Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

How To Find Real Estate Deals Like A Professional

Written by Than Merrill

Do you want to learn how to find real estate deals like a true professional?

Every successful real estate investor has a handful of marketing campaigns up and running at any given time. In fact, the secret to finding more real estate deals is to diversify your marketing efforts. By doing so, investors can expand their overall reach and stay ahead of the competition.

The biggest challenge when it comes to marketing will be identifying which options work best for you. Many investors find direct mail and bandit signs to be helpful, while others prefer social media and networking. But the best way to generate consistent, reliable leads is by finding the right combination of techniques for your market. Read through our guide below and learn how to find good real estate deals today.

real estate deal

Tips for Finding Real Estate Deals

In order to find the best real estate deal, you need to go the extra mile and market in ways your competition isn’t. This means honing in on what works in your area (and what doesn’t) in order to identify the best leads. A good place to start is by researching different marketing strategies and then testing them in your area. Through careful planning and implementation you can find options that are both cost effective and efficient.

The list below reveals several marketing ideas that will help you generate reliable real estate deals:

  • Direct Mail

  • Facebook

  • Other Real Estate Professionals

  • Driving For Dollars

  • Craigslist

  • Town Hall

  • Bandit Signs

  • Real Estate Websites

  • Newspaper Ads

  • Check The MLS

  • Use The Radio

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1. Direct Mail

The advent of technology has shifted the marketing landscape away from more traditional strategies, but that does not mean those techniques aren’t still helpful. For example, direct mail remains one of the most effective ways to find real estate investment properties. There is something about receiving a letter in the mail that people still appreciate. If you have never executed a direct mail campaign, there are three main steps to follow: create a list of sellers, design and send your first letters, and follow up to increase your response rate.

Start by finding the best possible list of prospective sellers for your campaign. A well-planned list allows you to focus your efforts on the properties you want the most. Lists include pre-foreclosures, probates or inherited properties, expired listings, and out-of-state landlords. More often than not, these properties will lead you to motivated sellers looking to sell their homes as quickly as possible.

After creating your list of sellers, take time to design the piece of marketing collateral you will actually mail out. This could take the form of handwritten letters, postcards, and more. Look for options that allow you to send a strong message while still staying within your budget.

Once you’ve finalized your list and design, you must then commit to mailing your pieces consistently. Strategize a multi-step campaign, and don’t give up if you do not receive any inquiries after the first mailing. Remember, response rates will often increase after each additional mail-out!

2. Facebook

Facebook, and nearly every social media platform for that matter, has proven to be more than capable of marketing to a mass audience. It is arguably the most user-friendly, cost-effective means of marketing to a broad group of people. If you have not yet implemented a Facebook marketing campaign, you miss out on a valuable opportunity to secure leads.

To start marketing through Facebook, first, create a page for your business. Fill out your profile by including a company description, link to your website, mission statement, contact information, and even a few pictures of your office or logo. This will help users understand what you do and explain how to get in contact with you. To start generating leads through Facebook, you can post articles and other helpful information to your feed to grow a following in your market, run advertisements, and join groups to interact with other real estate investors.

3. Other Real Estate Professionals

It is easy to view other real estate investors as competition, particularly those within your market area. However, I always encourage investors to think of other like-minded professionals as valuable contacts rather than competitors. Everyone you come into contact with is often either a potential lead or the source of a referral. Keep this in mind when networking, as you never know who your next deal might come from. That said, do your best to network with the following contacts:

  • Other Investors: As you may already know, it is impossible to take on every deal that comes your way as an investor. By networking with other investors, you can put yourself in the right position to receive properties they may be unable to take on. You may even find opportunities to enter a joint venture. Do your best to build strong relationships with your fellow investors, and your efforts may one day be rewarded.

  • Real Estate Agents & Mortgage Brokers: I highly recommend establishing a solid relationship with both real estate agents and brokers. They are often the first people aware when a property goes up for sale, making them a potentially valuable asset to any investor.

  • 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 are a good source to ask about houses just hitting the market.

  • Contractors: Anytime you work on a project, you should be networking with contractors. After all, they know first hand about other real estate projects going on in the area. Whether you work with the same contractor regularly or have several lined up, you should aim to form positive connections. Not only can they contribute to any existing deals, but they may also be able to point you towards your next ones.

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 for real estate leads. That means you should constantly strive to better relationships with title agents, insurance agents, hard-money lenders, building department officials, and even friends or family members.

4. Driving for Dollars

One of the most inexpensive ways to find deals also happens to be one of the easiest: driving for dollars. All you need is a car, a notebook, and a little effort. Drive around your area and search for houses that appear to need work or have been on the market for extended periods of time. Properties with overgrown shrubs, debris in the front yard, and a generally messy appearance are signs that the homeowner may have run out of money to make improvements and may be looking to sell.

As you see potential leads (but not while you are actually driving), write down the address as well as a description of the property. If you feel ready, you can even try knocking on the door to start a conversation. Tell the owner you are an investor looking to buy homes in the area. Leave them with your contact information in case they know someone interested in selling. Once you have your list of potential properties, add the addresses to your direct mail campaign. All it takes is one eager homeowner to turn into a real estate deal.

