MOST EFFECTIVE NO/LOW COST METHODS OF FINDING MOTIVATED SELLERS!

47 Replies

Ok bp family, here's the deal. I bring ambition and desire to the table, that's about it. I'm a full time single working parent of two teenagers so I have very little excess time. My budget is virtually non existent, literally. What are THE MOST EFFECTIVE no/low cost ways and methods of locating motivated sellers. I know the typical stuff, bandit signs, direct mail, etc. But guys, I've got maybe a hundred bucks monthly for marketing. If I send out 50 letters per week, what category of people do I target to get the biggest bang for my buck? Or, do I  spend half of that on letters and half on bandit signs? If I do put out signs, do I put them up in the extremely hot neighborhood where all the other wholesalers have their signs up or what? Right now, the deals that I've been getting under contract are marginal, meaning, they're deals for someone but not for most. But so far I have not been able to get a deal under contract that I really  feel confident in. Hence, I need to talk to more of the right kind of seller. So, here's the scenario; you have no money (100 dollars monthly) no credit, and your back is against the wall financially! Your spouse just left you and took the kids, the dog and the pick up truck! You need it to happen as soon as it possibly can! You know that wholesaling is the ticket and all you have to bring to the table is the knowledge that you now posses. What specifically do you do to turn a deal as quick as possible!? How do you look for the deal? Where do you look for the deal?

unfortunately there is not really a short cut.

marketing to sellers takes time and money.

I think the smartest way to get started in RE is to become an agent. You open yourself up to many oportunities and knowledge.

James Wise is correct. It took us many years to develop our expertise. I know you don't shy away from work, but we really do work hard. We take risks. We don't openly breed competition, because our targeted markets are often narrow.

I think you need to secure a paycheck job, and work real estate on the side until you can learn, and build up some capital. You may have seen some TV programs on flipping, but I will tell you it is very serious business requiring capital, experience, and hard work. The rewards are great, but it is no TV program.

Maurice, there is still a few things you can do. In no particular order:

-Visit your local REIA and start networking. This would be more to find buyers once you do have deals.

-Hand written bandit signs are cheap and actually convert pretty well. I would recommend targeting ideal neighborhoods based on likelihood of a good deal. Regardless of saturation. 

-As for who you target with your mailers, that's tough to say as I am not familiar with your area. There are probate, pre-foreclosure and divorce information available to the public. You may want to build a list based off that. Also, driving around and just finding ugly homes (especially boarded up) and researching owners to add to your list. 

-Another trick which may help (depending on your ability to create working relationships and your area) would be befriending local municipal inspectors. They may have the inside track on homes with code violations. Owners would sometimes rather sell the property at a discount than fix the issues themselves. 

-Every person you meet and/or talk to should know that you buy houses. You'll get leads this way as well. 

Lastly, although I agree with James for the most part, getting any traction as a real estate agent is all about marketing as well. I mean you can get your license but to truly start getting deals as an agent, you would have to invest in marketing as well. 

Hope this helps!

So, here's the scenario; you have no money (100 dollars monthly) no credit, and your back is against the wall financially! Your spouse just left you and took the kids, the dog and the pick up truck! You need it to happen as soon as it possibly can! You know that wholesaling is the ticket and all you have to bring to the table is the knowledge that you now posses.

You won't like this answer, but don't WASTE your tiny bit of time and money trying to wholesale.  You've fallen for the guru garbage that wholesaling is a path to big paydays even without any cash, time or effort.  That is just complete garbage.  It is possible to make money wholesaling.  It will take significant time, effort, and money.

Get a second job.  The paychecks may be slender, but they will beat nothing that you're going to make from spending little time and $100 trying to do a wholesale deal.  If you don't have time to get a second job, you don't have time to be a wholesaler.  Wholesaling IS a JOB.  Its a commissioned sales job that required you invest significant time, money and effort to have a CHANCE of earning a paycheck.  Even if you do invest significant time, money, and effort you may not get a paycheck.  With no time, effort or money to sink into building a wholesaling business you have no chance of getting a paycheck.

Jon Holdman is a wise man. He speaks the truth.If I could vote twice on his post, I would do so.  I am a wholesaler and I will tell you it is not something "you want to try at home". It is a serious business for an experienced person. It is not a newbie thing.

You can drive for dollars, as a newbie, but you still need something. Cash, experience, or a partner.

Buy some used real estate books (Jack Miller, Jimmy Napier). Attend REIA meetings. Read blogs. Talk to people. Build up a little cash. Do not listen to GURU's. That's my best shot.

Now hold on... Permission to speak my mind? 

