It’s often been said that more people get rich by investing in real estate than by any other type of business.
And there’s a reason for that…
Unlike stocks, bonds, and bitcoin, people will always need somewhere to live and the human population will continue to grow, so real estate will continue to appreciate and increase in demand… probably for as long as humans are around.
So how do you get a piece of the action?
More specifically, how do you find good real estate deals?
Here are 8 practical and proven methods — these will work whether you’re a new or seasoned investor.
1. Send Hand-Written Direct Mailers
Lots of mailers get thrown away. And you know what gets thrown away more than almost anything else? Sales-y offers that the prospect is already annoyed with receiving.
Since most of your competitors (probably all of them) are sending direct mail campaigns to the same people that you are, you have to get creative. If you don’t stand out, then your cost-per-acquisition will sky-rocket and so too will your overhead.
And while handwritten mailers are practically guaranteed to catch your prospect’s attention, how the hell are you going to write thousands of mailers in a matter of minutes?
Enter Ballpoint Marketing, a service built by my brother, Ryan Dossey, as a response to just that question.
Written by robots, for wholesalers just like yourself, this service will promise a higher open rate, response rate, and — ultimately — more motivated sellers in your pipeline in less time and by spending less money.
Start by pulling a few of the following lists from PropStream in your target market…
- Tax Delinquent List
- Code Violation List
- Equity List
- Inheritance List
… and then send some of Ballpoint Marketing’s mailers and wait for the phone to ring. Expect to spend about $2,000 or more to find your first (or next) deal.
2. Call Past Clients & Ask For Referrals
Most real estate investors forget that their past customers represent a massive opportunity for generating leads.
(Your competition probably isn’t doing this)
But there’s a lot to be said for calling your past customers and asking them for referrals.
You don’t have to be pushy and you don’t have to make it awkward, just ask them how they’re doing and then have a brief pitch.
Something like this…
“Hey [name]! How are you?”
“I’m good. Yourself?”
“Great! I just wanted to call to see how [something specific to the person] is going?”
[Wait for response]
“I’m so glad to hear that! Well, I don’t wanna take up too much more of your time, but if you know anyone who needs to sell their house fast, keep me in mind, will ya?”
You’re probably wondering how you’re going to know something specific about the person, though. Well, we recommend recording details about all of your client interactions inside of a CRM like REISift — that way you can rekindle the relationship without missing a beat (no matter how much time has passed).
But if you really wanna call a lead and can’t remember their specific situation, just ask about how things have turned out for them after selling with you. It’s an easy way to start a friendly conversation, maintain a beneficial relationship, and get a referral.
3. Build Relationships With Other Real Estate Professionals
This might take a little more time. Might.
If you already have good relationships with other real estate investors and agents in the area, then it’s time to start leveraging those relationships for your business. I’m not talking about being manipulative. I’m talking about building a mutually beneficial referral relationship with those connections.
You refer sellers who aren’t a fit for your service to the real estate agent, for instance, and they refer sellers to you who aren’t a fit for their service.
Similarly, you can build and leverage relationships with different types of real estate investors. The more healthy relationships you have in the community (especially other real estate experts), the more leads and referrals you’ll generate.
You can build relationships with wholesalers, rehabbers, agents, and even private money lenders.
If you don’t have many relationships with other agents and investors in the area, then it’s time to join a meetup or spend more time in the local coffee shops.
4. Save Leads in a CRM and Keep Following Up
Most real estate investors give up on leads way too fast. On the first and second phone call, the lead might not seem very motivated, but Ryan and I have first-hand experience showing that following up is one of the most important parts of closing deals consistently.
The good news is that this means that the vast majority of your competition doesn’t follow up more than a few times with their prospects. If you do, then you’ll have an advantage over even your most aggressive competitors.
To avoid annoying your prospects, you can use different mediums to contact them, find a healthy cadence in time between contacts, and (most importantly) focus on building the relationship rather than hard-selling.
In the end, even if they don’t convert, you’ll have built a relationship with someone in the community who will now refer other motivated sellers to you. Here are some follow-up scripts you can copy and paste all you like.
5. Attend Foreclosure Auctions
One of the best places to find real estate deals is at foreclosure auctions. Properties are foreclosed on when the owner stops making mortgage payments and so the lender tries to recoup their investment by selling the home to the highest bidder.
These auctions usually take place on the courthouse steps and the property must be purchased for cash, sight unseen.
