How have you found your properties? Here is how I found mine.

58 Replies

How have your found your properties?  When I originally starting investing I remember hearing a guru say that had 31 ways to find deals.  I didn't want 31.  I wanted just one that I could do over and over again.  I turns out one doesn't cut it.

Some of these properties were flips, some buy and hold. 

1. Drive by.  The owner hand made sign out front and I stopped.  Inner city.

2. Bandit sign.  I know the Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner are not fans of bandit signs--and I may discontinue using them--but I posted a bandit sign on a pole right outside a multi-use building and the owner called me.  Inner city.

3. Craigslist.  Owners listed a duplex on craiglist.  Inner city.

4. Craigslist.  Absentee owner, inherited, posted an ad on craigslist.  I suggested a price over email.  He didn't bite until about six months later when it hadn't sold.  Suburbs / Rural.

5. Realtor. REO house. B Area, city (better part of city, nice neighborhood). I discovered I didn't have the temperament for inner city.

6. Realtor. REO house. B area, small neighboring city.

7. Contractor.  My contractor had a job at this house and told me about it.  One of my best deals.  A/B Area, suburb.  (By A I mean low to medium middle class, nice neighborhood.)

8. Wholesaler. B Area, city.

9. Wholesaler.  A/B Area, suburb.

10. Realtor.  Short sale.  I somtimes send emails to the listing realtors telling them I am a cash buyer and if it wouldn't be a waste of time to make an offer in the X range, I'd like to see the house.  A/B Area, suburb.

11. Realtor.  I forget how I heard about it.  He may have had my contact from an email like that above.  It was inherited property.  B Area, suburb.

12. Realtor.  Same as above.  A/B Area, suburb.  I lost my shirt on this one due to big problems with the house.

13. Bandit sign.  Condo.  Relocating.  A Area, suburbs.

14. Yellow letter.  Short sale.  A/B Area, suburb.

15. Online marketing.  Inherited property.  A/B Area, suburb.

16. I don't remember.  Maybe craigslist or bandit sign.  Somehow I had contact and the seller called back a couple of times over a couple of years.

17. Wholesaler.  A/B Area, city.

18. Online marketing.  B Area, city.

19.  Online marketing.  B area, city.

20. Yellow letter.  Short sale.  B area, suburb.

21.  Yellow letter.  Short sale.  B area, suburb.

I still feel like a newbie (slow ramp up starting at the end of 2008) and am still trying to figure out my business model.

That's an impressive list of properties in a short period of time.  How many were buy and hold and how many were flips?  And how were you funding these deals?

@William Murrell Not such a short period of time.  That's over the last 6 years.  But I'm starting to pick up the pace.  Ten of them are holds.

Damn Good for a newbie! :)

As a RE Agent I comb the hot sheets multiple times a day looking at New listings, price reductions, back on market, etc.  I also look at closed, pending, and expired.... Do that for a couple years and you will literally know almost everything there is to know about your local market.  

I then do a separate search just on REO and estate properties.

Mostly REO properties, occasional estate, and occasional divorce situation.

I've picked a couple off of craigslist, so I make a point to scour it daily also.  

I really need to step up my game and try some yellow letter campaigns, and bandit signs. 

Originally posted by @Ed Lee:

I've picked a couple off of craigslist, so I make a point to scour it daily also.  

Do you have any tips for scouring CL? I find it VERY "noisy" ie it would take me hours to scour it and when I have spent a couple of hours... it seems like all ads are realtor posted... and not deals.

@Mark Whittlesey, there are several sites that allow you to set key word triggers, just as BP does.   I use https://ifttt.com  (If this then that).  You set key words and have it email you the postings when they match.

@Larry Turowski incredibly impressive body of work Larry!  Looking forward to hearing and learning more, but I've got a feeling you're not going to share much in the way of details.   None the less, really looking forward to networking with you!

Good job!  My experience has been similar.  I've found mine via:

Agent

MLS

VA auction

HUD auction

Bank REO

Commercial broker

Referral

Wholesaler

Yellow Letter

Partner

All of our properties we have found on the MLS (RE agents) over the last 14 years. Some have been deals, but mainly the timing of those markets were right.