That’s such a typical BP response… Blame everything on all those evil gurus. Don’t listen to the “guru garbage that wholesaling is a path to big paydays even without any cash, time or effort.” 

Name one guru who has ever taught that you can wholesale deals without any “time or effort”. Please, be specific, with quotes and references. Who teaches that? Honestly… I’ve never heard one. Even the worst gurus will admit that you need to put at least a little “time and effort” into the business. 

I just think these kinds of blanket statements and generalities are not helpful, and often just plain silly.  Let's stop the guru bashing, and let's offer more helpful advice.

I didn't have any money when I got started. I 100% bootstrapped it. Yeah - the gurus make it sound too easy sometimes. But I believed the ones who told me I could do it. (I thank God for these “gurus”. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.)

I know tons of people - many on this forum - who got started in REI with little to no money. Yes, it does take a lot of time and effort. But you CAN DO IT.

Yes, it’s easier if you have money for marketing. But you don’t have to have money to start marketing for sellers. And again… I am speaking from personal experience.

Anyway, sorry for my rant… I know I just opened a can of worms. 

You CAN wholesale properties with little to no money for marketing when you are just getting started. But you need to put a lot of time and creative effort into it. Let me tell you how I did it.

1) Find Other Active Wholesalers In Your Market

These are people who are already wholesaling 5+ deals a month. They do a lot of deals, but they don't like sitting behind a desk, sending postcards, taking calls, prescreening sellers, etc. They would rather be in their trucks, driving around town looking at deals, meeting with sellers, sitting at the seller's kitchen table, making offers, chasing the deal. These guys hate the admin stuff. They just like the chase of the deal. And guess what? Most of their leads come from referrals and the MLS. They don't do much marketing.

You're going to do the marketing for them and be their birddog.

How do you find them? Drive around town & look for bandit signs. Google things like "we buy houses" & "sell house fast". Look on Craigslist and Backpage for ads. Network with local REIA's. Find them here in BP. Flap your lips. Ask around...

Make a list of at least 100 investors in your market. Call them all.

Most of these wholesalers will be beginners and won’t call you back. You will find that maybe 5% of them will be legitimate. You are looking for someone who is experienced, who answers their phone, and promptly returns their calls.

2) Talk To These Wholesalers - Find Out What They Are Looking For

Tell them that you are new in the market and you are hungry. Tell them you want to help them grow their business & help them make more money. Don't ask them if you can sit down with them over coffee and pick their brain. Your sole goal is to help them do more deals, and help THEM make more money.

Tell them you want to do some marketing for them and bring them pre-screened seller leads. Ask them what areas are they buying in. 

Ask them if they would be open to you bringing them warm seller leads, wholesaling the property, and then splitting the profits with you? Maybe they can pay you a "marketing fee" after the deal closes. (Let them figure out how to best pay you. Don't worry about these details yet. You will just be an Independent Contractor / Marketing Consultant.)

3) Ask Them How They Want To See The Leads Presented To Them

Keep this simple.  Make this easy for them.  Give them enough information on each lead so they can see everything they want to see, quickly and easily.

  • Give them the three lowest “active comps” of similar properties nearby.
  • Give them the three lowest “sold comps”.
  • Give them the zillow link of the property.
  • And if you can get property information from the county assessor’s office, print that into a PDF.

(By the way, I recommend using Podio to keep track of all this. The basic version is free. You could also use Google Drive.)

Ask each seller lead the basic 5-6 questions:

  • Seller contact information
  • Property information - address, bedrooms, etc
  • What’s your situation? Why are you selling?
  • What would you like to see happen?
  • If I can make that happen, how quickly would you like to sell?
  • How much cash do you want to walk away with at closing?

4) Start Marketing For Sellers / Deals

This is where the rubber meets the road, right? There are tons of different things you can do that don’t cost much money. Here are my top recommendations:

A) Drive for dollars… Look for vacant properties. Call all the “For Rent” signs. Call the “For Sale” signs on properties that look like they need work.

B) Call Realtors of pending listings.

Look up all the properties online in your wholesalers favorite zip codes that are listed as "under contract" or "pending" in the MLS. Look for the properties that need work - properties that only an investor would buy.

Some markets have this information in Redfin, sometimes you can find it in Zillow. The best way - find a realtor to send these to you (as a daily automatic email alert).

Call the listing agents of these “pending” properties, and say something like this: “Hi, My name is Joe, and I saw that you have a property listed at 123 Main St. Is it still under contract / pending? Well, the reason I am calling is because I am an investor and we are looking to buy more properties in this area. If your buyer falls thru, would you mind calling me so I can make an offer on it? You can represent me and double dip the commissions. Great! What is your email so I can send you my contact information?”

