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Bird Dogging Real Estate

Wholesalers and real estate investors need property leads. And with all the tools and strategies for lead generation, it can be quite overwhelming (and expensive) for the new real estate wholesaler.

So we return to the simplest and one of oldest forms of finding property deals…

Bird dogging.

Before the internet and SEO, and all the other complicated tools for property finding, real estate investors were bird-dogging and “driving 4 dollars” to find properties to buy.

And it’s a “guerrilla marketing” tactic that every wholesaler should at least know.

So let’s dive into how…

What is Bird Dogging in Real Estate

Bird dogging in real estate is like turning your property search into a team sport. Think of it as an expanded version of “driving for dollars.” In traditional driving for dollars, investors themselves drive around neighborhoods, scouting for potential property deals – typically, homes that look distressed or undervalued. But let’s face it, one person can only cover so much ground. This is where bird dogging swoops in.

In essence, bird dogging involves recruiting a network of individuals – these are your “bird dogs.” They are your eyes and ears on the streets, constantly on the lookout for potential real estate opportunities. These bird dogs could be anyone: friends, family members, or even people you meet who live or work in areas with high real estate potential.

The beauty of bird dogging lies in its simplicity and scalability. Instead of being limited to your own two eyes and one car, you multiply your reach. Every bird dog you recruit extends your search radius, enhances your ability to find off-market deals, and ultimately, amplifies your chances of landing a lucrative real estate investment. It’s a grassroots approach, leveraging the power of community and local knowledge to uncover those hidden gems that might otherwise remain unnoticed.

In a nutshell, bird dogging in real estate is about building a network that works together towards a common goal: finding the next great property deal. It’s an age-old tactic that harnesses the power of collaboration, proving that sometimes, the simplest methods are the most effective.

What is the difference between wholesaling and Bird Dogging?

Diving into the world of real estate, it’s crucial to distinguish between two often-interchanged terms: wholesaling and bird dogging. They might seem like they’re playing the same game, but really, they’re different players with unique roles.

Wholesaling in real estate is a full-fledged business strategy. It involves finding undervalued properties, getting them under contract, and then selling that contract to an end buyer – usually another investor. The wholesaler makes money from the difference between the contracted price and the sale price. Think of it as a middleman’s role; wholesalers are deal-makers, negotiators, and savvy marketers all rolled into one. They often use various strategies to find these deals, including marketing campaigns, networking, and yes, bird dogging.

Bird dogging, on the other hand, is more of a tactical approach within the larger real estate playbook. It’s about scouting for potential property leads and passing this information to investors or wholesalers. Bird dogs are like the scouts in a treasure hunt – they don’t negotiate deals or handle contracts. Their primary task is to identify promising properties and alert those who have the means and expertise to make a deal. For their effort, bird dogs receive a finder’s fee.

How Wholesalers Can Use Bird Dogs for Their Operation

Real estate wholesalers, in their constant quest for new property leads, can greatly enhance their search by employing bird dogs. These individuals are the scouts on the ground, spotting potential property leads and expanding the wholesaler’s reach. Let’s delve into who can be an effective bird dog:

1. New Inspiring Wholesalers: These budding enthusiasts are keen to make their mark in the real estate wholesaling arena. Eager to learn and with a fresh perspective, they can be excellent at identifying promising deals, proving to be a valuable asset in the bird dogging process.

2. Utility Workers: Regularly on the move across various neighborhoods, utility workers have a unique perspective on properties. Their daily routes put them in a perfect position to notice properties that show signs of distress or neglect, which can be prime targets for wholesalers.

3. Locksmiths: Often called to properties during transitions, such as foreclosures or estate sales, locksmiths gain firsthand knowledge of homes that might be headed for the market or in need of quick sales. Their insight can lead to valuable leads on potential deals.

In summary, effective bird dogs can be anyone who frequents your target market area and has the knack for spotting distressed properties. For wholesalers, cultivating a network of these individuals and incentivizing them for their leads can significantly widen their search net. This strategy not only uncovers more opportunities but also propels their business in the competitive realm of real estate.

So You’ve Found a Distressed Property, What Now?

Discovering a distressed property is just the beginning in the bird dogging journey. Remember, bird dogging isn’t about immediate marketing; it’s about building a list of potential leads. Once you’ve identified a property, the next step is to establish contact with the owner. Here’s a streamlined process to do just that:

1. Use Skip Tracing Tools: These tools are invaluable in locating the owner’s mailing address and phone number. They sift through public records and databases, providing you with the contact information you need to reach out to the property owner.

2. Send Handwritten Mailers: In a digital world, a personalized touch can make a big difference. Sending a handwritten mailer to the property owner can set you apart, showing a level of care and personal investment that’s rare in today’s market.

3. Call and Text Them: Once you’ve sent a mailer, follow up with a phone call or a text. This direct approach can often yield faster responses. It’s about establishing a line of communication, showing interest in the property, and gauging the owner’s interest in selling.