(You can learn about the specific foreclosure laws in your state over here)
To find upcoming foreclosures, you can look around on Zillow and search for pre-foreclosures. And here’s a list of places where you can look for upcoming auctions — sometimes these auctions are held online and you can bid from the comfort of your sofa.
As a bonus tip, foreclosure auctions are also one of the best places for wholesalers to find high-quality cash buyers — attend, bring some business cards, and introduce yourself when the time is appropriate.
Wholesalers (click that link to learn more) make money by finding real estate deals for other investors (like yourself). So if you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of profit (usually $5,000 to $10,000) on your deals, then wholesalers can be an awesome source of deals.
They find motivated sellers, put the property under contract, and flip that contract to you for an assignment fee — if the wholesaler has good deals, then you’ll still make a hefty profit.
And the good news is that finding wholesalers is super easy… because they want you to find them.
Just Google for “sell my house fast in [target market]” and browse through the organic results.
You’ll find lots of wholesalers in your area who are working to secure real estate deals.
Just give them a call and let them know that you’d like to be added to their cash buyer’s list — then you’ll be notified (usually via email) whenever they have deals available. They should also send you all of the important details about the deals so you can make an informed decision.
7. Drive For Dollars
Let’s pretend that you want to find real estate deals and spend as little money as possible to do so…
A lot of people want to get started in real estate investing without spending thousands of dollars — and fortunately, there’s a way to do so.
The business models you’ll want to choose from are either wholesaling or BRRRRing (click the links for details). And then to find motivated sellers, the cheapest method is called “driving for dollars” — this is where you drive around your target market and look for distressed properties. You can often find a few hundred potential deals in just a few hours of driving!
Write down those addresses so you can reference them later and, while you’re out, hang handwritten door hangers on each house using Ballpoint Marketing that offers your services and provides your phone number so they can call if they’re interested.
This is one of the easiest and lowest-cost ways we know of to find real estate deals.
Many seasoned real estate investors still use this tactic because it helps them find deals that their competitors aren’t paying attention to. Give it a try!
8. Spend Less Time on the Phone
Are you a seasoned real estate investor trying to grow your business?
Don’t get lost inside of your business.
Most entrepreneurs spend so much time working in their business that they never have the time to work on growing their business (or filling up their pipeline for the future).
So you’ve got to work smarter, not harder, and delegate (or automate) all the extra time-consuming stuff that someone else could do.
One of the most time-consuming parts of a growing real estate investing business, for instance, is answering the phone. When you’re trying to generate more deals, the phone will ring more… and to get your money’s worth, each of those leads should be treated with equal diligence.
The phone should be answered within a few rings, the salesperson should be respectful and attentive, and a follow-up appointment should be scheduled.
That’s what Call Porter specializes in — answering the phone when it rings, screening leads, and scheduling follow-up appointments with you or your acquisitions manager. You can schedule a free demo over here.
By spending less time on the phone, you’ll have more time to optimize processes and grow your business.
9. Tell Your Network
This one is a no-brainer, but it’s also super important.
When you start looking for real estate deals, tell your network!
You never know where real estate deals or private funding might come from — maybe even from a friend or family member. Post on social media, text your friends and call your family.
The more people who know about your real estate venture, the more opportunities that will naturally arise.
10. Join REI Forums
The internet is full of forums where like-minded people congregate to talk about common interests.
And real estate investing is one of those things that people congregate around — they discuss strategies for finding deals and talking to sellers, running their businesses, and the tools they use to streamline the entire process.
Plug yourself into these forums, spend a little bit of time in them each week, and who knows what you’ll be able to learn!
Here are a few forums to get started…
11. Search Craigslist
Craigslist is a great place to find both sellers and cash buyers.
And the best way to find real estate deals is by searching Craigslist for motivated sellers. You’re looking for FSBO homes that have been listed for a good chunk of time — those sellers aren’t having much success selling and they might be interested in getting a cash offer.
Call them or text them and say something simple like this…
I just noticed that your house at [address] is listed for sale on Craigslist. I’m interested in buying it for cash. Please let me know if it’s still for sale.
Real estate is the best, most surefire way to build wealth.
And investing doesn’t have to be complicated… no matter your budget or your area, there are ways to find real estate deals (even creatively!) — just choose one of the proven 8 strategies above and give it a try!
Send mail, drive for dollars, work with wholesalers, or attend foreclosure auctions.
In the end, the only difference between people who build wealth through real estate and people who don’t is action… and inaction.
Are you ready to take action?