Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Now is a great time to be a real estate investor.
Now is NOT necessarily the best time to be a NEW real estate investor with no consistent, proven system for finding real estate deals.
If you've spent any length of time looking up how to find real estate deals, you'll find a lot of duplicate content.
Everyone out there is doing the exact same stuff.
If you want to break into the game, you are going to need to be a bit more creative. You are going to need to think outside the box and be willing to try things that other investors aren't trying.
That's why we've put together this list of 51 ways to find real estate deals. This list is for hustlers. It's for people who don't stop after the first Google search.
Here's what we'll cover.
How To Find Real Estate Deals
The methods we'll cover this in this list can be grouped into the following categories:
Making key connections
Building your brand
Let's dive in.
Category #1: Strategic Investigation
A lot of great real estate deals come from the same sources, so if you can investigate and find certain types of information, it will often lead you to great deals.
Here's a few ways to put on your Sherlock hat and find some great deals.
1. Condemned Houses
Condemned homes check off a number of boxes on the "potential deal here" list. Many counties will provide a free list of condemned homes, so check in with your local government to get a copy.
2. Eviction Filings & Foreclosures
When someone stops paying their mortgage, they get foreclosed upon. It goes to court. You can show up there, bid on it, and potentially buy the property right there on the courthouse steps.
You will need to do your due diligence if you decide to pursue a foreclosure property. Check for existing claims or liens. Also, check for existing occupants. Saving time checking these will cost you time later, alongside money, and legal headaches down the road.
A judgment is a memorialization by law that money is owed but a judgment alone cannot force anyone to pay the creditor. For example:
Friend A made a promise to Fried B about paying a set monthly amount for the mortgage of the loan he gave him. Suddenly, Friend A is MIA.
Friend B goes to a judge and asks for a lien against Friend B. Their properties, car, etc.
You can buy that lien, as an investor and then sell the house afterward
Check the public record or hire someone to do it for you.
4. Liened Properties
Speaking of liens, there are a number of ways to purchase properties through leins.
You can actually buy a tax lien, which means somebody didn’t pay their taxes.
You can get the right to buy that property and get a great deal.
For some investors, that’s their primary method of finding great deals.
5. Browse Expired Listings
When a real estate agent tries to sell a house, he has a certain period of time to do so. If he is unable to sell during that time period, it becomes an expired listing.
It can be great to contact those property owners directly because now it's no longer listed, no one else is looking at it, and you can snag a great deal.
6. Search Niche Online Marketplaces
Niche online marketplaces aren't typically very effective. People post their homes here, because they are making a low-investment effort to sell their home, but they aren't willing to go through the MLS for one reason or another.
These types of sellers nearly always result in the best deals, making this a great option for finding real estate deals.
Do your homework in advance. Auctions move very fast and a single mistake can be costly.
Visit your local auction a few times to just observe. Know values and repair costs before bidding.
Category #2: Making Key Connections
They say it's all about who you know, and nowhere is that more true than in real estate investing.
Just a handful of people can literally change your life. Here's a few types of people who can help you find deals (that you probably never even considered).
8. Accountants and CPA Firms
Add these professionals to your network. They have clients with financial problems where an investor can be of help.
We all know a few people who are divorced. And couples who get divorced, sometimes sell the house in the process.
Ask them to rank the attorneys they used on a scale of one to 10. Set a meeting with any attorney ranked eight or higher.
10. Building Inspectors
A great hack. Befriend individuals both from the private and government sectors. This group knows what’s going on with local housing.
11. Carpet Cleaners
People who have showings use carpet cleaners prior. Call these companies, make friends with them. Many of their customers are preparing a house for sale.
12. City & County Inspectors
Code violations and red tags. If you develop a reputation for buying distressed properties and improving them, you become an asset to the community. Be a hero, and make money while doing it.
13. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
As a member of your local chamber of commerce, you get your name and business listed in newsletters and websites and get referrals and make valuable connections who are well established in your area.
Also, look into becoming a member of a destination marketing organization (DMO) or convention and visitors bureau (CVB).
14. Consumer Loan Companies
Be a problem solver. When Consumer Loan Companies can’t get their money back, they are frequently willing to deal rather than foreclose.
15. Work With Personal Bankers
Not everyone has a relationship with a mortgage lender, so people will often visit their local branch and talk to their banker for a loan.
Bankers will typically refer unrepresented buyers to their lenders.
If you are not a part of the team with the banker and mortgage lender, you remove your ability to control the client experience. Create a seamless process and a good experience.
In return, help the bankers. Make an effort to introduce buyers to your banker post-closing, and tell them how great they are.
16. Credit Repair Agencies & Counselors
Become friends with these groups. Many times the only way someone can get their spending under control is to sell a house they can no longer afford.
17. Funeral Homes
Yes, not very comfortable, but making a friend of your local cemetery, crematory, or funeral home Can be a good lead source before information on a decedent becomes public.
Banks / REO’s Mortgage Brokers, Private Lenders, Hard Money Lenders. They can tip you about potential leads.