4. Follow Up: Persistence is key in real estate. If you don’t get a response immediately, don’t be discouraged. Follow up periodically. Sometimes property owners need time to consider their options, or your message might reach them at a more opportune moment later on.

Each of these steps is crucial in converting a lead into a potential deal. It’s about consistent and respectful communication, demonstrating your genuine interest in the property and positioning yourself as a trustworthy contact for the owner. Bird dogging is as much about building relationships as it is about finding properties.

Alternatives to Bird Dogging

While bird dogging is a tried-and-true method for finding properties, especially for those with ample time and a solid network, it’s just one of many strategies in the real estate investor’s arsenal. Depending on your resources, other techniques can be just as effective in uncovering lucrative property leads. Let’s delve into some of these alternatives:

1. Pull a List of Absentee Landlords: This strategy involves identifying owners who don’t reside in their properties. Once you’ve compiled this list, a personal touch can go a long way. Sending a handwritten letter demonstrates seriousness and professionalism. Follow this up with a phone call to gauge their interest in selling.

2. Drive for Dollars: In contrast to bird dogging, here you are the one driving through neighborhoods, keeping an eye out for properties that exhibit signs of neglect or potential distress. This direct approach allows for firsthand assessment of potential investments and often uncovers hidden gems.

3. Networking: A cornerstone in real estate, effective networking can open doors to opportunities that might not be publicly listed. Engage in local real estate meetings, participate in online forums, and build relationships with other investors and industry professionals. A robust network can lead to valuable referrals and insider information on upcoming deals.

Each of these approaches has unique advantages and can play a vital role in a well-rounded strategy for locating real estate deals. Whether it’s the active engagement of driving for dollars, the strategic outreach to absentee landlords, or leveraging the power of a network, there’s a method that aligns with every investor’s style and objectives in the dynamic world of real estate.

How Much Can You Earn from Real Estate Bird Dogging?

Diving into the financial side of real estate bird dogging, the earning potential can be quite enticing. Typically, bird dog fees hover around $500 to $1,000 for each lead that culminates in a successful property closing. This means if your keen eye and research skills lead a wholesaler or investor to a property deal that goes through, you could pocket a handsome sum for your efforts. It’s a simple equation: the more successful leads you provide, the more you earn.

However, it’s essential to understand that bird dogging isn’t a ticket to consistent, steady income. The availability of promising properties isn’t always guaranteed, and the market’s ups and downs play a significant role. Plus, what you might identify as a potential deal might not align with an investor’s criteria. This inconsistency is part and parcel of the bird dogging landscape. So, while there are opportunities to earn well, it’s more realistic to view bird dogging as a supplementary income stream or a flexible side hustle, rather than a full-time, predictable job. With persistence, a good network, and a bit of luck, bird dogging can be a rewarding venture in the dynamic world of real estate.

Is Being a Real Estate Bird-Dog Worth It?

Venturing into real estate bird-dogging can be a wise move, especially for those new to the industry. It’s a low-cost, low-risk way to gain valuable market insight and build a network in the real estate world. You’ll learn about property valuation and investor preferences without the need for a hefty financial investment. If you’re eyeing a start in real estate investing but wish to avoid a large financial commitment, bird-dogging could be the ideal stepping stone. It’s a practical learning experience and a chance to establish important connections, making it a worthwhile endeavor for aspiring investors.

So You’ve Found a Distressed Property, What Now?

Discovering a distressed property is just the beginning in the bird dogging journey. Remember, bird dogging isn’t about immediate marketing; it’s about building a list of potential leads. Once you’ve identified a property, the next step is to establish contact with the owner. Here’s a streamlined process to do just that:

1. Use Skip Tracing Tools: These tools are invaluable in locating the owner’s mailing address and phone number. They sift through public records and databases, providing you with the contact information you need to reach out to the property owner.

2. Send Handwritten Mailers: In a digital world, a personalized touch can make a big difference. Sending a handwritten mailer to the property owner can set you apart, showing a level of care and personal investment that’s rare in today’s market.

3. Call and Text Them: Once you’ve sent a mailer, follow up with a phone call or a text. This direct approach can often yield faster responses. It’s about establishing a line of communication, showing interest in the property, and gauging the owner’s interest in selling.

4. Follow Up: Persistence is key in real estate. If you don’t get a response immediately, don’t be discouraged. Follow up periodically. Sometimes property owners need time to consider their options, or your message might reach them at a more opportune moment later on.

Each of these steps is crucial in converting a lead into a potential deal. It’s about consistent and respectful communication, demonstrating your genuine interest in the property and positioning yourself as a trustworthy contact for the owner. Bird dogging is as much about building relationships as it is about finding properties.

Conclusion

In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned real estate investor or just starting out, understanding and utilizing various property-finding strategies like bird dogging, direct outreach to absentee landlords, driving for dollars, and effective networking can significantly enhance your ability to uncover valuable deals. Each method has its unique advantages and can be tailored to fit your individual investment style and goals. By diversifying your approach and building a strong network, you can navigate the competitive landscape of real estate with greater confidence and success, paving the way for lucrative investment opportunities.