I’ve often found that the deals that are the toughest to track down the ones with the biggest payoff. I don’t see a lot of people who talk about the methods I am about to discuss because these methods take a lot of work. As wholesalers we do a lot of marketing. In my case I do a lot of mail per month, and I always get return mail because the seller does not live at the address I mailed to.
Most people never do anything with the return mail. They just let it pile up or throw it out. I give the list of names to my VA and have her put these names on a separate spreadsheet. I then do a method called “skip tracing.” If I have any luck tracking down these owners, normally they are ready and happy to sell.
I use a service called TLO.com, which gives me information about sellers, as well as relatives’ previous addresses and current addresses. Like anything else, sometimes it’s accurate, and sometimes it’s not. If you are pressed for cash, you can use free tools like 411.com, Whitepages.com, Facebook or a simple Google search. You might have to do a little more than just pick up the phone to call; sometimes I’ll go knock on their current address’s door trying to catch them. Remember, success will require you to do what others won’t do. So don’t be afraid to put in work.
My Recent Deal
Lets talk about a recent deal I was getting on a property. It was such a no-brainer I decided to keep it for myself as a rental. The problem arose when the Attorney ran the title search and discovered one heir was missing. I refused to give up because I really wanted this property. I searched for them through TLO.com, and I was able to locate some information on them. I then took that information, and I called her up, left messages on all lines, and then went to go knock on her door.
She lived in a beautiful neighborhood. I left a note on the door for her to call me. As I was driving home, I felt defeated, thinking I was not going to find her. She eventually did call my phone, and I explained the situation to her. I told her I would give her $500 for her signature on the paperwork. I was 100% transparent as to the purchase price, condition of property, back taxes, etc. She agreed to sign the documents, and she later told me she verified my information by going by the property, and she confirmed it was a dump. Remember, always be honest; if not, it will come back to bite you.
She reached out to the heirs after I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea because previously a family member told me her side of the family wanted nothing to do with her. That’s a long story. Anyway, she Googled her family, called them and did not get the welcoming feel she was looking for. She told me about the conversation and said, “I don’t want the money. I just want to sign and be done with them.” I personally delivered the documents to her, and she got them notarized and sent back to the attorney. I gave her a gift card equaling $500. She did gave me the addresses of some other property she inherited. I advised her that due to her particular situation, a realtor might be her best option. I provided her with a realtor option. Remember: I buy houses; I don’t get sold on houses. We won’t have a solution for everyone’s problems, but we can help out.
This was just one of the good deals I was able to track down via skip tracing. I think paying for skip tracing software is a plus to have in your tool bag. Even if it requires a subscription service for $100/month, if you make an extra $15k a year using it, then it’s worth it. For mine, I pay a dollar per search. I’ve had it a few years, and I’ve heard that it’s a little more difficult to get an account with them these days. But remember, Google is your friend to search for other services. Or you can ask other investors on BP what they are using to locate sellers.
How do you go about finding motivated sellers?
Let us know in the comments section below!