Where do I find deals? This is one of the most common questions we see from new wholesalers. The reality is deals are everywhere if you know where to look. David Dodge has done hundreds of real estate deals throughout his career, and today he opens up on where all his deals have come from. He lists over 60 proven methods wholesalers use every day, including himself, to find motivated sellers. To learn more from David and how he uses BRRR to create legacy wealth through real estate, head over to BRRR Method Mastery.
60+ Ways To Find Motivated Sellers
We know that finding discounted properties is the most proven path to financial freedom. In this episode, we are going to talk about the best ways to go about finding discounted properties. Discounted properties typically come from a seller that is motivated to sell. What we are going to be looking for is motivated sellers to find discounted properties. That’s the approach we are going to take.
When we find a motivated seller, we are going to offer to help them solve some problems in their life in exchange for a deal and discount on their property and by helping them, we are going to be providing them with convenience in their life. This is the simple trade that we make as investors. Provide convenience, get a discount. That’s how it works.
We are going to be jumping in and talking about 50-plus ways to find motivated sellers. In most of these ways, I have used to find motivated sellers. How do you find motivated sellers if you are brand new? There are a couple of different ways. Most people think that they can get motivated sellers from local agents and that’s not necessarily incorrect but most of the time, agents are going to want to list the properties for their clients and they are going to want to try to get them a full retail value for their clients, which doesn’t help us investors get good deals. Some very simple basic ways would be to contact a local agent and see if they have any pocket listings. These would be listings or opportunities that they haven’t listed yet for some reason.
You can also work with your network, reach out to your network and get referrals from people that you know. You can go to REIA clubs, network with other investors or wholesalers and find deals that way too. Those ways are going to be difficult ways to find the best deals. The best way will be to learn to market directly to motivated sellers yourself and cut out the middleman.
The middleman might be an agent or another wholesaler. If you are direct-to-seller or direct-to-owner, you won’t have to worry about the agent getting in the way or the other wholesaler trying to steal all the meat off of the bone for you and/or your team. The absolute best ways are to go directly to the sellers and this is referred to as direct-to-seller marketing.
Before we jump into the 50-plus ways, I want to define or break down and explain why you’d want to go direct-to-seller and focus your efforts on off-market properties. Let’s talk first about on-market which means that they are listed on the local MLS. I think there are 742 MLS zones in the US. Don’t quote me on that number but that’s pretty close.
People that put their property on the MLS are not super motivated. They can be but typically speaking 9 out of 10 people, maybe even 95 out of 100 people or more are not going to be super motivated. They are motivated to sell but they are not motivated to sell fast and/or at a discount. They are motivated to sell at full retail, which often is going to take some time.
Off-Market Versus On-Market
Number one, on-market, they are not going to typically be super motivated. Number two, it’s a timely process. Listing a property on the MLS could sell right away but it’s most likely going to sit there for a couple of weeks, if not a couple of months and in some cases, even a couple of years. On-market, you also have the agents that are going to charge commissions. You are also going to typically need proof of funds. If you are an investor and you are trying to find deals on the market and you make an offer to an agent and they say, “Prove that you can buy this. Send me your proof of funds,” if you don’t have proof of funds, you are not going to get very far with that seller or agent.
Their job is to be a gatekeeper to get rid of all the tire kickers and all the people that can’t afford to buy a house. It’s part of their job. On the MLS, they are all going to be looking for retail. I mentioned that but I want to highlight that. Any agent isn’t going to get hired. There are hundreds of thousands of agents. In my local market in St. Louis, there are over 12,000 agents in my city, which is crazy. They are everywhere. You can throw a rock and hit an agent.
If an agent approaches a seller and says, “Mister Seller, I’m pretty confident that I can get you a $0.50 to $0.60 on the dollar.” Do you think that a property owner is going to want to hire that agent? No way. That agent’s going to say, “It’s worth $200,000. We are going to get you $200,000.” They are going to try to sell themselves as the person that’s going to help them get the most amount of money.