Almost every Realtor will thank you for calling them. If the deal does fall thru, and many times they do, you will be their hero. That Realtor has already spent their commission in their mind. You will help them save face, make their client happy, and they will actually get more commission bring the deal to you.

The really cool thing about this strategy is that it helps you come into contact with the Realtors who are willing to list these kinds of properties. They are really valuable to know.

You will need to collect all the emails of every Realtor you talk to. More on this in a minute. Ask everyone, “Can I send you my contact information so you don’t have to write it down?”

C) Call all the Zillow rental ads in your target markets.

Tell them that you are an investor looking for rental properties in the area to buy. Ask them if they would consider selling their rental property. Or, ask them if they are in the market to buy any more properties (to build your buyer’s list).

If it is an agent or a property manager, ask them if their client would be interested in selling the property. They can represent you and get both sides of the commission. Ask them if they have any other clients who might have a rental property that they would like to sell. Almost every property manager has clients who would love to sell their properties.

Ask everyone if you can send them your contact information, so they can call you if they find a deal in the future, or change their minds.

The goal is to get their email addresses.

D) Text & email Craigslist For Rent ads

Look up rental properties in Craigslist every day. Send texts and emails to each ad, asking them if they would consider selling their rental property. Get them on the phone. Talk to them. Tell them you are an active investor, looking for properties to buy in the area. Ask them to think of you if they ever find a deal. You will pay them a commission / referral fee if they bring you any deals.

E) Text / email Craigslist FSBO's

Send a text / email to these sellers and ask them something like this: “Hi. I am an investor and I saw your property on Craigslist. Is your price negotiable? My wife and I am looking for an investment property in the area. Call me. Thanks”

This next thing is REALLY important...  Don't gloss over it.  This is where the power is...

F) Email everyone on your list once a week, asking them if they have any deals.

This is where the real power of this strategy comes in. Most of these people that you call and talk to are going to forget who you are the next day. But you are going to send them an email every week, asking them if they have any deals. These are going to be simple, non-spammy emails. Something like this…

“Hi - just checking in… We talked a little while ago. I am an investor, looking for hard-to-sell properties. Do you have anything I can look at?”

“I’m an investor looking for fixer-uppers. Do you have any deals I can look at?”

“Hey John… Hope you’re doing well. Do you have any investor specials? I am looking for any hard-to-sell properties. Call me or reply if you have anything.”

Be creative with the emails. Keep them short and sweet. No links - just a simple email, one or two sentences, looking for a reply or phone call.

To learn a cool trick to email all these people every week... 

Go to YouTube, and do a search for “Yet another mail merge tutorial”. You will find videos there on how to send these emails thru your gmail account from a Google Spreadsheet.  Check it out right now...  It's awesome.

G) Super ninja trick - Find other birddogs to do all of this for you.

Once you get this figured all this out, and you’re starting to get lots of leads (and you will, I promise), put ads in Craigslist for birddogs to do all this marketing for you. They will send the leads to you, you will prescreen them, and then send them to your wholesaler partner.

5) Send All The Leads To Your Wholesaler

Now, what do you do when you get a lead? You prescreen the lead and send it to your wholesaling partner. Simple as that. You don’t have to worry about steps 7-8 just yet… All you’re focused on is steps 1-2, which is marketing and talking to sellers.

You don’t have to worry about estimating repairs, getting comps, finding buyers, finding cash to close these deals, working with title companies, etc. Your wholesaler will take care of all that for you.  You will learn that stuff as you go. 

Again, track all these leads in a tool like Podio, or Google Spreadsheets.

6) Reinvest Your Profits Into Marketing

Now that you have done a couple deals, reinvest all your profits into marketing. Start doing postcards and yellow letters as soon as possible.

Summary - I am speaking from experience. I am doing this in 4 different markets right now. I closed 20 deals the last couple months doing this - doing the marketing and partnering with other wholesalers - while I was traveling in my RV. This stuff works.?

I had a stay-at-home mom that I was coaching a couple years ago. She had three screaming, crying, playful, energetic kids at home. She could NOT talk to sellers if she wanted to. And she didn’t have any money to do marketing. So she did the only thing she could do… She emailed landlords and sellers in Craigslist every day. She did all her deals, from beginning to end, with only craigslist and emails. Every week, she would pick a new city. She made it happen because she knew no other way. She didn’t believe anyone who told her she couldn’t do it.

So where there's a will, there's a way. How bad do you want it? Make it happen. Don't let anyone tell you that you can’t.

There is a ton of great free information out there. You don’t have to buy a course to get started (although a good course does help get you faster results.) Stay on this BP site, keep on asking questions, check out all the awesome free podcasts out there, get some books on Amazon, etc.

