As a serious, full-time real estate investor, you need to constantly have your feelers out for new methods to find good real estate deals. I can almost guarantee that you won't be able to find a sufficient amount of deals just by looking on Zillow.com and your local MLS.
There are a ton of different ONLINE methods you can use, but what about the OFFLINE? I am going to share with you seven methods that I use myself to find hidden deals and stay ahead of my competition.
7 (Free) Ways To Find Killer Real Estate Deals Offline
1. Buyers Agents
One great free, offline strategy to find good deals is having an acquisitions manager that is also a licensed realtor who is in a way, married to you. They are out there researching deals that fit your criteria, just for YOU. And the best is, it is at no cost for you because they are paid on commission by the seller.
I see many of my beginner students say that they can't find a realtor to work with who is willing to put in multiple offers to get one profit check. You need to find a buyer's agent that is investor friendly. A good way to find them is to search Trulia.com, HudHomeStore.com, Auction.com, etc. and find the realtors who are using these sites to advertise. You want to work with the agents who are marketing themselves and their business.
Buyer's Agent Case Study:
46 Victor Ave.
All In: $80,000
Sold on 5/27/16 for: $117,000
Was owned by the Ohio Teamsters Credit Union
Foreclosed on and bought by my buyer's agent, Rob Russell, who found the property
2. Short Sale Investors & Agents
There are specific investors, realtors and attorneys that make their living focusing on pre-foreclosure/short sale properties. I have personally flipped over 400 short sales. Usually in these cases, the home is listed and an offer is made, but it takes 3-4 months for the potential buyer to hear back from the short sale lender and they walk away. This happens multiple times until the asking price is heavily reduced.
The "Sweet Spot" are properties that have been listed for at least 180 days because the agent and seller are motivated to unload it.
In our highest level coaching program, we have students Jeff & Julia Kappel who do about 50 pre-foreclosure and short sale flips a year, focusing exclusively on this strategy.
Short Sale Case Study:
3331 Marmore Ave.
Wholesaled for: $55,000
Net Profit: $19,800
Referral from short sale agent
Out of town landlord who wanted to unload the property
Only put about $800 into it!
3. 365 Days On Market
Have your realtor search all the properties in the MLS that have been on the market for AT LEAST 365 days and make an offer at 50% of the asking price. If the house has been on the market for a year, chances are, the homeowner is dying for any kind of offer and it will open the door for negotiation.
4. Expired Listings
Have your buyer's agent pull all the listings from the MLS that are recently expired.
What I like to do is take the listings and compare them to the short sale list because if someone is in a short sale scenario and they have an expired listing, it means they are in pre-foreclosure and are about to lose their house. They have pressure coming from two different directions and they are over-leveraged.
5. Pocket Listings
Everyone will tell you that there are realtors that list bank owned properties, REO's, auction houses, HUD homes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac inventory - but somehow, those properties NEVER end up on the MLS and are sold before they are listed. It makes you wonder how did that happen??
That's called a pocket listing. They are pre-market or pre-MLS listings when a real estate agent is about to list a property and they go to their preferred client list first. I guarantee this happening in California, Nashville, Dallas, New York, Florida, New Jersey, etc.
How do you get in the good graces of these agents? You need to find out who in your market are the top foreclosure listing agents. Those guys have a roster of investors they send the properties out to before they go on the MLS. In order to get work with them, you have to have the cash to close.
These can come from family, friends, business associates or your social network. You can use things like a bi-monthly newsletter, e-mail marketing or direct mail pieces to keep you as their top of mind reference when they think of real estate investing. Constantly be handing out business cards and letting people know what exactly you do.
Pro Tip: Rewarding referrals with a monetary bonus when the deal closes is also a great incentive for them to keep their eyes and ears open for you.
Referral Case Study:
Was purchased in December 2015 from a networking referral from another realtor. The sellers needed to get their house sold in order to qualify and purchase a new house.
Purchased for $90,000 and was listed for $138,500
Structured the deal so we would close a week before they were scheduled to close on their new house
Spent about $5,000 on new paint and carpet and a few other minor fixes
7. Real Estate Investor Association (REIA)
Every market has a REIA that you can join for a small membership fee or for free. There are many newbies there who are looking for partners and attorneys who have probate deals available. Here is a list of some Real Estate Clubs that may be in your area.