Newbie- tips for learning about off market listings in Bay Area

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It's amazing that this wonderful forum exist to exchange ideas and questions between those with experience and novices. I've already learned more than ever just reading through the forum. 

As for myself, I'm trying to get started in real estate investing with multi family properties or small apartments. My parents are getting older and they don't have retirement plans or assets so I'd like to start earning more income to attain financial independence both for myself and for them. I want to slowly divest from my corporate job and eventually move to real estate full time within 3-5 years and be in control of my own schedule and working hard for myself. 

As a beginner I think starting with an owner occupied 2-4 unit multi family property is a low risk approach where I'll also learn about managing tenants first hand. I'm in the Bay Area though where prices for multi family properties are high, including on loopnet. There are also few listings. But as a beginner it seems smart to have an investment that's close by in case anything happens. 

My question is where should I begin looking for off-market leads? I'm mid career so have some savings for a down payment, so should I even bother going the HFA route, I'm unsure where to find the AMI for local markets. 

Thanks again for this amazing site! I'm humbled by the experience on here!

@Julie Huynh unfortunately you are literally 1 weekend late in joining BP... There was a very big real estate summit just across the bay in Oakland with hundreds of attendee from all over the country. I suggest you reach out to @J. Martin and get on to the mail list for next year and ask if you can buy a video of the event.  I believe that main room sessions are available on video.  I am not sure about the class room or break out sessions.

As to your main question, the "poke you in the eye" truth is that off market deals are very scarce and the few that are out there are discussed in very private settings. In the Bay Area, there is really no reason for a seller to do a true "off market" deal at any discount. Anything of any real value will sell very quickly on the MLS. With that being said, I moderated a panel yesterday about investing in the Bay Area. People are doing it and they are cash flowing... you just have to find the deal and negotiate hard.

Good luck to you and hope to see you at next years summit!

-Arlen

Great response @Arlen Chou this has been my experience in LA as well. What companies hold the "must see" real estate events in your opinion?

@Scott R.

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