Locating Off-Market Properties

By Nick Disney (guest poster)

I get this question a lot: “Where do I even start looking for off-market properties?

To be honest, there is not one specific magical answer of how to find off-market properties. And please keep in mind that the majority of properties will and should be listed with a licensed real estate professional in the area. However, there are some circumstances when the best fit for the homeowner may not be to list with an agent. This is often when the home needs extensive repair, needs to be sold on an incredibly short time frame, or has some unfriendly tenants in the home who will not allow it to be opened for showings. For those times, there are ways to let people know that you are available to make them a cash offer for their property in its current condition.  We will cover what I think are the best ways to start finding off-market deals and, by the end of this blog, you will be able to choose what strategy will work best for you.

So, what are our options?

Your Professional Network

One of the most effective ways to get off-market property leads is to talk to the real estate professionals who “have their ear to the ground.” Realtors can be one of the most valuable assets to your investing business because they are the first ones to know about the majority of properties that are coming up for sale! Most of these properties will be listed on the local MLS. However, if the realtor feels like it might be a good idea for the homeowner to contact investors due to their circumstances, then you become a valuable resource to that agent.

Go to free local networking events or get involved in online networking websites such as BiggerPockets; invite some realtors that are in your city to lunch and form relationships with them. Let them know what your investing criteria is see if you are a good fit to work together.

Lead Generation Website

Another option is to get a website to inform people of the service you offer. If you know how to, you can build your own website, or you can hire someone to build you a website; there are a few platforms that are pre-built with lead forms and SEO optimization. You want to create your website so that it is SEO optimized for the keywords that your qualified leads are searching in Google such as “need to sell my house as is.” When Joe Smith searches “need to sell my house as is for cash” in Google and your website comes up, he will be able to contact you and then you can see if you can help him with his property. We often get people that contact us from our website who would be better served by contacting a real estate agent. Since these properties don’t fit into our niche, we are happy to refer them over to some of the great agents that we have worked with in the past. Our site is www.sellmysanantoniohouse.com. 

Direct Mail

You can find different lists of folks that you’re going to send postcards or letters to. We use lists such as absentee owners, tax delinquent properties, probate properties, and pre-foreclosure properties. You can easily google “direct mail for real estate investors” and find an abundance of information there! You have the option to create the postcards or letters yourself or hire a direct mail company. If you hire a direct mail company, all you have to do is choose from one of their pre-made templates, send them your mailing list, and they will create and send the mail for you. The key here is consistency and patience. Again, some of the people who will contact you are better suited to work with a local realtor and you should refer them in that direction. It’s the right thing to do for the homeowner and that realtor will be happy to call you when they come across a property that needs your help.

Your Personal Network

Everybody that you know should know that you buy houses; they should know that you help people sell a house that they’re afraid they won’t be able to sell because it needs a ton of repairs or that you help people sell their house fast and for all cash. If you don’t know a lot of people, it’s okay. There are a lot of free networking events that are hosted by real estate groups. Check Facebook real estate groups for upcoming networking events in your area and get out there. This is a free form of marketing! As many people as you can reach should know what you do!

How are you going to decide what strategy will work best for you?

One of the best ways to decide what off-market lead generation strategy will be best for you is to look at what strategy you can implement and maintain for at least 6 months.

If you’re starting out in a competitive market and you can’t spend thousands of dollars a month on SEO and direct mail, and maintain that for six months, it’s probably not a good idea to run down that path.

If you have money to invest into marketing but you don’t have any extra time in your day, you may not be able to maintain going to weekly networking events for 6 months. In this case, put your money to work to generate leads by utilizing direct mail, SEO, or Facebook ads.

The key is this: once you decide what your budget is for that six-month period, commit to those one or two lead generating strategies that you chose and then focus on being really great them.

A lot of the time people decide, “I’m going to do a little bit of everything,” and what ends up happening is that you do a lot of things, but you don’t do any of those things really well. You will have a higher chance of generating more leads by executing one or two marketing strategies very effectively rather than doing a lot of marketing very poorly.

Get focused. Make a six-month plan and then master one or two lead generating strategies.

I hope this helps,

Nick Disney, Owner of Sell My San Antonio House