In a perfect world, you would always have a full pipeline and the next deal would present itself as soon as you finished the last. However, such hopes are not based in reality. Even the best investors find themselves to have downtime. What you do during these periods can make all the difference in the success of your real estate business. Instead of lamenting the fact that you don’t have a deal on the table, be proactive and get things done. Here are the five most important things investors should be doing between deals:
1. Review lead generation: More often than not, investors will scrap what they are doing to generate leads if they realize they have none coming in. While you may need to changes things up, you should wait until you review what you are currently doing. The problem may not be with what you are doing, but how you are doing it. It is not enough to send a couple postcards and wait for your phone to ring. Whatever you do, you need to do it enough times to fully gauge the results. Studies show that most people will not respond to marketing until after the fourth attempt. Sometimes it may take as much as seven tries. It is the repetition of the marketing that will yield results. If this is in place, you should examine what you are sending and who you are sending it to. The problem could lie with your marketing materials and presentation. Take a look at what you are sending out and if there are changes that need to be made. The little things can make a big difference.
2. Find local contacts: When you are between deals, you want to be able to act as soon as something comes your way. Instead of viewing a slow period as a negative, you can turn it around and take advantage of some free time. This free time will give you the chance to network with local contacts. Not only will this help you find deals now, but it will help grow your business in the future. You can never have enough good realtors, mortgage brokers, attorneys, contractors, handymen and accountants. Make it a point to visit with someone new every day, or at least once a week at a minimum. Real estate investing is often a numbers game. The more contacts you make and the more relationships you establish, the greater the chance that any lulls will only be temporary. Local contacts make up a large portion of your business. If you are not busy, there is no excuse not to use your time to find them.
3. Drive for deals: Many new investors will never know how difficult it was finding deals a decade or two ago. Mailings and foreclosures were not as prevalent as they were years ago. To find new deals, you would actually have to go out and get them. One of the most popular ways was to get in your car and either knock on doors or find properties that looked distressed. These methods worked then, and they still work today. You have probably driven by a distressed property today and either didn’t know it or didn’t act on it. If you are looking for deals, you should spend a day in your car looking for distressed properties within a certain area. Any property with overgrown grass or in dire need of maintenance could be a sign of an owner that is looking to sell. Once you locate these properties, you can either knock on the door if you are feeling brave or take down the address and send them a nice letter. If you reach out to ten distressed properties, you may only get a handful of responses. This may not seem great, but for the minimal time spent it is certainly worth your effort.
4. Attend local meetings: When you are not as busy as you would like to be, the general consensus to do less instead of more. The best way to get out of a down period is to work your way through it. This means going to local networking meetings and investment clubs. You never know when you will meet someone that will change your business. You also never know when you will hear an idea that will completely change the way you think. Sometimes a different way of looking at the business will spur action. Each investment club meeting is filled with topics that can lead you on a different path. It can also open doors that you never even knew were there.
5. Improve current systems: Do you have a system for evaluating new properties? How about a checklist for turning properties over? Whatever the action is, you should have a process for it. Down periods between deals is the perfect time to review these processes or implement new systems. When you do get a deal, you want to streamline the process and make it as smooth as possible. Spend a few minutes to review your checklist and see if there is anything you want to add or omit. The work you do now can make your next deal as profitable as ever.
Having a gap between deals doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you use your time wisely, you can actually benefit from downtime.