The game has changed - once again - and the competition is huge. In order to stay ahead of your competitors and keep on top of your market, you have need to have a comprehensive package and automated business set up for yourself.
You have to have a competitive edge - so what does this mean? You need to look elsewhere for the deals than just the MLS or Trulia. It's time to start looking off-market.
What Are Off-Market, Vacant Properties?
Off-market properties are not actively marketed online or within the MLS. They can also be in pre-foreclosure and not yet advertised publicly, or they can simply be a property that an investor is considering selling, but hasn't made any efforts to do so, yet.
These are the hot deals that active, serious investors are constantly seeking. Finding one of these gems can mean less competition for you and a quicker sale than normal.
The only thing holding you back is that since they are not publicly advertised, how do you find them?
This is really about finding a strategy that will work for you and your business. You need to be able to implement it, stay focused and repeat theprocess to keep finding these hidden deals.
Here are a few of the strategies we use regularly at Strategic Real Estate Coach to find off-market properties for amazing deals that really bring in the profits.
1. Direct Marketing
If you're feeling ready to use a direct mail marketing strategy, these can be extremely successful if done right. The lists we would recommend purchasing to send to would be in order are Absentee Vacant Free & Clear, the second list would be the Inheritance/Probate and the third would be the Pre-foreclosure or Notice of Default List coupled with Absentee High Equity.
Sometimes homeowners aren't ready to sell until they're presented with an opportunity or offer. Don't feel discouraged if your marketing campaign isn't performing the way you expected or want it, just tweak it and remember what worked or didn't work in the future. Something that worked 6 months ago might not work right now and something that works right now may not be the way to go in a year.
Direct mail is all about testing and trying different things - maybe you'll find that a white postcard works better than a yellow one. It's all about testing and tweaking
2. Driving Neighborhoods
A good way to find an off-market hidden deal is by driving through popular neighborhoods to scope out any empty or abandoned houses. They can be nestled in a neighborhood full of new builds or recently updated homes - you will definitely be able to spot an empty home that has potential to be your next deal.
Look for letters posted on the front door or windows, overgrown landscaping and lawns that haven't been cut or homes that don't seem to fit the neighborhood or look especially run down.
3. Public Record
Check your local newspaper or government websites to see if you can get any leads on homes that may be going up for auction soon. Also make sure to check out real estate sites like HUD Home Store for leads, but remember when using that site, you MUST have a realtor with a NAID number (issued by broker of record) to submit your bid.
One source of finding off-market properties that we have really been utilizing lately are auctions. You can go to your local courthouse or county fairgrounds to get involved in a traditional, live auction or you can check sites like Auction.com or Hubzu.com.
If you are attending a live auction, it's important to remember you will need to put 10% down while you are there and the remaining 90% the next day. If you do not end up closing on the property after 30 days, the 10% is not refundable.
A real estate wholesaler essentially puts a property under contract and then assigns or resells the property to another investor within just days of purchasing the property. You can find wholesalers with "tapes" who have around 20-40 properties to unload at a time. They usually only want to keep one or two of the properties and are willing to sell the others to an investor like you.
Wholesalers are a good find investment deals, just remember they are acting as a middle man and you are probably not getting the same deal you would get if you went directly to the source.
6. Estate Attorneys
Having an estate attorney (or two!) that you build relationships with and work with regularly can be helpful to you because they can inform you of properties that might be becoming available in the future.
You can meet estate attorneys by joining your local networking groups. When great investment property opportunities arise, you want to be at the top of their minds for a referral.
7. Local Contractors
You can ask the contractors that you regularly work with or others in your area to see if they know of any properties that might be becoming available soon. They may have been on a job that wasn't able to get finished for whatever reason. You may be able to step in, finish the work and gain the profits.
For more methods on how to find off-market properties, check out our FREE e-book, 55 Simple & Powerful Ways to Find Killer Real Estate Deals.
CEO Strategic Real Estate Coach
CEO Freeland Ventures and Freeland Lending
CEO Yellow Jacket Properties