When I started this journey almost two decades ago things were a little different…okay a lot different.
I used to troll neighborhoods for vacant houses and then take the address to the actual courthouse to look up the owner. No kidding. Personally I was highly curious and my self-preservation radar was broken when I was in my early 20’s. I found myself breaking into these homes to explore.
I was pretty lucky when it came to my B&E’s to not be killed or arrested. One particular day I had broken into a dilapidated POS in the southern part of the Greater Richmond area. Getting a feel for the house so that I could look up the owner and send an offer directly.
As I enter, there is a living room kinda set up…like maybe someone possibly lives there… I keep going. There is a dog carcass. I keep going. Folks, this is how horror movies happen!!
In the hall there is a hole in the floor going straight to the basement which appeared to flooded and the water was moving. Looking back I can only figure three things to make that water move since there was no electricity for a sump pump. Snakes, rats, or the Loch Ness. I am hoping for the latter.
I go up stairs. Yes. I. Go. Upstairs. WTH???
I get up there and it reeks of iron, excrement, and hot stale air. Oh yea. It was like walking onto a Rob Zombie movie set.
Out steps a guy with his shirt wrapped around his head wearing some heavily soiled pants…looking right at me.
I politely say “I am sorry. My realtor told me that the house was vacant.” Casually turned and left.
That was not typical, fortunately. In a typical day I would call and run an ad in the local newspaper offering foreclosure relief. Print off 100 flyers and grab my trusty old map book and hit the door. As I either drove or walked the route with my flashy, fluorescent flyers posting them on mailboxes I was sure to highlight in my atlas where I already canvased. I would rush home to check my voice mail for leads.
Finding leads was a more expensive and time consuming task but once you did the closing ratio was 30 to 50% on pre-foreclosures and a flip was a fresh coat of paint and some carpet.
Now it seems that finding a house to flip, hold, or wholesale has become more and more difficult over the years. We have to get creative about how and where we are looking. Pre-foreclosures are no longer the big ticket item they used to be.
Times have changed and so have we. Finding new deals is a far more broad spectrum undertaking than it has been in the past. Here are a few of the ways I know.
1. Craigslist and other ad sites. Just like we used to run an ad in the newspaper back in the day, today we can use e-marketing to entice sellers to reach out to us. This type of lead has a great closing ratio as they sought you out.
2. Writing blinds. When most investors work with a realtor we pick a day or two a week and drive around and write 5 or 6 offers a day because we run out of time. What if I told you that Ebony (my realtor) and I make a day of wine, cheese, fruit, and deal writing. We will write as many as 100 offers in a day. How do we do this? Simple. We skip the tour. We do not look at the house first. We write blind offers.
3. Bandit signs. You have seen these guys all over. “I buy houses.” They work.
4. Social Media. Use your pals to help you find what you are looking for specifically. In between posting pics of you at the gym or stalking your ex’s page you can post “Does anyone have a house that is for sale by owner or for rent in their neighborhood? I would really appreciate the number. ” or “Is there a house near you that looks vacant needs a little TLC. Please shoot that address over to me I am looking to buy.” You can scroll, troll, and bank roll.
5. Direct mail. That’s right. Send a letter snail mail. You can buy the list of what exactly you are searching and just drop note. For example, let’s say you are looking for people who have been in their home for over 10 years. You will buy a list specifically of those people in the area which you are looking. I recommend using a hand written font to address the envelopes. You will just basically wasn’t to let them know that you want to buy their house.
Happy investing my real estate junkies!!
I was born an entrepreneur. I am pretty certain that I was peddling passies in the hospital when the nurses left the room.All of the other kids in the neighborhood were riding bikes and playing with dolls I was selling jewelry out of a catalogue and creating a back yard consignment shop. At 21 I became a real estate investor and fell in love. This was/is/ and always will be my passion. I have been madly in love with flipping, holding, and writing offers on real estate that seem crazy for 18 years. Ladies and gents I am willing to share the love of my life with you. Maybe its polyamory maybe its jut because I can’t shut up about it. Either way I will be sharing every mistake I ever made and the lesson that came from it. I love questions. Please ask away!!!