Advice for targeting off-market houses

5 Replies

Hi all,

I've been looking to find a Duplex in my area that I could owner occupy and rent out the other half, as this would be a great way to begin my real estate investing career. However, cashflowing residential multi-units listed on the MLS are super tough to find in my area unless they're in the hood.

I had the idea of running low cost/free (besides my own time that I don't mind putting in) marketing campaigns to try and target owners of Duplex/Triplex/4plex's.  

Ideas of the top of my head include:

- Email campaigns targeting "for rent" properties on Craigslist

- Bandit signs in areas which I know have lots of multi-units

- Cheap direct mail like post cards to owners addresses

All of these ideas would be cheap or free, and I feel would be relatively easy to implement.  Does anyone have experience or advice for someone like me trying to find better deals via finding sellers of off-market units?

Keith I personally wouldn't do Postcards. I don't even think they work. What I would do is a typed professional letter to owners of multis letting them know that you are looking to purchase a duplex in their area. If they are interested please give you a call. If they send someone your way who you buy from you will give them a finders fee. (give them a dollar amount)

@Ryan D. Okay, so what you're saying is you'd recommend I:

1) search some type of country records type thing and find the home addresses of the owners of these multi's.

2) Craft a professional looking letter stating I like their property and I'm interested in buying... also include all my contact info

3) Send a physical letter (maybe in an envelope, etc.) and send it to their home address

If my understanding is incorrect, please correct me.  Additionally, I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say "if they send someone your way" and talk about a "finders fee."  I'm not sure I'm familiar with this process so if you could elaborate it'd be much appreciated.


@Keith Nelson Of course. That's what I'm here for. We sent around 400 leads out just to multi family properties and we got a HUGE response of motivated sellers. Keep in mind the people who own 2-4 unit building often have a hard time liquidating them as traditional home buyers are not interested.  

Your time is valuable don't spend hours digging through county records. Go buy a list for 75.00 from 

List Source

If you don't want to type, stamp, stuff your letters check out : Jerry Puckett

(Not a staff member just a satisfied customer) I drop 3500 pieces of mail a month with him. 

A finder's fee is basically "Hey I'll give you $500 cash if you know anyone selling a property and I close on it". 

You want to take advantage of their spheres of influence as well as. They may not want to sell but their buddy with a perfect duplex may! Obviously you have to have the cash to offer this. You could even do like "steak dinner on me" and give them a 100 gift card to a nice steak house. Just some creative things to think about. If you need help pulling a list from list source let me know. It's kind of a pain and you want to make sure you have certain criteria checked.

@Ryan D.  Thanks for the advice.  

Because I am looking for very specific properties multi-units where I personally would like to live (needs to be close to where I work), the list of owners I pull probably wouldn't be as big as some other investors.  However, sifting through county records does sound like a pain in the *** so I'd probably buy a list.

As far as typing, stamping, mailing the letters... I have a degree in marketing and if I do some research I should be able to come up with something to generate good leads, so if there is anything that I would be doing myself it would probably be this.  I will look into Jerry Puckett though as he appears to be an expert in this niche.

I'd love to speak with you a little more and pick your brain about more tactics to finding the awesome off-market deals, but I am at work now.  I will PM you later!

Sounds great. Feel free to hit me up anytime. You can pull a list by zipcode or even draw a shape on the map. 

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