19. Moving Companies
This is a serious life hack. Often people book well in advance before moving. You will be right to think, well, if they called a mover, they already sold.
You’d be surprised how many people call just to see the costs, prior to selling. Get a local hook-up with a moving company. Or a few.
20. Newspaper Carriers
Another hack. Guess Who sees vacant houses every day? Who knows the neighborhood like the palm of their hands. Befriend a newspaper carrier. Give money incentives for solid leads.
21. Postal Workers
We just keep giving. This hack will lead you to become friends with the USPS, FedEx, and UPS employees who do your route.
If they have the same route for years and are friendly and reliable, you have a solid source.
22. Nursing & Retirement Homes
Go make friends with human resources and shift managers at your local nursing & retirement homes. People who move in & out of these, are tied to property vacancies in the area.
23. Rental Agents & Property Managers
Let them know you want to buy and also find a local manager. You buy, they manage. Win-win.
24. Termite & Pest Control Companies
Although not always, sometimes indicates a home showing or relocating intentions. Go befriend your local bug squasher.
25. Title Companies
Not all transactions close like they are supposed to. Let the title companies know you can help in a pinch, for the right price.
Category #3: Hustle Marketing
If you're looking to hustle like crazy and close deals by any means necessary, you can use the following methods to find deals.
They say you need to spend money to make money, and while that's usually true, these methods will let you maximize your results on a limited budget.
26. Classified Ads
This is another example of outdated methods being today's opportunity. If someone is using classified ads to try and find buyers, sellers, or renters, they probably aren't aware of more modern methods, and that means you can probably get a great deal from them.
For Sale: Look for Keywords – transferred, motivated, divorce, owner financing
Want to Buy
For Rent by Owner ( Look for burned-out landlords)
27. Door Knocking
Door-knocking and directly talking to owners face-to-face without a third party gives you the opportunity to inspect the property, ask questions, and build trust.
You already have the address of the property you want to invest in, so why not knock on the door and have a chat with the owner?
On your way, distribute flyers and go door-to-door asking residents if they know of anyone planning to move because you’d like to buy a house in their neighborhood.
Try to take the opportunity and make an offer before they contact a seller’s agent to list it on the MLS and it becomes visible to other investors.
The worst that could happen is owners telling you “no.” But if you’ve found a motivated seller, you might just get a new real estate investment property.
28. Handwritten Thank You Notes
Write handwritten thank-you notes to referral sources and current clients every time you get a referral.
Beat your competition who sends cold digital emails, or calls to say thank you 20 times a week.
29. Host and attend open houses
There are a lot of unrepresented buyers walking around at open houses. Go feel the market, and meet them.
Cut your cost in half, print two to a page, and distribute Shopping Centers, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Malls.
31. Door Hangers
Be smart, and advertise on both sides, you can even sell the backside and recover your advertising cost.
Put on car windshields or pay someone to do it for you.
32. Garage Sales
Why are they having a garage sale? Are they moving? Use apps like Offer Up to find and attend these Garage sales. Be nice, spend some time there, and $5 on a toy for your kids or pets.
Then, politely ask if they are selling (the house).
Moving? Great, you can help.
Look for certain keywords of people selling their properties on Craigslist.
There’s actually a page called “Real Estate for Sale” on Craigslist. Check it regularly.
You can also set up some automation tools with sites like “If This, Then That” (IFTT.com), so you get notified with certain keywords like “fixer-upper”.”
34. Neighborhood Newsletters
Some communities have these. Advertise in and write articles for them.
With other Investors, call ‘We Buy Houses’ ads & signs. Attend Churches & Public Speaking events. Outreach to Investment Associations, local clubs, etc.
Network with Wholesalers. A real estate wholesaler is an investor who makes a living off finding quality deals with the intent to sell them to other real estate investors. Remember that wholesalers mark these houses up, for profiting from finding the deal. Tell them you want to be on their buyers list.
Network with other Investors. Yes, Real Estate is competitive. But it doesn’t mean you can’t work together with some. Investors generally fall into one of two categories: wanting great value or wanting great terms.
Many investors are looking for properties with a lot of equity that they can get in and out of quickly. Others are looking for less equity but more cash flow, as they want to hold onto the property for the long haul.
36. Drive for Dollars
Get in your car, drive around, look for signs of seller motivation: neglected houses, moving trucks, "for sale" or "for rent" signs in the yard, etc. and look for properties. When you find something, write down the address.
See if you can get a list of 10-20 properties while you’re out driving for a couple of hours.
When you locate a house showing signs that the owner may be willing to speak to you about selling, get out, and knock on the door.
If no one answers the door, leave your flyer on the door - as you are someone who buys houses in their area, and provide your contact information.
Tell the owner you are interested in buying a house in the area and you’re curious if they could point you toward someone looking to sell. If you got lucky, and they are friendly and are looking to sell, get into the house to sit down and make them an offer.
Then, go home, research the address, find out who owns the property, and contact them.
37. Cold Calling
Once you have the contact information of property owners, the best way to win them over is by calling.
It gets you speaking to potential sellers right away, completely for free. All it takes is a phone, a little nerve, and a bit of effort and research.