Already, when an agent is pitching a seller to sign a listing agreement, work with them and let that agent help them sell the property, they are telling the owner that they are going to get them for retail. When you come in and offer 70% on market on a listed property, that agent’s going to say, “We are not interested in that offer.” Oftentimes, they are not even going to present that offer to the owner. It’s not ethical for them to do that but it happens every day. Let’s be honest. This is reality.
Things like this happen every day. It’s going to make them look like a bad agent. They are going to be looking for retail. Last but not least, it’s hard to find deals on the MLS. I may find 2 or 3 a year. I buy 100 houses a year. What’s the math on that? 2% to 3% of all the deals I find are on the market. If you know that, are you going to spend your time, efforts and energies trying to find a deal on the market when 97% or 98% of the deals aren’t there and are off the market? Are you going to dedicate all that time to focus on the market? I certainly hope not.
Let’s pivot and talk about the off-market. This is off-market versus on-market here. On-market, not motivated, timely process, agent costs, proof of funds needed, looking for retail and hard-to-find deals. Off-market is a very different ball game. Often, the sellers are very motivated. The process is very fast. There are no agent costs. Proof of funds is rarely needed and in off-market, people aren’t looking for retail but convenience.
If you have read any of the episodes that I have hosted, you will notice that I use that word a lot. All we do as investors are provide convenience in exchange for discounts and these off-market sellers and off-market owners are looking for convenience. Last but not the least, it’s easier to find deals off of the market versus on the market.
What are the main ways that you have probably heard already to find deals? I will give you a quick list. Driving for dollars, bandit signs, direct mail, cold calling, cold SMS or door knocking. Maybe a website with SEO, you are doing PPC or Pay-Per-Click to that website or landing page. Maybe you have a billboard. Maybe you are doing radio or television. Maybe you are pulling lists from Batch or PropStream and getting the vacant list, the absentee-owned list or whatever list it may be.
These are typically going to be the main approaches for most investors and the list that I went through are, 1) Driving for dollars, 2) Bandit signs, 3) Direct mail, 4) Cold call and SMS, 5) Door-knocking, 6) Website, SEO and pay-per-click, 7) Billboard, 8) Radio and TV, 9) Polling lists online and 10) PropStream, BatchLeads and all of the above. Those are ten quick and easy ways to go about finding motivated sellers.
Finding Motivated Sellers
What we are going to do is we are going to talk about 50-plus ways that we can use to find motivated sellers. Number one, you can find deals from other wholesalers. You can daisy chain them or joint venture with them. If you are like me and you love to buy rental properties and do fix and flips and wholesaling to secondary, wholesalers are a great resource. They can bring you deals. Oftentimes, they can bring good ones and make a spread. They earned it. They spent time and money marketing, running appointments and following up. They earned it but they can still provide you with deals in the event that you are partnering and networking with them.
Next are friends and family. You got to let everybody know you are in the business. You can’t keep your business a secret. I’m going to do an episode on that next. If nobody knows that you are looking for deals, how do you expect them to bring them to you on a silver platter? You need to be screaming from the rooftops that you are looking to buy deals. You don’t care if they need a bunch of work or if they are in not the nicest neighborhood. You need to be telling everybody you know that you are an investor and you are looking for deals.
Finding the best deals means learning to market directly to motivated sellers and cutting out the middleman.
Next, you can go post ads on social media sites. There are free sites and paid sites to post ads. The simplest ads are the ads that you make on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter because they are free and they are posts that you make on your profile or page that say, “I am looking to buy some houses. Do you know anybody that’s got one they need to sell?” Notice I didn’t say want to sell. You are looking for people that are motivated. They need to sell.
Next is bird dogs. Bird dogs are people that bring you deals and they can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be dog walkers, mail carriers, trash and recycle workers, firemen, police officers, utility company workers, UPS or FedEx drivers but there are people that you network with and they can bring you leads and when you close those deals, you send them a kickback. You pay, bonus and reward them for helping you. Bird dogs can be a fantastic approach.