I've been trying most of the above though in search of a better deal. Nothing has panned out so far:

Wholesalers

Court Auctions

Birddogs

Referrals / networking / word-of-mouth

Probates

Direct Mail

-typed letters - yellow letters (many hand written)

Driving for Dollars

-door knocking -leaving post cards or business cards on doors -leaving owners handwritten letters  -writing down addresses of dilapidated property and looking them up on public records 

30 plus years and I forget how I got some of the houses. I was a Realtor for the first half of that and so I had an inside position for getting rentals. I have bought rentals from builders, other investors, HUD foreclosures, straight MLS, PM leads, internet searches, turnkey providers, and so much more. When I was a Realtor, Direct Mail, walking a "farm" area and constant contact with past clients was how the business kept progressing. Even with today's internet, those relationships with people is what brings in the business.

@Larry T. What we do is a little different than most, we build projects from the ground up! Once built we sell to owner/users or investors for buy/hold long term and short term rentals, etc. We have built all different types of properties as spec, from SFR, MFR, Office, Office/retail condos, Office parks with individually owned buildings, medical/dental space, developed a subdivision, etc. It's fun and ever changing.

We find our land in a variety of ways. 

I have 20 major sources of properties.  Only ONE source just doesn't cut it... to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Here's the ways that I have NEVER used:

Bandit Signs

Yellow Letter

Billboard

TV

Radio

You Tube

Craigslist

Postlets

wholesaler

bird dog

obituaries

divorce notices

landlord tenant court cases

partition suit

adverse possession

eminent domain

any firearms

marriage

inheritance (I bought property that people inherited, but I never inherited any property.)

game show

lottery winning

gambling proceeds

bribery

lying

cheating

stealing

squatting

turn key provider

bought from relative

given by relative

wedding present

I have bought property from the following:

US Marshall Service

VA

HUD

State Highway Department

Hoarder's estate

Probate

Sheriff Sale

Government Tax Sales

Third Party Tax Sales

Word of Mouth

Letter solicitation

Co-workers

Neighbors

Verbal auctions

Sealed Bid auctions

Public Sales

Bank REOs

Relocation Company

Arsonist in prison for burning down his own house

Murderer in prison for killing his wife

Person who needed bail money

MLS

Person owner occupying a vacant lot

Person living in a garage

Person with multi-million dollar IRS lien (happened twice different people)

title problems

flood zone property

septic problems & failed perk tests

Newspaper wanted ad

Seller who wanted to do something that zoning did not permit

Landlocked property

Code violations

Property encroached about 50% by neighbor.

Left over lots in subdivision

Unfinished subdivision

Life Estate

Acquired lead from attorney, engineer, government official

3 deals for me so far. 2 of them have been from our direct mail efforts (both typed letters, one had a handwritten envelope, the other was typed as well). The other one came via PPC campaign - the only real success I've had from that avenue.

"Person owner occupying a vacant lot"   Oxymoron

I made an offer on one like this in Austin. Out of area owner, but had hipster squatters living in tents on the lot. Couldn't believe the city let it slide, but they did. 

Originally posted by @Derrick Craig:

That is very Impressive!!!

 But you don't know my results!  They've been middle of the road.

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave:

@Larry Turowski What we do is a little different than most, we build projects from the ground up! Once built we sell to owner/users or investors for buy/hold long term and short term rentals, etc. We have built all different types of properties as spec, from SFR, MFR, Office, Office/retail condos, Office parks with individually owned buildings, medical/dental space, developed a subdivision, etc. It's fun and ever changing.

We find our land in a variety of ways. 

 I would love to do what you are doing!  By the way, how do you get the nice highlighted @ link?  I figured out how to do a link, but it looks different from everyone elses.

what does "any firearms" mean? In Texas, that could quite possibly crash the market

@Larry T.  So Larry ...is there  one that you have found you prefer  using over another?

IFTTT is a must if you're going to  source Craigslist for leads.  Just opening your inbox and there's leads that fit your criteria is the best.

1. MLS

2. MLS

3. Estate auction.  Kinda funny at closing to watch 3 sibling beneficiaries fight over $20k in proceeds like its several million.

4. Auction.com  Lady still lived there and was a hoarder.  Had to evict.

5. Auction.com

6. Auction.com

Along with going to the auction.com auctions Im also going to a bunch of other trustee auctions at the courthouse.  Plan to buy 2-4 more in 2014.

@Larry T.  Ok here's the secret .... type @nameofperson it will bring up a list to lower left, then click on the name. It places it in the post, highlighted! If for some reason you don't see the name, because the list is too long, type characters: @?  and all the names of those in that post will pop up, click on the name of the person, and it's highlighted! Have fun! 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here