Before I give you the ins and outs of being an all-star property finder making a couple extra thousand a month, you first need to understand what a real estate investor is and why they do what they do.
Real estate investors are in the business of buying, managing, and selling houses. Most real estate investors typically serve the same functions. The great thing about what they do is that they're able to help a lot of people in the process.
For someone who needs to sell fast, there is a better solution than what traditional methods can offer.
By purchasing properties fast at a reasonable investor discount, Real estate investors help save a homeowner a bunch of things, including...
- Agent Commission - This costly fee can often amount to thousands of dollars.
- Repair Costs - They buy all houses in as-is condition.
- Time to Show the House - No need to schedule multiple showings every week and have their house ready on-demand.
- Negotiation Process - This can typically take days or weeks as offers and counter offers are communicated through agents. They make a firm win-win offer and close fast.
- Stress - By moving quickly they save the homeowner from more sleepless nights.
Their mission is to create solutions where everyone wins. They're the perfect option for many people, and the more people they have on their team, the more people they can help!
That's where you come in! Your job as a property finder is to find and supply quality leads. Sounds simple doesn't it? It is!
I don't know of an easier way to learn something new, make $$$$, and help your community at the same time!
Let's start from the beginning: What Makes a QUALITY Lead?
That's a common question. For a real estate investor to turn a property lead into a successful purchase, they need to be dealing with a highly motivated home seller.
This is the key principle that will determine your level of success as a property locator.
Real estate investors can only work with property owners whose number one goal in life right now is to sell their piece of property. They are often dealing with a time-sensitive circumstance, as well as financial and emotional stress, and they have NOT listed it with a realtor.
What Makes a Motivated Seller?
The very best lead you could submit is one where the owner is in one of the below categories, and needs to sell right away.
For people in situations such as these, investors are the fastest, easiest solution, and they'll be thanking you for helping them out!
1) Difficulty making mortgage payments: This is a common reason people may need to sell. While finding these people isn't obvious, some indicators are: houses in great disrepair, delinquent taxes, or bankruptcy.
What happens if they continue to not make their payments? The bank forecloses, they lose their home, and they're thrown into a world of financial trouble. Their best option may be to sell, and sell fast.
2) Inherited a home they do not want or cannot afford: Often the best solution for heirs of an estate that contains property is to liquidate the property quickly. This is simply because cash often helps them more than suddenly owning an extra house.
3) Recently divorced and want to sell: No one plans on getting a divorce but, unfortunately, situations can change. Often, the house becomes the responsibility of one of the partners, and they can't make the payments on their own.
4) Moving and need to sell fast: Work or family situations can cause people to have to move in a hurry. In this case, selling quickly is usually essential - they don't have time to waste by listing with a realtor.
5) House simply won't sell: Many sellers see their houses sit week after week, month after month on the market with little interest. When their agreement expires with their listing agent, they're forced to figure out what to do next. Just listing it again is a costly and poor decision.
If you can speak to them before they relist with an agent, you could save them time and money.
6) Tired landlords: Many landlords who have dealt with a series of problem tenants are simply fed up with the headaches and are ready to sell their properties.
7) Vacant houses: Houses can be vacant for many reasons and owners of these houses are often willing to negotiate a sale.
Now that you know what makes a motivated seller...
How Do You Find A Motivated Seller?
You may already know of friends, family members, or co-workers who could use help. But because everybody has a limited number of direct contacts, you have to do some work to find other property leads.
You do not have to market at all, but your success in this endeavor will depend on how well you get the word out.
This is an essential concept to understand. If no one knows that you can help them, they won't ask for your help.
The fact is that there are a lot of highly motivated sellers out there, the problem lies in that they don't know who to call.
You have two options to find these people:
1. You can try to track these people down.
2. You can let them find you.
Both strategies work, but it's generally easier to let motivated sellers find you than for you to track them down. And how to they find you? MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING!
One note: Real estate investors only want to deal directly with homeowners. If a property is listed with a real estate agent, please ignore it. They are working hard for their money, so your real estate investor doesn't want to undercut them in any way.
You know you need to market, but what does that look like? I'll tell you how You Can Market.
Flyers are a fantastic (and inexpensive) way to spread the word.
Use neon paper (orange, yellow, or green) that draws attention from a distance. Hand it out to neighbors, post it at public bulletin boards, drop it off at laundromats, bus stops, coffee shops, subways, etc.
You should pass out business cards to everyone you meet, leave them at restaurants, put them in your bills that you send off when you pay them, etc. Try setting a goal of handing out 5 business cards per day.
Feel free to design and print your own business cards or use a service like vistaprint.com. The message on the card should be similar to the message on the flyer. It's basically your flyer in pocket form. Remember that all it takes is one card to put cash in your pocket.
Websites such as Craigslist.org, foresalebyowner.com, and backpage.com have motivated sellers posting their houses all the time! Look for key words such as motivated, must sell, and FSBO.
***NOTE: Agents sometimes post on these sites, look for a watermark on the photo that says MLS - that's most likely a listed property. A good way to save time is to make a quick call and inquire if they're an agent or the owner.
You already read the Sunday paper (or maybe your parents do), so just take a few more minutes to scan the houses for sale. Again, look for key words like motivated, must sell, and FSBO.
Driving for Dollars
Do you know of any vacant* or "distressed" homes on in the area? They are often owned by people who would rather sell than shoulder the burden.
*NOTE: Some vacant homes are bank owned. There is no way to know for sure, but if there are papers taped to the windows, that property is bank owned. Do not submit bank owned properties to your real estate investor. They will either be on the MLS or not listed at all.
Do you drive the same route to work every day? Try alternative routes and stay on the lookout for houses that match your investor's ideal property profile! Some common symptoms are overgrown yards, rusted cars in the yard, FSBO signs, broken windows, etc.
If ALL the properties in the area exhibit the above symptoms, it's not a good sign. But if it's a single house surrounded by several decent houses, you may be looking at a deal. The common rule in real estate is to find "the worst house in the best neighborhood."
How about garage sales? These happen every weekend and often signify that the homeowner is moving. Simply stopping by and asking if they'll be selling their house - or if they know of any neighbors who may be interested in doing so - can result in some solid leads.
Remember that each vacant or distressed home you submit to your real estate investor could mean cash to you!
As you can see, there are a number of marketing options available, and there's an option for every budget and time commitment. Like with everything, the more you put out, the more you'll gain - it's entirely up to you.
It's a simple process, but simply knowing it puts you several steps ahead of the general public, and brings you that much closer to your own financial freedom.
This is a general overview of what is means to be a property finder. Of course, when you decide to work as a property finder, your real estate investor will train you on the specifics and equip you as best they can with the tools and strategies to help you be successful.
If being a property finder is something that speaks to you, apply with a real estate investor in your state today. Real estate investors take the best of the best, is it you?