Need Cash Buyers? Here’s Where to Find Them

by | BiggerPockets.com

If you’re a wholesaler and you have been in this business for any length of time, you probably know that there are times when you need to look outside of your regular buyers list to sell a property.

Did you ever have a deal that for whatever reason you just can’t sell to your regular list of cash buyers? Maybe it’s not in a prime location, or it’s simply not where they like to buy. It could be that you got this property during the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when (at least in my area) I can’t bust them out of their “holiday cheer” long enough to actually get in the car and go look at property. They just don’t want to work between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Well call me crazy, but I am still working during that period of time.

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The “Lincoln” House

Last year just about this same time, I had a house that none of my regular cash buyers wanted. Several of my regular buyers had already headed south and were kicked back on a sunny beach sipping drinks. Some said it just wasn’t in an area where they wanted to buy. A couple of other investors found a reason to tell me over the telephone that they weren’t interested. Heck, I couldn’t get any of them to even go look at it.

Now let me say that I have some of the best cash buyers on my list, but they are picky!

Normally that’s OK. I know exactly who to call when I put a property under contract in one of their preferred areas, and they move quickly. But that didn’t solve the problem of this house; the “Lincoln House”.

Well I have a tip for you; when you need cash buyers, here’s where they are:

They are hidden in plain sight on your local tax assessor’s site.

Finding Cash Buyers the Easy Way

When none of my regular cash buyers wanted this particular house (and I admit that it was in a marginal neighborhood), I had to make a choice. I always put a lock box on the property so my buyers can run out and take a look at the house. But I only do that if I know the investors. I don’t want to send potential “copper thieves” over to a house I have under contract. So I knew if I put this house on Craigslist I would be driving all the way across town to let folks in, and I really didn’t want to do that. It was cold outside and it was … well, a few weeks before Christmas and I had a lot to do. So I decided to use one of my creative strategies for finding cash buyers. I logged onto the Tax Assessor’s site.

It only took me a few minutes to find a list of potential buyers.

Using Your Tax Assessor’s Site to Find Cash Buyers

Normally I pull out a map and look at the streets about 3 blocks in every direction. But in this case, I only needed to look on this particular street which was “Lincoln”. I had a list of potential investor buyers in less than 30 minutes.

I sat down and printed off some bright green oversized postcards and got them in the mail the same day. I used oversized cards to make them stand-out from the rest of their mail, and green because of the Christmas Holidays. I was pretty sure that by using that color, they would at least read the mail piece. And I was right. I sold the house in a matter of days and had it closed before Christmas.

The Process

For any of you that don’t know this, in most areas you can subscribe to your tax assessor’s site in your county typically for a small fee each month. In my area it just went up to $30. There is a free version here but it doesn’t really give you any of the information you need. You will be amazed at how much you use this site once you have access to it. I can pull up a property while I have a seller on the phone and get all the pertinent information needed. There is also a direct link to the Sheriff’s site where I can look up the property taxes to see if they have been paid.

Take a look at the quick video below and see for yourself just how easy it is to find cash buyers in your area.

Here’s the Video


Let me know if you use this Ninja trick in your business to find cash buyers.
Photo Credit: skpy

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.

34 Comments

  1. Michael Walker on

    Great tip for finding cash buyers. The video was the best and it was easy to follow. We all love to read but the movie is always better, or is it the other way around. Thanks Sharon for taking the time to add video. Fantastic Article!!

  2. Small point of interest – in California it is illegal for public entities (aka the government) to show the owner information of a property online. So the tax assessor is useless for us in the Golden State. Title companies are where you would find them here.

    You might be able to call the assessor and get the information, or go into the assessor’s office in person, just not available online.

    Josh

  3. Thank you for your article. I have some additional suggestions that work in my area.

    1) Many property appraisers allow data to be downloaded for free, and also allow results to be downloaded into a spreadsheet file.

    2) Homestead exemption status. Sorting for properties with no homestead focus on possible investors.

    3) Mailing address not same as property address. These properties are more likely to be investors, although in my area, many investors incorrectly leave the mailing address field the same as the property address, so only looking at properties with different addresses may eliminate good prospects.

    4) Last Sale Date: Sorting by this field, in combination with homestead exemption, will return recent buyers who are primarily investors.