And when you do have some money to invest in your education, find a good recommended course, and buy it.

Hope that helps!

This post has been removed.

This post has been removed.

@Joe McCall dropped some truth which is much needed on this site! The discouraging and negative speech that is often offered is not going to help you with no money and limited time. I meet with every new investor that reaches out to me and sincerely give them actionable steps to help them get their first deal. If you were to implement Joes advice, I believe you would find a local deal maker that would be glad to team up with you and help you get that first deal.

The one thing you have control over are your thoughts. Guard them with all diligence and don't listen to others tell you you can't do something when people who aren't as smart or as hard working as you are doing it everyday.

Check out Sean Terry's and Joe McCalls podcast they give you all the info you need to find your first deal, then team up with somebody to bring it across the finish line!

Joe McCall. I'm glad you double posted. I got to vote twice for it. :) If you'd have posted it four times I would have voted 4 times. That was awesome. Thanks.

The information by Joe McCall is so helpful to me. That was awesome! With the information provided I can go a step further. Truly helpful! Thank you again!

Tony Calhoun

Great post @Joe McCall  

It could be its own thread

Feedback on Larry Goins or Peter Vekselman ...........anyone ?

There are some nay sayers here on BP that do not teach, just warn and scare. Why? Who knows.

Because I don't like to see naive, new dreamers get ripped off.

@Maurice Bey    I personally know @Joe McCall   and I can not tell you how much respect I have for what he has done....I want everyone that reads this to print off what he posted. 

I have found the best marketing isn't about the money you have to spend, but the creativity and drive you have.

I've done this stuff for 12 years and I can assure you even though I helped teach Joe the basics, I could spend 10 minutes with him adn he would teach me more about marketing than I would learn in a year. 

I've known Joe when he was getting started and I love him like a brother. 

I hope that everyone that reads this follows anything @Joe McCall  @Brian Gibbons   @Michael Carbonare   have to say...you get in with that group...you are now in with the best.....bar none....

WOW!! Thank you Joe. Like John said, I am going to print that off and get started. I had already planned on attending every REIA meeting in my area next month (they've all already met this month) but I never considered contacting those who already have out bandit signs. Thank you for giving me a lot more ammo!!

@Joe McCall

did give an awesome reply-great way to get started.

I did want to weigh in on the suggestion to become a RE agent, I was in Valerie's same situation a few years ago and did get me license.  There are several factors though that have to be considered: the amount of money needed and the amount of time. Should I have factored all of that in at the time,that is not the route I would have gone, you can get a very good Realtor on your team once the need arises while you are continuing to self educate yourself.

Want to wish you the best of luck. 

All great tips and info here and I can appreciate both sides. While I don't have much time or money, I have every intent on figuring it out. I truly believe the statement where there's a will, there's a way.  I'm educating myself everyday, I'm talking to sellers, buyers, birddogs that I've hired, and potential partners everyday. And while I haven't found that homerun yet,  with every deal I get under contract, with every person I speak with, I can feel myself getting more knowledgeable and confident. I feel like it's just a matter of time before I find myself at the right place, at the right time. I have no problem exercising creativity, I was a door to door salesman for Kirby vacuums for 16 years, talk about finding creative ways to get in front of people, that was it! Most of the time, I feel like I'm so close, and every now and then I feel like I'm so far away, so the encouragement to keep going in spite of lacking a big marketing budget is definitely empowering. On the other hand I'm not naive, and there's  no one selling me pipe dreams and trying to get me to buy their course. Through my hustIing and scrambling I've actually met some pretty  helpful guides and mentors. I just would like to confirm that ambition and desire are the main ingredients that I need in this business. Thanks joe, and everyone else, sincerely!

@Joe McCall  That was awesome!  I'm actually sitting here thinking about how I can implement some of the things you just outlined.  Wow!

@Maurice Bey  I'll throw one other bargain option out there that takes little more than time and determination.  I bought a $7 pack of 3 x 5 sticky notes and a pack of black sharpies, then I spent a Friday evening writing, "I would like to buy your house.  Please call me!  469-xxx-xxx  Hattie" on 500 of them.  Now, when I'm driving for dollars, I don't just take down the address and go home to do a letter or try to find a phone number.  I put a sticky note right there on their door, before I ever drive away.  And, I'm very generous with my stickies!  Any house that looks unloved - deferred maintenance or whatever - I put a sticky not on the door.  I also gave them to a couple of mail carriers I saw in the neighborhoods and told them I would pay them a finders fee for leads we closed on vacant houses or any house they thought might be in a situation where it needs to be sold.

