about purchasing houses from an individual. Get title insurance to protect from outstanding liens.

Hey @Keith K.  great start. Boots on the Street is my favorite investment activity. Taking the time to invest in street knowledge is critical in my opinion. I do many things when out in the neighborhoods. First you're always hunting for properties that show signs of opportunity. I'm also looking for activity in the neighborhoods. See a rehab? Pull up Portlandmaps, find who bought it, how much they paid, what permits are they pulling and keep tabs on the project. Next time your in the neighborhood take a look at the marketing of the project. What did they list at? Sell at? DOM? etc.

Call all the FSBO signs you see. Go in all the open houses you can. Pay attention to list prices in your neighborhood. Keep a redfin app or something similar on your phone. Get to know the bottom range of value and the top range of value in your neighborhoods. Call every for rent sign to get an idea of condition and interest in the unit. I talk to other landlords all the time. It's a great way to stay connected to the community. Don't be afraid to knock on doors and start conversations with people in the neighborhood.

As for info on the homes....I'm a big proponent of knowing the history of your markets. Pay close attention to year built. You'll see housing styles change with the change in past economies. Soon you'll know what era built a home is just by looking at the outside.

You said you're cold calling. I would also start a direct mailing campaign. Direct mail works in Portland. Our best purchases have come from direct mail.

Side note, what neighborhood are you walking? Portland is a fun city to investigate. 

look up tucker merrihew podcast he is in your area 

@Mike Nuss  what do you say in your letters? Since it isn't a blanket mailing, rather directed at specific properties you have already identified, are you more specific? More general? Handwritten? I'm working on getting the language down on a property I've identified nearby. Thanks!

I do get more specific. I discuss the the property (mention certain key features) and what about it brings interest. This way they know I've already seen the property from the street and have an idea of what it's like. I also state that I did walk by. 

@Mike Nuss  thanks for your response. Do you have a link to anything that can be used as a template for this type of letter? I just want to make sure I got all the key points. Thanks again!

Lucas 

Originally posted by Mark Forest:

I give you credit for putting in the work. However, be careful about purchasing houses from an individual. Get title insurance to protect from outstanding liens.

 Steve, thanks for your reply and advice.  Having the title company involved is definitely a must for the process, in general.  When following through with an opportunity, I just check for outstanding liens through my county's office computer terminals.  Would there be things that a title company could discover with outstanding liens that couldn't be found just through a search through county records?  

Originally posted by @Mike Nuss :

Hey @Keith K. great start. Boots on the Street is my favorite investment activity. ...

Side note, what neighborhood are you walking? Portland is a fun city to investigate. 

 Hi Mike, thanks for your detailed reply.  I really appreciate it.  I did notice you have investor meet-ups every month in the Village and I'll try and attend one sometime because I am nearby (in SW) and really have no excuse.

Originally posted by @Keith K. :
 When following through with an opportunity, I just check for outstanding liens through my county's office computer terminals.  Would there be things that a title company could discover with outstanding liens that couldn't be found just through a search through county records?  

I am just learning to do that too.  From what I was told you want to track the senior mortgage and be sure you are not paying a junior lien.  You also have to check for IRS and county property tax liens.  In my county that is done at a different office.  I have been told that getting title insurance is still recommended, but you raise a good point.  

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