Next are door-knocking and Post-it notes. Oftentimes when people get out and they drive for dollars, they create a list and sometimes they don’t do anything with that list. How foolish. What I like to do is if I see a bad property, I’m going to add it to my list when I’m driving for dollars but I’m going to pull over. I’m going to knock on the door and see if anybody’s home. I’m going to use a door hanger or a Post-it note and leave my contact information behind. I highly encourage you to do this too.
Next will be the classified and directory sites. You probably heard of Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, Yelp or Angie’s List. You can post ads on those sites. Those ads don’t need to be super complicated. They are going to say, “We buy houses in the area. Give us a call.” Don’t overthink it. Another way to find motivated sellers is direct mail. Direct mail is so great because it’s very targeted. You can find your vacant and absentee-owned lists online and mail those lists. You can drive for dollars, create your lists and mail those lists.
You can pull lists of high equity, divorce, probate, evictions, tax-delinquent or pre-foreclosure. These are lists that you can mail to anybody and everybody but if you are not mailing to anybody at all, nobody’s going to call you because nobody’s going to know what business you are in. You can even use Every Door Direct Mail, which is the United States Post Office, allowing you to drop a letter or postcard in every mailbox on a particular driver’s route. Every Door Direct Mail is a great strategy.
Next are bandit signs. It is make for a great approach. We love using bandit signs. We use bandit signs to buy and sell houses. You can use Bandit Sign On Wheels, which are graphics on your car. You can get a magnet and put it on the side of your door or you can go and get a graphic made for your rear windshield. Those work well too. We love using the Bandit Sign On Wheels. You can use yard signs at your properties. If you already have a property, you can put a “We buy houses” sign in the front yard or you can use your friend’s properties. You can drive for dollars, which allows you to create your list. From there, you can skip trace, send mail, cold call and cold text. You can do a lot of things.
Next is cold calling and/or the use of auto-dialers. Auto dealers are going to help you reach more people but if you don’t have the resources to pay for one, that’s okay. Use your existing cell phone or get a free Google voice number. You can call For Sale By Owner, Zillow or Craigslist. You can call properties that are for rent. You can go call landlords at GoSection8.Com, which I believe changed their URL but if you Google it, you can get the new one. You can use your old mailing lists, skip trace them and cold call them.
Next, you can joint venture with other investors, which means that you partner with them. You can help them find a buyer for one of their deals and maybe they are going to help you find a buyer for one of your deals. You can go to local REIA clubs and network with other investors. That’s a great way to find motivated sellers. Oftentimes, you may have a fix and flipper at a REIA club that ran out of money. They are an investor but they can also be a motivated seller. Things happen.
You can use mass media to advertise like radio, television, billboards and newspapers. You can buy advertising outside of the bus and advertise inside the bus, typically on the top of the windows and the ceilings. They sell advertising space. You can buy park bench advertising or bus bench advertising. Never seen a bench outside of Home Depot that says, “We buy houses.” There’s a reason that people pay for that advertising because it works.
Next are probate attorneys and/or divorce attorneys and/or eviction attorneys. There are a lot of other types of attorneys out there like state attorneys or trust attorneys. These people are great people to network with because they may have a client who’s going through a divorce. They may have a landlord that’s evicting one of their tenants and doesn’t have the money to fix the property up.
Probate attorneys are great because they are dealing directly with the heirs or the family members that are still around. They may not live in the state. They may not want the property. The property may need too much work so you can network with attorneys. Probate, divorce and eviction are going to be three good ones and these people can tee you up for deals. You can network with estate sale companies. You can go to an estate sale and find the owner or work directly with the estate sale companies and pay them as a bird dog to tee you up with the owner.
