If you really want the best deals in investment properties, you have to increase your odds by digging deep and finding more deals. Who is more likely to get a cheap apartment building deal, an investor that looks through loopnet.com and calls it a day, or the person who has a multi-pronged approach that can generate leads ten different ways?
Here are the ten ways you may not have considered:
Real Estate is first and foremost, a relationship business. The more people who know that you are looking for properties, the better your chances are of getting referrals. First, be prepared with your “elevator pitch” and then share it with everyone and anyone who will listen. Let people know you are actively looking for multifamily properties and sometimes the properties will come to you. There are a lot of owners out there who want to sell, but haven’t yet listed their property.
Go to a search engine and enter the type of real estate you are looking for, along with the city you want to invest in. You never know what you might find. Regularly check loopnet.com, costar.com, Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, FSBO.com, and even eBay. Go to commercial broker websites and check their listings.
Drive around neighborhoods you would like to be in and look for “For Rent” signs, “For Sale by Owner” signs, properties that look neglected, need “a little love,” or properties that just don’t match up with other similar type properties in the area. Jot down the addresses and when you get home, cross reference the address in public county records.
Conduct a direct mail campaign to a targeted list of owners of multifamily properties. A quick and not so free way to find apartment building owners is to buy a list of them from a list company. There are companies like ListSource.com, REISource.com and others that can provide lists with whatever specific criteria you provide. A successful direct mail marketing campaign will generate a response rate of anywhere from 2 – 5%. As with any marketing campaign, you need to analyze what works for you and what doesn’t.
Call if they are a few weeks old. Landlords who are having difficulty finding tenants are often frustrated and ready to sell, especially if they have a high vacancy rate.
You might get a foreclosed-on investment property cheaper if you buy it before they list it with a real estate agent.
Sometime owners wanting to sell an apartment don’t know any commercial brokers so they contact a friend or relative who sells real estate. Agents may just take the listing and put it in the MLS.
If your local papers publish eviction notices, or if you can get the information at the courthouse, it can be useful. A landlord who just went through the process of evicting tenants is a likely seller. Also, get a hold of the Notice of Default listings for investment properties and attack that list.
If you browse old listings in online “For Sale by Owners” (FSBO) sites or call on two-month-old FSBO ads, and they haven’t sold, they may be ready to deal. Owners often give up the effort, but still would love to sell. Help them out!
Craigslist.com or FaceBook ads can generate a significant response. Place ads that say, “Looking for investment properties to buy.” It might be sufficient to generate a few calls.
This is a list of only 10 ways. But there are many other ways to find multifamily seller leads, such as bankruptcy court, divorce court, and health code violations, to name a few. Maybe you can come up with some of your own methods. The more lead funnels you create, the more likely you are to find those amazing deals. Happy hunting!
Bill Manassero is the founder/top dog at “The Old Dawg’s REI Network,” a blog, newsletter and podcast for seniors and retirees, that teaches the art of real estate investing. His personal real estate investing goal, which will be chronicled at olddawgsreinetwork.com, is to own/control 1,000 units/doors in the next 6 years. Prior to that, Bill and his family lived in Haiti for 11 years as missionaries serving orphaned, abandoned and at risk children.