Every good real estate investor has a strong buyers list. Even if you don’t have a property you are actively selling, you never know when you will need a cash buyer. Growing and developing your list should be something you constantly focus on. Starting your search after you have a deal is often too late. When you get a deal that you need to turn around quickly, your list should be the first resource you turn to. Cash buyers are abundant in every market; you just need to know where to look. Here are some of the best ways to grow your buyers list.
1. MLS: A good relationship with a local real estate agent will open many doors for your business. In addition to finding and selling properties, they can also provide valuable information the get from the MLS. When most investors think of the MLS, they assume it is only used for running comparable listings. I can assure you, however, that the MLS does much more than that. You can ask your real estate agent for a list of all cash transactions over the last 90 days. Between sellers without mortgages on the listing or deals that have closed with cash, the MLS should provide a good starting point. From there, you should reach out to these individuals to get an idea of what types of properties and deals they look for. It is a good idea to have a mini application ready to store any information. This information should be transferred over to a bigger database, where you can store email addresses and other contact information. Ask if they would be interested in receiving notifications the next time you have a deal that you think fits their criteria.
2. Bandit Signs: Bandit sign campaigns are run in almost every neighborhood, and many people don’t realize that they are a great source for finding buyers. All of the “we buy houses” or “close in 5 days” signs you see are potential buyers for your your next deal. All of the signs come complete with either an email or phone number that should be used to generate contact. In much the same way that I recommended contacting buyers and sellers from the MLS, you should reach out to the numbers found on bandit signs. In some cases, the response you receive won’t be great, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Truth be told, you are providing them with a free source of leads. They have nothing to lose by you sending them a potential deal. If they don’t like it, they will simply pass without losing anything.
3. Craigslist: There are many ways to use Craigslist to grow your buyers list. For starters, you should spend some time every day looking at the property listings. In the listings, you will get an idea of what they are looking to accomplish. Many of the selling listings are actually from investors in your market. Even though they are selling, there is a good chance they are interested in buying as well. Reach out to them to see if they are actively looking for real estate. You can also make note of any real estate agents who are promoting these listings. They often know a handful of investors they directly work with. Explain what you do and if they would mind passing your contact information along to their investors.
4. Real Estate Clubs & Networking Events: As good as it is to reach out to new contacts by email or phone, nothing beats face to face networking. You can find real estate investment clubs and meetings in just about any market. On top of that, they are great sources to find new buyers. In most meetings, there is an hour or so dedicated to the act of networking. This is your chance to connect with real investors who are doing business in your area. Reach out to as many people as you can with business cards in hand. Not everyone you meet will be receptive, but the people you do connect with will be valuable additions to your buyers list. The same is the case with networking groups. Almost everyone at a local group knows someone who is an investor. Explain to them that you are also an investor who is always looking to make new contacts. The more people you meet, the greater chance you will find new buyers.
5. Local Contacts: You probably have access to a handful of buyers without even knowing it. Between your real estate agent, attorney, accountant, insurance agent and mortgage broker, someone will know someone looking to buy. Explain to them that you are looking to build your buyers base and network with local investors. They will probably either give you their name and number or pass yours along to them.
You never know when a deal will fall into your lap that requires a quick turnaround. A strong buyers list allows you to earn on deals you normally would not. Spend just a little time everyday working on finding new buyers.