Do you want to learn how to find real estate deals like a true professional?
Every successful real estate investor should have a handful of marketing campaigns up and running at any given time; there is really no reason not to. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes new investors make is not devoting enough of their budget to proper marketing campaigns.
There really isn’t a better way, at least that I am aware of, to expand your reach in a community. With several campaigns in place, you are not up the river without a paddle the minute one strategy fails to help you find a real estate deal. Diversifying your marketing strategy is essentially the best way to ensure that you always have leads coming in.
I am willing to bet that most investors are aware of the most common marketing strategies to find real estate deals; bandit signs, networking and cold calling are most likely already a significant part of many campaigns. However, there are several other ways to find off-market deals (not on the MLS) that don’t necessarily coincide with a lot of competition.
How To Find Real Estate Deals With The Best Of Them
If you want to have the best chance of acquiring a deal, you need to go the extra mile and market in ways your competition isn’t. That said, the more diversified your marketing strategy is, the more likely you are to find real estate deals that suit your needs. I recommend using some of the following strategies when you are intent on finding a real estate investment property:
The advent of technology has shifted the marketing landscape, and now places an emphasis on online media. If for nothing else, the Internet is the most likely medium to reach the broadest audience. However, that’s not to say there isn’t still a glaring need for other marketing platforms. One strategy, in particular, is entirely capable of finding real estate deals for savvy investors: direct mail.
Don’t let it’s nostalgic nature fool you either; direct mail remains one of the best ways to find real estate investment properties. There is something about a handwritten letter that people still appreciate.
If finding a real estate investment property is your top priority, I highly recommend using direct mail. Start by finding the best list of prospective sellers for your upcoming campaign. It is safe to assume that nearly half of your success will come from those whom you are targeting. What’s more, the right list allows you to focus your efforts on the properties you want most. Consider the following lists the next time you use a direct mail campaign to find real estate deals:
- Pre-Foreclosure Property Owners
- Out-Of-State Landlords
- Probates & Inherited Properties
- Free & Clear Landlords
- Expired Listings
- Delinquent Property Tax List
While not the only owners worth targeting, I have had a lot of success finding deals marketing to individuals on these lists.
With the right list in hand, you must then make the commitment to mail consistently. The most successful direct mailers understand that consistency is key; most sellers won’t give your letters the time of day until the third or fourth mailing. That said, you must execute a multi-step campaign. Don’t give up if you don’t receive any inquiries after just one mailing. I have noticed that response rates increase dramatically with each additional mail-out.
Facebook, and nearly every social media platform for that matter, has proven capable of marketing to a mass audience. In fact, there may be no simpler, cost-effective means of marketing to such a broad group of people. Those that have neglected to implement a Facebook or social media marketing campaign may not understand just how simple it can be to find real estate investment properties. If you are among those that have yet to use Facebook to find real estate deals, there is no question you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to secure leads.
Other Real Estate Professionals
It shouldn’t come as a surprise; real estate is a people business. There is no excuse for not putting yourself out there and networking on a regular basis.
I highly encourage investors who want to find real estate deals to consider other like-minded professionals as valuable contacts, as opposed to competition.
It is important to note that everyone you come into contact with is either a potential lead (directly or indirectly) themselves or the source of a referral. You never know who may have your next deal waiting in the wings. That said, do your best to network with the following contacts:
- Other Investors: It may surprise you to learn that not every investor is capable of taking on every deal that comes their way; some are either too busy with other projects or are simply not competent enough to take on even the simplest of tasks. Whatever the situation may be, the subject property in question is essentially a potential deal to be had. Networking with these individuals, or at least keeping in their good graces, can net you the properties they are incapable of working. At the very least, they may consider a joint venture with someone they deem capable. Do your best to keep in touch with investors and your persistence may just be rewarded.
- Real Estate Agents & Brokers: As an investor, I highly recommend establishing a solid relationship with both real estate agents and brokers. However, these individuals are beneficial to have on both sides of a transaction. If for nothing else, the nature of their job awards them access to homes for sale; they are often the first people aware of when a property goes up for sale. When people think of selling their homes, who do they contact first?
- Mortgage Brokers: Not unlike real estate agents and brokers, mortgage brokers are often the first ones contacted when someone intends to sell their home. More often than not, people contact mortgage brokers to see if they qualify for a loan to buy a new house before they sell the one they are currently in. That said, mortgage brokers are made aware of homes that will go up for sale before they hit the market. I am sure I don’t need to tell you the value in a relationship such as this.
- Attorneys: Attorneys are regularly hired to represent individuals who may have to sell their property for any number of reasons: pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy, probate, evictions and divorce. Whatever the case may be, they often hear of houses that may be up for sale before anyone else. It is therefore in your best interest to maintain close relationship with attorneys in your local market.
While these four sources can very easily help you find real estate deals, they are by no means the only people you should reach out to. Consider anyone with a connection to the housing industry to be a viable source of real estate leads. That means you should constantly strive to better relationships with title agents, insurance agents, hard-money lenders, building department officials, contractors, and even friends or family members.
I want to be perfectly clear; nothing is more important to a real estate investor than his or her reputation within a specific community. Remember, real estate is a people business. Nurturing meaningful, symbiotic relationships with those around you carries a significant amount of weight and can be the sole difference between a great investor and a poor one. What’s more, the reputation you decide to create is entirely capable of generating leads and finding real estate deals.
Before I get ahead of myself, a real estate investor’s reputation is not something that is developed over night; it is something that must gradually be built up over time. You must be proactive in your attempts to establish a credible reputation. You can’t expect others to go out of their way to help you if you aren’t willing to do the same.
I highly encourage placing the needs of others ahead of your own, at least for the time being. Prove to others that you are indeed a reliable contact, and I can assure you that your generosity will not go unnoticed. The more valuable you are to another individual, the more they will want to work with you, not excluding the professionals I mentioned in the previous section. You would be surprised at how well a great reputation can help you find real estate deals.
As with any marketing campaign, you must place an emphasis on the follow-up. Each of the strategies I mentioned above are useless if you don’t have the resources in place to account for every incoming lead. Do your best to keep track of the leads coming in, and be prepared to act on each one. Just as much work should go into maintaining leads as you put into finding them. Only then will you understand how to find real estate deals like the pros.