You can contact neighborhood associations. These are referred to as HOA or Homeowner Associations. Homeowner associations will often tell you who hasn’t paid their HOA bills in 2 or 3 years and the HOA president often wants to get those people out of the neighborhood so they will happily give you their contact information.
You can contact banks that have taken back properties via foreclosure. You want to contact the non-performing asset departments. These are called REOs. You can buy deals there. You can use local business advertising. Have you ever been to the DMV and seen advertisements behind the counter? Have you ever been to a car dealership and seen advertisements there in the waiting room? Have you ever gone to a grocery store and seen an advertisement on a shopping cart?
I even have friends that will leave business cards behind when they go get lunch, dinner or get gas. They sometimes will put their business card in the credit card slot because the person that pulls up behind them to pay, assuming they are using a credit or debit card, is going to need to pull that business card out before they can put their credit card in. Local business advertising is a great approach and there are a bunch of different ways there.
Next would be money mailers or coupon books. This is going to be those little packets that come in the mail that have a bunch of coupons in there. Those work or else people wouldn’t send them. Also, overlooked properties that fall out of contract. What that means is that you can go network with a title company or a title rep. You can contact the agents of pending properties and see if they have fallen out of contract.
You can contact sellers of pending properties or expired listings or build relationships with the title companies and get notified when somebody shows up to close and the buyer doesn’t show up. All of a sudden, you have a seller sitting at the table with nobody to sell the property to. If you have a good relationship with your title company, they can call you.
I have bought several houses from my title company saying, “I got the seller up here. They are all pissed off.” The buyer, which we are not going to mention, didn’t show up and is MIA, changed their phone number in some cases. I can show up and say, “I will buy the property. Was it a deal? I will buy it at that price. If not, I’m going to make you an offer and you don’t have to take it. I don’t have to buy your property but I can see here that you are motivated, I’m more than happy to make you an offer on it.”
You can even make backup offers to everybody that does have a buyer already lined up. We are probably at about 30 ways already, maybe 40 to locate and find motivated sellers. I got another twenty here for you. This is probably going to be the 60-plus ways to find motivated sellers. Let’s keep going. The next one would be to host your Meetup group.
Don’t keep your business a secret. If nobody knows that you’re looking to buy properties, how do you expect them to bring you deals?
Do you think that if you are the host of a Meetup group that meets either weekly or monthly that other people in your marketplace aren’t going to think that you know what you are doing? They are going to label you as an expert. That’s not a bad thing and they are going to bring you deals. That’s joint venture opportunities.
Next is property management companies. It’s the first 3 or 4 deals I ever did. When I first started, I contacted property management companies and said, “Do you have any clients that have had to evict a tenant or maybe a property went vacant and that property needs $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 or $30,000 worth of work and the client doesn’t have the money to fix it and then it’s sitting vacant?” Did you ever think about doing that? It’s a great idea. We still do that and get tons of leads and deals from local property management companies that we network with.
Next would be title companies. They know the buyers and the sellers. They are great for networking with. Whenever a seller comes in and a buyer doesn’t show, the title company can be your best friend and tee you up with deals. Hard money lenders are the next one. They sometimes have to take properties back from people that they lend to that can’t get it together.
Do you think that a hard money lender is looking forward to going and rehabbing a bunch of properties that they have to take back? No. They are going to sell those off because they are in the lending business, not the rehabbing business. You can go put those properties under contract and wholesale them or you can even find them yourself. They become motivated sellers.
Next, we have professional services. This is a bunch of different types of people all grouped up into one. It could be appraisers, bankers, accountants, insurance agents or bookkeepers. I have gotten a deal from every one of those people that I have listed. I have gotten a deal from appraiser friends of mine and bankers because they may have a client who can’t keep up the mortgage or maybe they are willing to sell it at breakeven to get out of a headache problem.
My accountant and my wife’s accountant both send me deals monthly because they are dealing with people’s financials. Sometimes they can see, “This is probably a good idea to sell this vacant house. It’s not helping you.” They can contact you or me. Insurance agents are people working directly with property owners and can be a great resource. Bookkeepers, we get leads from our bookkeeping services all the time.