5. Craigslist

Craigslist has long been a source for landlords and real estate investors alike. Search for properties for rent near your area and reach out to landlords — you never know who is wanting to sell. Another option with Craigslist is to search for properties for sale. This will allow you to reach out directly to property owners and hopefully find potential investments.

When it comes to Craigslist, it’s crucial to check the listings regularly and follow up with contacts when necessary. The website is known for its lead potential, not its ease of communication. If you haven’t heard back from an ad, don’t be afraid to send another message with your contact information, putting the ball in the seller’s court. Remember, the more people you contact, the greater your chances are of finding someone who is interested.

6. Town Hall

There is plenty of information available at any given town hall or courthouse. Between eviction notices, probate listings, tax liens, and other tax records, there is a wide variety of information available. Once you gather specific contact information, you can either send property owners a letter, call them, or even knock on their doors. In these cases, you know the information you are getting is from a reliable source, so it’s just a matter of getting their attention and closing a deal.

7. Bandit Signs

Bandit signs are the 18 x 24 signs that you may see in popular downtown areas or at major intersections. What makes this such a great marketing strategy is that you can purchase a large number of signs for a relatively low price. The other benefit of this strategy is that you have complete control over the signs, and the less information written on the sign is often the most effective. This is because people driving past these signs do not have time to process much information, even if they are at a stop sign or light. A simple message of “we buy houses” or “quick, cash closings” along with a phone number is all it takes.

The key to a good bandit sign campaign is targeting specific neighborhoods or high traffic areas. Remember that certain towns will restrict where you can place signs, so it is crucial to check with your local government before posting anything. Overall, bandit signs are usually well worth your time and resources.

8. Real Estate Websites

Websites like Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia are excellent ways to find deals. These potential deals may take some digging to find, but they are yours for the taking. Search through rental or for sale posts that have been active for an extended period of time. In the cases of rental units, landlords may not be actively trying to sell, but they could be open to the right offer. If they are having trouble renting, it could represent an opportunity for you to buy. You can also focus on posts from sellers without real estate agents. These people may be looking for a quick transaction.

To make the best use of real estate websites, be prepared to reach out via email or phone, and don’t just stop after one attempt. Try testing different messages to see which has the highest response rate, and plan out your follow up attempts. Once you have a good system figured out, the process will take you no more than a few minutes per day. If you can get even one deal from your efforts, it will be worth it. Between all of the available websites, you should end up with at least a few leads to work with.

9. Newspaper Ads

It was not that long ago that newspapers were the go-to source for anyone looking to buy, sell, or rent real estate. In recent years, newspaper ads’ popularity has decreased, though that does not mean they are entirely meaningless. Newspapers are actually a great niche for lead generation, as many investors in your area are likely ignoring these ads.

Reach out to anyone who has a property listing for rent or is selling on their own. In the same way you would approach other leads, prepare what you are going to say, and always include your contact information so they can follow up. Additionally, understand that it is rare to get an answer from your initial phone call. When it comes to newspaper ads, you will often have to reach out multiple times to receive a response.

10. Check The MLS

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a treasure trove of potential deals. This is where real estate agents enter information about properties that are for sale. Yes, it is very competitive since there are so many users, and those users are looking for deals just like you, but when used correctly, it can be a great tool. Set up automatic email alerts so you can be alerted quickly if a property you’re interested in goes up on the site.

11. Use The Radio

Sometimes old school techniques can still be extremely effective. Radio advertising is still a viable way to get the word out that you are looking for real estate deals. Creating and broadcasting a radio commercial will allow you to target audiences based on the stations you advertise on. This is extremely helpful when looking for new deals.

how to find real estate deals

Find Real Estate Deals With The Right Mindset

Real estate investing involves time, energy, and money, and no doubt presents obstacles from time to time. That being said, it is important not to lose your fire. If you are having trouble finding real estate deals right now, do not let it discourage you from your goals. Instead, reflect on why you started in real estate investing and push yourself to move forward. The key to long-term success as an investor will be to understand how important your mindset is and how to keep it on track.

The first thing you need to know is that every investor will go through a dry spell at some point. If (or when) this happens to you, it is not a signal that you are a failure but rather an indication that it’s time to change something. A great way to realign your perspective during this time is to read through famous entrepreneurs and investors’ success stories. Look for situations where they struggled and how they worked to overcome those obstacles. More often than not, these lessons can be applied to your current situation and can help push you to go after new deals.

Another way to improve your mindset is to take time and evaluate your business. Don’t be afraid to take a closer look at an old marketing strategy to learn what made it unsuccessful. In doing so, you can pinpoint what went wrong and prevent yourself from making the same mistakes. This process is called refining, and it will be necessary for the success of your future endeavors. Remember that trial and error is an essential part of marketing, and lead generation is something you will continually improve on. If you learn how to improve on past errors and maintain a positive mindset while doing so, there is no reason you cannot achieve success in the future.


There is no better what to expand your reach in a given area than by diversifying your marketing efforts. Researching multiple strategies will ensure you know how to find real estate deals for your business. While bandit signs and direct mail may be the most common options, other opportunities like Facebook and Craigslist may help you get ahead of the competition. No matter which strategies you choose, remember to evaluate and improve your efforts consistently. With the right marketing techniques and a strong mindset, there is no reason you can’t find real estate deals.

Which marketing techniques have helped you identify good real estate deals? Share what works for you in the comments below.

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