Finding new deals is typically one of the hardest things for most new investors to do. With the real estate investing industry increasing in popularity, there is plenty of competition in local markets. Instead of trying the same old methods, you need to think outside the box. If you are waiting on your real estate agent for the next great bank-owned property listing, you may be waiting a very long time. The MLS and your real estate agent should be just one of several methods you use to generate leads. What you will find is that there are more ways to find deals than you may have originally thought. Here are seven methods that you may not have considered using to find deals:
1. Local Newspapers: It wasn’t that long ago when newspapers were the go-to source for local information. Things have certainly changed over the years, but a local newspaper can still be a viable place to find deals. The legal section of your newspaper is filled with potential leads. In addition to any local foreclosures, you should reach out to the attorneys working them, as well as probate listings and heirs. You should also spend time reaching out to rental listings to see if the landlord is disgruntled and may be looking for a way out of the property. Lastly, people that are having garage sales may be moving. Moving means they are going to sell their property. You never know if someone is looking for a quick sale just to move on. Working the local newspaper takes some dialing in, but all you need is one or two new leads a week to make it worth your while.
2. Bulletin Boards: We have all been to local pizzerias and car washes where dozens of business cards are posted. Instead of thinking that they are there just for decoration, take a closer look. Most likely, you will find at least a handful that are related to the real estate business. Mortgage brokers, wholesalers, private money lenders and even property managers can all be in play. People like to work with other local people in their area that they feel there is a connection with. In going to the same local establishments, you immediately have a talking point and something you can reference. You never know when you are going to connect with someone that can change your business.
3. Vacant Properties: The next time you are in the car take notice of any abandoned or vacant properties you see. They may look bad on the outside, but oftentimes they hold real value. When you see a vacant property, the first thing you need to do is contact the owner. Between town hall and local neighbors, you will be able to get at least a name and – in most cases – an address. Start by sending a letter or reaching out to them through social media. If they are out of the property, they need to do something with it. They may not want to deal with a short sale or even a foreclosure. If you can hold their hands and walk them through the process, you may find a wholesale deal that you never expected.
4. Mortgage Brokers: A local mortgage broker is a good person to have on your team. Not only do they have a pool of real estate agents that they work with, but they also deal with homeowners and buyers all the time. Additionally, they most likely work with at least one or two local hard money lenders that can be looking for new investors. Reaching out to them can be as easy as stopping by their office and dropping off a business card. You can also find an email on their website and reach out to them that way. One or two local mortgage brokers can provide you with a handful of leads every month.
5. Referral Program Flyers: Wouldn’t it be nice if people supplied you with leads without having to market for them? One out of the box way to generate leads is by creating a referral program. It can be as easy as putting flyers everywhere you can in your neighborhood. On your flyers you can say that you will pay up to $500 for any property they refer you that closes. Again, for time it takes to print 30 flyers and post them around town, it is certainly worth it to find new deals.
6. Networking Meetings: There are many people who find networking meetings boring and unproductive. There is also another camp who owes a good amount of their business to these meetings. As an investor, nobody is going to force you to go to these meetings. For an hour or so every week or two, you should welcome the opportunity. Networking meetings are filled with like-minded professionals in your area looking to work together. Most of these meetings are very casual and are geared at finding connections.
7. Bandit Signs: You have probably seen the “we buy houses” signs all over town. These bandit signs may get annoying, but they can be a great low cost method in finding deals. For around $50, you can get hundreds of signs that you can strategically place in your area. As long as you place them in the right location and have the right message on them, they can be a great advertising method.
These are just seven ways in which you can find new deals. You don’t have to do them all, but the more options you have, the greater your chances at lead generating success will be.