Finding Properties – The Basics

There are many ways to find investment properties in any real estate market in the country. A few examples include marketing to: listed properties, for sale by owner properties, absentee owner properties, distressed sellers, etc. However, this article is not about the specific ways to find properties. Instead, we will discuss free vs. paid marketing. When all the details are extracted, marketing comes down to a cost of either time or money. This is something new investors must understand. To be successful in this business you MUST spend either time or money to find deals.
In real estate investing, money is made when an acceptable property is found. There are only two ways to find such properties. New investors, that don’t have any money, must spend their time searching for properties. One of the quickest ways to find possible deals, without any money, is to scour the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and make offers on properties that are more likely to accept an investor-type offer. This technique only requires your time in evaluating the properties and submitting offers.
On the other hand, an investor could spend money to find possible deals not yet publicly listed. An example of this would be to acquire a list of probable sellers and then execute a marketing campaign targeting the list. The marketing campaign could be mailing out a series of postcards or hiring someone to place door hangers. An example of some costs associated with this style of marketing would be: acquisition of the list, the media in which you are using to deliver the message, the postage, and/or the person that places the door hangers.
The overarching lesson to be taken from this article is that investors must pay for finding properties with either their time or their money. Both techniques can be effective and one must be practiced consistently before any properties can be found. Therefore, if you find that you are not doing enough deals, then increase either the time/money or both that you put into finding properties.