    • Sharon Vornholt

      Matthew –

      We also have homestead information once you pull up the individual property as well as the mailing address. It will also show you a complete history of all the deed transfers/sales.

      It looks like we have about the same information. One nice thing you have is the ability to get a spreadsheet from the appraisers site. That’s really nice. Thanks for the info.

      Sharon

  4. I’ve actually composed a list of investors using this very method. I’m in a tri-college town so there are a large amount of rentals. When I searched up and down one street I found probably 40 different investors.

    Back on another assessor’s website it was really smooth. You could enter an owners name and all of their properties would show up so you could see who owned what and where as long as you knew the name of the owner.

    • Wow Steve!

      You hit the jackpot with that strategy. I’m pretty sure that would be true here if I were to look in the area around U of L. I think I will have to take a look myself in that area.

      We can’t do that with our tax assessor’s site. That is really nice. Thanks for the info.

      Sharon

  5. My local county tax assessor lists the owners, but they do not list a way to contact them. How could I go about doing this? Also, you obviously can’t get the postcards until you have a property under contract, so what amount of time do you put on your contracts to allow for printing, mailing, and response?

  6. Jason –

    If you buy a list from the tax assessor, they will give you the name and mailing address. You would have better luck getting your list from another source where you can get the “equity” piece. You can’t get that from the tax assessor’s site.

    Here, you need a paid subscription ($30 a month) to see all the information on thate site. I use it all the time.

    You have the process backwards. You get a list, mail the postcards to the prospective leads, then when they call you look at the property. You only put a house under contract after you have done some type of marketing, gotten a response and determined that it is a house you want to buy. They of course have to accept your offer.

    Sharon

  7. Dan Chan

    If you’re serious about finding list of cash buyers here’s something one of my real estate coach told me to use (http://www.cashbuyerlistings.com). You’ll have to pay a price of it, but I think it’s well worth it since I don’t have to spend too much time trying to find cash buyer in my specific area. If you’re someone that wants to reduce the time and get cash buyer information, this might be an alternative way to go.

  8. Brad Ardrey

    I realize that this is an old thread, but it would be more useful if you all told where you are from (I. e. I’m Brad from Joplin, Mo and here we can do this….). I mean it’s great to give these strategies and hints, but it doesn’t really help new investors, who are trying to figure out what to do and where to do it.

  9. Chuck walker

    We are struggling to find new buyers. We have used the assessor site time and again with marginal success. In fact, we have been long muvh of what you mention in the article, but the issue we run into is that many of the properties are owned by hedge funds or companies. When we send letters to these companies we get no response. We have sent numerous times to the same companies but with no success. We did some trouble shooting by comparing our properties to the ones being bought by these companies only to find no significant differences (even prices were similar). I can appreciate if a company has stopped by in an area that we Re selling in…it happens. But these companies continue to buy in these areas…just not from us. From additional research, it looks like some of these companies are using a single realtor to find and close deals. For whatever reason, these agents are passing on our properties. Not sure why as the houses are very similar in structure and rehab approach.

    Any thoughts?

  10. Sharon Vornholt

    My best buyers always came from my REIA group. You only need 3 to 5 real cash buyers for all your deals. I only buy houses in areas where that are desirable to the buyers on my list. Most of my buyers are rehabbers.
    A few are landlords.

    When I would find a house in a high rental area where my buyers didn’t buy properties then I would look on the tax assessor’s site. In my area you might see that “Derby Properties” owned 3 properties so you know that’s a local investor. Or John and Mary smith own 4 or 5 in the area. You can tell generally if they are regular investors like you.

    Trying to sell houses to buyers you don’t know is always a problem. Do you go to your REIA?

    Sharon

    • Chuck walker

      I use to attend 2 of the larger groups in the greater St. Louis region. I found that most attendees were wholesalers or newbies who wanted to be wholesalers. There were really no legit buyers. As I became fed up with this trend, I started asking the “ veterans” of RE in the area if they attended these meetings. They all, and I mean all of them, told me they did not attend because of the same reasons I mentioned (no legit investors, just wholesalers and newbies). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for excuses…I’m definitely on a mission to find legitimate investors. As I mentioned before, we continue to make use of the assessors site to locate buyers…but cracking that code to get on their list of sellers is proving quite difficult. I’m likely going to give the meetings another shot.

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