Ask a few questions to try to gauge owners’ motivations. If they seem financially distressed - ask them to meet with you.
When you meet them in person, begin your negotiations to strike a deal.
The majority of homeowners won’t be interested, but if you keep working the phones and working the numbers, you will finally realize, if you haven't so far, it is a numbers game.
You will land sales with consistency by doing this method correctly.
Category #4: Building Your Brand
While this is a bit more of a long game, one of the most effective ways to get deals long-term is to have a visible brand that people think of when they are ready to buy or sell.
The following methods can help you begin building your brand in the long term while potentially closing some deals in the short term as well.
38. Become a Reliable Source of Real Estate Expertise in Facebook Groups
It doesn’t mean you have to create one. Participating actively in an existing one will do. You can create surveys to find out what’s stopping people from buying a home.
Then, engage people individually in a very casual manner. The key is being creative with content. Make people want to participate.
39. Build & Advertise Your Real Estate Brand
While building a brand that revolves around you and your name is important, don’t neglect to build a brand for your business.
Make sure you are branding your business as something buyers and sellers want and have a unique twist in your approach or deal making process.
A lot of people are not specifically looking for you, but for an experience, or a specialty.
40. Connect With Pet-loving Leads by Sponsoring a Local Adoption Event
Approach your local animal shelters or rescue groups and offer to sponsor an adoption event.
Offer to pay for renting a space. Bring folding tables, and hire food trucks for the event.
Advertise for them, and then show up and lead the event. Mingle, network, and just have fun.
People love their pets, and most consider them part of the family. Pet lovers have huge communities.
Then, be creative, with slogans like ‘Creating home for you and your pets’ or ‘Finding homes for you and your pets’.
If you aren't a pet lover yourself, it won’t work. Probably do more damage than good to your reputation. People see through it and sense it.
So go do some good, both for animals and people. Be your friendly neighborhood hero.
41. Housewarming Party
Be a friend, not just a problem solver. Nurture relationships, and while doing so, network, and create a name for being extra.
Throw a housewarming party 30-45 days after your buyers close on their new house.
Invite their new neighbors and have food and drinks. You can even partner with your attorney and lender to split the cost.
It will run you about $150, generate at least 1 lead, and a priceless reputation. No brainer.
42. Write a Blog
Most Real Estate agents we speak to nowadays, say blogs are a great way to bring in business.
It is a win-win. You provide people with value and get exposure in return. Furthermore, you are establishing yourself as an authority in the space.
43. Host a First-time Buyer’s Workshop
The DNA of Entrepreneurship is giving before receiving.
Do good for others without expecting anything in return. Get involved with a charity or civic organization and do so with the sole intention of helping.
Being a good person puts you ahead of others when it comes to seeking services.
You’ll be top of mind and thought of more as a ‘real person’ as opposed to ‘just another agent.’
Money is good. Helping others is great. You should combine both.
Category #5: Direct Advertising
Ultimately, direct advertising is what you want to be aiming for.
Time is money, and once you can afford to pay to get in front of people, you are going to get in front of a lot more people than you could do in the equivalent amount of time.
44. Direct Mail
Pre-Foreclosure Letters, Probate Letters, Out of Town Owners, Postcards, Bankruptcies, Divorce, Delinquent Taxes, Military Owners.
45. Automated Text Marketing
Text messages have a 97% open rate compared to 20% for emails (best case).
The only problem is tapping out individual texts takes time. Find a way to automate it.
46. TV and Radio
Cable companies may have community service spots for free. (play your cards right, distressed homes). Or spend the money if you have it. Measure returns.
47. Rent Yourself a Billboard
Better call Saul much?
Rent yourself a billboard on the side of the highway and get thousands of people to see your message that you buy houses every single day.
48. Place an Ad in The Newspaper
Yeah, not everyone still reads newspapers, but some do.
So, newspaper rates have come down, use it to your advantage.
49. Create a Radio Commercial
Call up the radio station and see what they can give you for a quick commercial about you buying property.
50. Pay For Ads on Google
Sure, it’s going to cost you.
But you can appear at the top of search results, so people go to your website when they want to sell their home fast.
Consider Ad campaigns with Google once you have a solid website.
Skip The Methods And Build Your System From Day #1
There are two types of real estate investors:
Real estate investors who hustle hard for small, consistent, reliable ROI
Real estate investors who build systems that do the work for them and rapidly scale their wealth
To be honest, both types are great, and some of the investors who start out in the first category will evolve into the second category over time.
The problem, however, is that people have been taught that hustle equals wealth. They believe that the people earning the most are the ones working harder and that if they can just dig deeper and hustle harder, they will reach that next level.
In reality, the people making the most these days are rarely the ones working the hardest. They are the ones who have learned how to build systems that do the heavy lifting for them.
That's what we did here at Astroflipping in order to build the 3rd biggest wholesaling firm in the US, and that's what we want to teach you. If you want to start with hustle, by all means, go for it. But if you want to begin building scalable systems from Day #1, click below to learn how: