Real estate investors are always waiting for the next great deal to come along. Here are some tips for accelerating that process and finding your next investment property fast!
1. Work with more than one real estate agent
Did you know that you can work with more than one agent? Many people don’t even consider it, but it’s a missed opportunity. You should especially look for realtors who have experience with investing, because buying an investment property is different from buying a residence and many realtors don’t realize the distinction.
2. Network, network, network
There are lots of reasons to join local REI clubs and network with other investors and real estate professionals. Not least of all is the fact that they can help you find your next property. Whenever a landlord decides to get out of the real estate investing business or shift his focus to another area or type of property, you will get a chance at purchasing that property if you’ve developed a good working relationship.
3. Let coworkers, friends, and family know that you’re in the market for new properties
Everyone has connections. You might be surprised to find out how much your friends and family can help you, and most of them will be glad to do so. At some point, someone you know is going to know a person who’s putting their house or commercial building up for sale. This is a totally free way to get more leads!
4. Search for short sales and foreclosures online
You already know how to find houses on MLS, but sometimes you can find properties that aren’t listed there by searching auction sites and property records. There are tons of sites out there that can help you search for potential investment properties—you’re not limited to Zillow and Realtor.com.
5. Drive around looking for vacant or unkempt properties
Drive, walk, or ride your bike around some neighborhoods in your community. If you see a yard where the grass is knee-high and the siding is falling off, chances are, it’s either vacant or the owner simply cannot care for it. In either case, they may want to sell. Send a personalized letter or knock on the door if there seem to be people there. If it seems totally vacant, you can search around to try to get the phone number of the owner and make an offer they can’t refuse. Be kind, respectful, and courteous, and never try to pressure anyone into selling if they don’t initially want to. If they decline, politely give them your contact info and suggest that they let you know if they ever decide to sell in the future.
6. Call mom and pop landlords who are listing rental properties in the newspaper, on Craigslist, or in other local publications
Casual landlords are often happy to sell their rental properties, and you can easily find their contact information in a variety of ways: Craigslist, local newspapers, signs and flyers around town. There are unique regional ways to find properties for rent, too. For example, my local credit union has a weekly “Swap Sheet” classifieds section that is available for free at the grocery store. Anyone can grab one of these printouts; you don’t even need a subscription like you do for a local newspaper.