The great part about real estate investing is that it comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  I have all the respect in the world for my real estate elders, but there is no one way to do it.  They are right about one thing, and that is that wholesaling is a job.  It isn't the easy way to get into real estate.  The easy way is to have liquid capital!  And, honestly, it's easy for people who have capital to unwittingly trample on the dreams of people who are trying to create something.  This is my personal admonition to you...you will only fail, when you fail to try.  

It can be done.  And, I believe you are the type of person who won't turn away simply because it's hard.  If you persevere, you will succeed, and I believe that success will be greater than your wildest imagination.

@Brian Gibbons  Thank you.  And, I'm humbled to be mentioned in that esteemed list.

From what I can tell, it takes money to make money in the wholesaling biz. I am new to it all myself so take my advice with a grain if salt but I believe your best course of action might be to SAVE that $100 a month and wait until you have enough saved up to effectively market for a few months (the podcast I was listening to last night said $1000/mo for six months is a decent rule of thumb to get you started). When you make your first deal, take ALL of your profits and put them back into advertising. That's all I have. 

Originally posted by @Maurice Bey :

All great tips and info here and I can appreciate both sides. While I don't have much time or money, I have every intent on figuring it out. I truly believe the statement where there's a will, there's a way.  I'm educating myself everyday, I'm talking to sellers, buyers, birddogs that I've hired, and potential partners everyday. And while I haven't found that homerun yet,  with every deal I get under contract, with every person I speak with, I can feel myself getting more knowledgeable and confident. I feel like it's just a matter of time before I find myself at the right place, at the right time. I have no problem exercising creativity, I was a door to door salesman for Kirby vacuums for 16 years, talk about finding creative ways to get in front of people, that was it! Most of the time, I feel like I'm so close, and every now and then I feel like I'm so far away, so the encouragement to keep going in spite of lacking a big marketing budget is definitely empowering. On the other hand I'm not naive, and there's  no one selling me pipe dreams and trying to get me to buy their course. Through my hustIing and scrambling I've actually met some pretty  helpful guides and mentors. I just would like to confirm that ambition and desire are the main ingredients that I need in this business. Thanks joe, and everyone else, sincerely!

 Your first post said you didnt have any money and don't have any time.  Here 2 days later and you are getting deals under contract and speaking with more people?  There seems to be some sort of disconnect here.  Or i might just be missing something (it happens!). 

Limited time, limited money hit the county records take those teenagers of yours and spend time with them helping you out.  Show them how to read the documents and make notes and get some work done.  I worked 70+ hours a week when I first stated out at my 9-to-5 and closed 3 buy and hold deals in a year.  There is always time for the truly motivated.

Originally posted by @Troy Fisher :
Originally posted by @Maurice Bey:

All great tips and info here and I can appreciate both sides. While I don't have much time or money, I have every intent on figuring it out. I truly believe the statement where there's a will, there's a way.  I'm educating myself everyday, I'm talking to sellers, buyers, birddogs that I've hired, and potential partners everyday. And while I haven't found that homerun yet,  with every deal I get under contract, with every person I speak with, I can feel myself getting more knowledgeable and confident. I feel like it's just a matter of time before I find myself at the right place, at the right time. I have no problem exercising creativity, I was a door to door salesman for Kirby vacuums for 16 years, talk about finding creative ways to get in front of people, that was it! Most of the time, I feel like I'm so close, and every now and then I feel like I'm so far away, so the encouragement to keep going in spite of lacking a big marketing budget is definitely empowering. On the other hand I'm not naive, and there's  no one selling me pipe dreams and trying to get me to buy their course. Through my hustIing and scrambling I've actually met some pretty  helpful guides and mentors. I just would like to confirm that ambition and desire are the main ingredients that I need in this business. Thanks joe, and everyone else, sincerely!

 Your first post said you didnt have any money and don't have any time.  Here 2 days later and you are getting deals under contract and speaking with more people?  There seems to be some sort of disconnect here.  Or i might just be missing something (it happens!). 

Limited time, limited money hit the county records take those teenagers of yours and spend time with them helping you out.  Show them how to read the documents and make notes and get some work done.  I worked 70+ hours a week when I first stated out at my 9-to-5 and closed 3 buy and hold deals in a year.  There is always time for the truly motivated.

 @troy fisher , thanks for the tip. As I originally posted, I am in deed a hustler (in a good way) and while I do lack time and money, that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything. Since September I've gotten three deals under contract (not all at the same time). I haven't  sold one yet though. But I do as much as I can with what I have, but I know that I'm not talking to enough sellers, hence the purpose of the  initial post. Does that clear things up for you?

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

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

Start here