Next will be tradesmen or women and inspectors. Think about this for a second. You got professional contractors, handymen and maintenance workers. You have city and/or county building inspectors, as well as code enforcement agents. Did you ever think it would be a good idea to network with these people? These people are seeing the problems.
Contractors sometimes won’t get paid because the person that hired them doesn’t have their stuff together. Handymen are in and out of problem properties all day long. Maintenance workers are the same. With building inspectors and code enforcement agents, it is their job to locate problem properties. Make friends with these people. They can bring you deals and leads.
Next, we have restoration companies. Have you ever heard of the fire, smoke and water damage repair companies? There are national ones and local ones. Find the people that are local in your market. Offer to buy them lunch. You probably heard of ServPro. They are huge and everywhere. Find the people that work at these companies.
Bring them coffee or lunch. Bring them a stack of business cards and some tri-folds about your business. If they don’t know you are looking to buy deals, how are they going to bring them to you? They are not. You got to network with these people. Restoration companies can be huge. We have probably bought twenty deals from networking with local restoration companies over the last decades.
Next, you have Facebook groups. You’ve got the buy-sell-trade, real estate, investor, for sale by owner and landlord groups. You even have the Facebook marketplace. Facebook in general can be a great place to connect directly with property owners. Additionally, you have LinkedIn groups. It’s the same as Facebook. Get in there. Start networking. You can use automated triggers. There’s a website called IFTTT. What this will allow you to do is create automated triggers. That stands for If This Then That.
If you want to go and be notified of any new for sale by owner listing within a certain city, county or ZIP code that hits Craigslist or Zillow, you can automate a little bot to send you an email so you can use automated triggers to be notified when you have a new property that’s for sale by owner or maybe even for rent.
You can network with real estate agents and brokers. Here’s the deal. You are going to be looking for those pocket listings and hard-to-sell properties that they may have. You are going to be looking for their expired listings and/or properties that need too much work for the general public to have an interest in.
When I say network with real estate agents and brokers, I’m not saying go look on the MLS. I’m saying go to your local REIA clubs, meet these people and let them know that when they get the hardest sell problem properties, they can call you directly and don’t even need to spend three hours wasting time putting that property on the MLS.
Have you ever heard of a nursing home? Nursing homes are great places because they have people that have fallen or gotten sick and they are elderly. They don’t have to be but they typically are and they need extra care. Sometimes the people that fall didn’t plan on falling. They were at home but they are going to need to go into a nursing home and have a house they need to sell. Notice I didn’t say want.
The pre-foreclosure list is another one and foreclosure lists themselves for foreclosure auctions. For pre-foreclosure, door-knock them. Send them letters, skip trace, call and text. The foreclosure auctions themselves are also great places to find motivated sellers or deals but with those, you are going to need cash to buy the same day. Tee up your lender or use a line of credit or maybe you have cash.
You can go to pre and post-tax auctions. With the pre ones, you can call them and save their property from going to the auction by buying it and paying the taxes for them. With the post, you can help the sellers redeem their past-due taxes and buy them at the same time. Creating win-win scenarios. You can go to the tax auctions themself and buy deals there as well.
You can Google search for open record requests. You can create YouTube or Facebook ads. You can create a company website and do SEO for that site. You can create blog posts on that site. You can use landing pages within that site to then use pay-per-click, which is typically going to be done on Google, Facebook, YouTube or even Bing. It’s another way to find motivated sellers.
If you are consistent and persistent, there is no reason that you can’t do a deal in just a few short months.
Social media bots were popular years ago but they probably still work. They are bots that go make posts for you in different groups, which you can create and set up, which generates DMs and calls from people that may have the motivation to sell. You can use the stunning open house strategy, which is a great strategy for anybody that’s rehabbing and renovating properties.
