Finding deals is what real estate investing is all about. Without a deal on the table, everything you learn is just academic. You’ve tried looking for properties with a real estate agent, but that did not bring many prospects, simply because everyone else is doing the same thing.
In order to find a great real estate deal, you need to market to motivated sellers so that you can a find a deal before a real estate agent convinces them to list it.
Let’s look at some free or at least low-cost ways of marketing:
- Drive farm areas, call on MLS signs, FSBOs, (For sale by owner), For Rents, vacant properties. Drive your farm area at least once every few weeks, as it can be surprising how things can change in a relatively short time!
- Look for other investor signs (We Buy Houses, Foreclosure-No Problem, etc.) in your farm areas. Call the investors and find out what they are looking for and let them know what you are looking for. Sometimes each of you may be looking for something entirely different and can help each other out.
- Networking and business cards. Have a respectable business card, preferably with a glossy finish and decent (and recent) picture of you. Make two versions, The first version is for business to business and the second version is to the general public. Don’t use the free 250 cards you can get on some websites that every other competing investor in your area is using. Many of these websites also offer quality business cards at great rates. Include your name, company name, position (such as CEO, Pres. Etc.), contact info such as email, office phone, cell phone, fax, and website. Also, have a logo and a short catch phrase about what you and your company are all about. Utilize the back of the card to specifically say what you do and where you invest. (We have included a couple of examples of business cards at the end of this chapter.) Then get out, network and hand a bunch of them out! Give them to past and present business associates, friends, family, neighbors, etc.
- Call on Craigslist ads, FSBOs, (For Sale by Owner) Newspaper Ads. Practice what you are going to say. Don’t negotiate over the phone! Your goal with a phone call is twofold; 1. To test seller motivation, and 2. Try to get an appointment to meet them at the property. Spend a few minutes building trust and rapport. Use a script for your phone calls, so you can obtain enough information about the property to see if the property has the possibility of a deal or not. Practice your phone conversations with another person, preferably another investor. Record your calls. You will be amazed at what you may say as a “newbie” vs. an experienced investor. You may say the wrong thing a time or two – it’s OK! Learn from your mistakes and keep practicing and calling!
- Door Knocking. This is not for the faint-hearted but can be very effective. Don’t just knock on any door, have some sort of target, such as people in foreclosure. Develop your presentation and body language. This is a good thing for two people to undertake together. My wife and I often do this together as if the homeowner doesn’t relate or connect well with me, chances are they will with her and vice versa. There is also the safety aspect of this also. Door knocking when the weather is bad works really well. No one else is doing it then and people tend to feel sorry for you so you have a better chance of getting invited in for a chat. Don’t door knock during times where there is a major sporting event on TV, holidays or similar.
- Post-it Notes and Door Hangers. Whenever we door knock and no one answers, we will leave a post-it note on the front door with something handwritten like “Call me about your house” or “Looking to sell your house? Call me”. We hand- sign these with our name and phone number and usually will reinforce them with a bit of scotch tape. We will also leave post-its on seemingly vacant properties and then follow-up accordingly.
Remember that once you get replies, you have to deal with folks that are motivated sellers!