When you start out in real estate, the first question you probably have or think to yourself is, “how am I going to find a deal?”. Typically, you start out with no money, but an excess of time. Even if you work a 9 – 5, there is still plenty of time to find deals with a few extra hours a day if you are willing to put in the work.
Until you have a budget to spend on consistent marketing, it’s going to take a little extra hustle and grit to make it happen. Luckily, even with a super hot market and more and more people jumping into real estate, there are still deals to be had out there, no matter what city you are in. There are always distressed people who need to sell their house fast and need cash for their home’s vs selling the traditional way with an agent.
Here are 5 low cost ways I recommend people starting with to find their first deal.
1. Drive For Dollars (D4D)
Get in your car and start driving around in your area to find distressed or vacant looking homes! You want to look for houses that are boarded up, have notices on the door, unmaintained lawns, or just down right neglected homes.
These people more than likely do not have the money to fix their home, so they let them fall into disrepair. You can get a tracking app (just search d4d apps) which will run you about $50 a month or just use pen and paper and write down the address. Once you have the address, you can use a free online website like Fast People Search to skip trace the owner’s phone number. From there, you call and text away until you find an owner who’s interested in selling their property.
2. Door Hangers or Sticky Notes
You can get low-cost door hangers or sticky notes made at places like Staples. Put a message on it saying that you buy houses for cash. Get creative here and try out different messages to see what resonates best and gets the highest quality responses.
There are plenty of creative ways to get people to pick up the phone and call you. A bonus to this is that you’ll get some exercise by walking around the neighborhood. You may even be able to find someone to help you hang them in exchange for a cut of the deal.
3. Public Record Searches
You can go on your county website for free (in most states) and find pre foreclosures and other distress points like evictions, tax delinquent, divorce, probate, etc. From there, you can knock on their door or skip trace and call them to prospect for people looking to sell their house.
To make this even more effective, you can do what is called “list stacking” and look for people who are on more than one of these lists. This means there are multiple distress points present and your odds of the person wanting to sell their house for cash goes up. You can filter using an excel spreadsheet or a list stacker which will do it for you.
Most have a monthly subscription price which is reasonable.
Talk to and tell everyone you know about your new venture in buying houses. The more people that know, the better. Post on social media, tell your neighbors, friends, family, colleagues, whoever!
You wouldn’t believe how many of them know of an ugly house in the neighborhood, a neighbor who just passed away, or of their friend’s troubled rental home. These are all potential opportunities to get deals.
When I was just getting into the business, my brother had a vacant house next to him that I never really thought much about. After I learned that I should be finding the owner, I sent them a letter. Long story short, that turned into a $35K wholesale fee and I was off to the races looking for the next one. The instant credibility of telling them I am an investor and that my brother lives next door helped them to trust me and to land that deal.
5. Classifieds and MLS
Believe it or not there are deals on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. People advertise troubled homes on there and it’s a free opportunity to find a deal without spending a dime. Make sure to scan daily or set up alerts. You want to be the first one calling and giving them your pitch to lock it up.
The MLS is also a great place to find deals.
We find multiple a year just by searching through new listings and making offers. With how hot the market is right now, it’s certainly not easy, but it is doable. I would look in the outskirts and in some of the less desirable areas of your market.
Make sure to subscribe to housing updates on Zillow or have an agent set up a keyword search for distressed properties for you. You can call agents directly to make offers and tell them you are unrepresented. This gives you a leg up as the seller doesn’t need to pay commissions on your side. If the agent is taking extra commissions on the sale, they will put in a better word for you because they can make your side of the commission. Either way, someone is benefiting by you not being represented and you become a more desirable buyer.
If you focus on even one of these 5 things and put in the time and effort, you WILL find deals.
It may not be in the first month. It’s going to take consistency and focused action.
The more marketing you get out there and the more conversations you have, the more your likelihood of success will be. We buy houses for cash in Denver from using all of these strategies and from being consistent with daily action.
One deal can change your life and get the wheels turning. Put in the effort, it’s worth it!