If you are a fix and flipper and you have a property that you renovated, instead of listing that property on the market for sale with your agent or even for rent, you can offer to host an open house. I like to call this the stunning open house strategy because what you want to do is invite all the neighbors and maybe all the people in the entire neighborhood to come to check out this awesome house that you and your team got done rehabbing.
You are looking for more deals. If anybody else that comes to the open house strategy has a property that they want to sell on the street, in the neighborhood or even outside of that, you are wanting to talk with them. It’s a way to get in front of people and network. You can send Christmas cards to all known contacts.
Don’t Overthink It
Don’t keep your business a secret. If nobody knows that you are looking to buy properties, how do you expect them to bring you deals? They won’t. They can’t. They don’t know. You can mass text blast and use your existing list. Always be networking and following up. That is the most important thing here. A lot of these strategies that we have gone through are either things that you can do with time, things that you can buy with money or opportunities that you can create by networking. It comes down to those three things at the end of the day. Don’t overthink this business. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to locate motivated sellers to find deals.
We have covered probably about 60 of them thus far in this episode but I want to wrap it up by saying this. Regardless of which method you choose, you must not forget to make offers. Making offers is easy. Don’t overthink it. At the end of the day, we are looking for properties that are distressed that we can buy at deep discounts. This ends up being roughly anywhere from 50% to 70% of the after-repair value when it’s all said and done. Notice that I didn’t mention repairs.
If you don’t know what to offer, go find a Zestimate, cut it in half and offer that. If they say you are crazy, we’ll then move on but if they say yes, well then you might have yourself a deal. If they say no but you are not too far away from where they would like to be, then you are in the ballpark. You must make offers. I challenge you to make at least one offer every single day.
My team and I all have a goal internally, not collectively but to each make 3 offers every single day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you don’t make any offers, how can you expect to get a property under contract? If you are a wholesaler, how can you sell something that you don’t already have control of? You can’t. It’s impossible. You must be making offers. It’s that simple.
There are hundreds of ways. I believe we have covered about 60, give or take, in this episode of ways to buy marketing, spend time doing marketing or different areas that you can network with professionals that could bring you leads to help you find these motivated sellers, which ultimately leads to helping them solve problems and getting paid healthily for your efforts.
Don’t overthink it. It all starts with marketing. I have given you all 60 different ways to do it. You have no excuses, especially the excuse to say, “I don’t know what type of marketing to do.” You have 60 options here. Keep it simple. Here’s the thing. I don’t expect you to go pick 60 options and do 60 things but what I do expect out of you is to pick 1, maybe 2 and get started right away.
Start doing that and get comfortable with that marketing. Once you have mastered that marketing and you’ve offloaded that to a spouse, colleague, business partner or even a local assistant, then at that point, should you go pick up the 2nd or 3rd type of marketing. Pick one. Focus on it intensely, be consistent with your marketing efforts and be persistent with your follow-up efforts. If you are both consistent and persistent, there is no reason that you can’t do a deal in a few short months.
I believe in you. You can do it. You just got to start. I hope you’ve enjoyed this show and found a ton of value in this episode. If you are interested in creating wealth through rental properties using the BRRRR method and achieving financial freedom in your life, go check out WholesalingInc.com/Rentals. Check out what our program is all about and schedule a call with my team.
On the call, we are going to discuss your real estate investing goals and how BRRRR method mastery can help you get there. I would love to help you get started on your way to generating passive income and creating legacy wealth with rental properties. Every single one of you is capable of achieving success and more importantly, you are all worthy of it. Thanks for reading. Get started marketing right away. Signing out.
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About David Dodge
David Dodge is a real estate coach, author, and investor with over 17 years of experience. David specializes in using the BRRRR Method to acquire Rental Properties with NONE of his own money and has taught others how to generate passive income using his systems. He’s also the co-author of the book “The Brrrr Method” and currently has over 90 properties in his rental portfolio with a goal to grow to over 200 properties in the next 24-36 months.