Categories
Wholesaling

Where to Find the Best Real Estate Wholesaling Deals

Like plenty of new investors, you may have decided to try out real estate wholesaling.

Using this investment method, the turnaround period is short, and you don’t need a lot of money (if any) to start—this is why a lot of first-time investors gravitate towards wholesaling.

However, to be successful at it, you do need to find the best properties for wholesaling. After all, not all deals have an equal potential for giving you the returns you desire. You’ll need to source houses significantly (ideally around 50%) under market value, and for that, you’ll also need to be dealing with motivated sellers. 

Finding these kinds of properties isn’t easy – that’s why not everyone and their mother is out there working as a successful wholesale. But to get you started, here’s a guide to help you source profitable wholesaling deals.

Offline Methods

There are two main kinds of wholesale deal sources: offline and online. Though many will consider online methods to be more efficient—especially in today’s digitally driven world—offline techniques also have their benefits.

Those who were successful at real estate wholesaling started their careers with these old-fashioned methods. Though these methods often require more time and resources to set up, you have a good chance of sealing your first deal with the help of these proven techniques:

Driving for Dollars

Before the internet, driving for dollars was one of the most popular ways to hunt for wholesale leads. If you’re tight on budget, this old-fashioned way can still work wonders.

You simply hop into your car and drive through target neighborhoods (i.e. places where buyers actually want to live or invest), looking for properties that show signs of neglect. Some signs to look for are the following:

  • Abandonment or vacancy
  • Overgrown lawn and plants
  • Boarded-up windows
  • Visible damages
  • Uncollected trash

Once you spot a potential property, use public records to find the name of the registered owner, and contact them to make an offer. Often, an unused property could be more of a burden to the owner than a boon – like the unwanted home of a deceased relative, for example – and they’ll be fairly motivated to consider letting someone take it off their hands.

Bandit Signs

Bandit signs are another low-cost and effective way to find deals in your local housing market. Often spotted on random street corners or busy traffic areas, these signs say things like “We Buy Houses” or “Sell Your House for Cash”. Place them in the neighborhoods you want to target for your real estate wholesaling deals.

However, before you start putting up your own, just make sure that these signs aren’t illegal in your area!

Direct Mail Campaigns

This involves sending out postcards or letters to potential sellers, expressing your interest in buying their property. Direct mail campaigns can be effective, though they’re a bit pricier and slower to generate leads than their equivalent online methods.

You’ll need to secure mailing lists and be persistent with getting a response. To increase your success rate, only target owners of pre-foreclosure properties, high equity or delinquent mortgages, probates, and other types of motivated sellers.

Networking

Joining local real estate investment clubs is a great way to find deals. There may be sellers that just haven’t listed their properties yet, which a network of agents, investors, and attorneys can inform you about. Making connections in the industry will also grow your buyers’ list, increasing your chances of closing deals on both ends.

Newspapers

Old-fashioned newspaper advertising can help you reach sellers who aren’t online. After all, 10% of all Americans aren’t online—equating to nearly 33 million Americans!

To avoid missing an opportunity for a real estate wholesaling deal, you can reach more people by posting “I Buy Houses!” ads in local newspapers.

Online methods

Online methods are often more convenient and faster at producing results, though they may not always be as effective as offline methods—and there’s plenty of competition online that you have to contend with, too! Nevertheless, you can still discover a lot of good deals online that you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Here’s how:

Wholesaling Website

Creating a website allows you to target a larger customer audience. With a single click, you can reach thousands more people—a lot more than you can reach with local signages.

Your website should sell yourself as a willing and capable real estate wholesaler, convincing people to trust you with their property. You should optimize your website with SEO, PPC advertising, and social media marketing (as well as retargeting ads) to generate leads and seal more deals.

Expired MLS listings

Expired MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings are properties that weren’t sold by the date specified in the listing contract between the seller and the listing agent. There aren’t a lot of properties that get this far, but a real estate agent or broker should be able to help you find these deals.

To do this, focus on a particular city or neighborhood, check the properties within, and get in touch with the owners of the expired listings to show your interest in their property. Usually, they’re pretty motivated to sell, since the property has already sat on the market for a long time with no buyers coming forward.

Online Forum and Auction Sites

Craigslist, Hubzu, ForSaleByOwner, and Auction.com are places where people often post to sell quickly. This makes them potential gold mines for real estate investors, and wholesalers in particular. If you move faster than your competition, you can snag some great deals from these websites.

Final Thoughts

For you to be successful in real estate wholesaling, you have to make numerous offers to seal enough deals—both online and offline.

Once you find a motivated seller with a distressed property, make sure to move fast to get them under contract. Then, follow through with assigning the rights to your buyer and collecting your fee, before beginning your search anew!

Any other sources we’ve missed? Which one’s your go-to strategy to find deals?

Image Courtesy of Aleksejs Bergmanis

Categories
Wholesaling

Can You Wholesale Real Estate 100% Online

Wholesaling real estate appeals to many investors, because it allows you to invest in properties without any upfront capital of your own, or the headaches that come along with owning and maintaining a physical property. 

Now, with work-from-home seemingly here to stay, more and more people are searching for ways to get into property investments (while they can still hopefully secure a good deal on a home from a motivated seller) – only they want to do it 100% remotely. 

But can you wholesale a property completely online, without ever seeing it, or meeting your buyer or seller, in person? Let’s consider why or why not. 

What is wholesaling real estate?

Wholesaling real estate is essentially matching sellers to buyers, and taking a fee for your troubles. There are a few different ways to carry out the process, but in general, it works like this:

  1. A wholesaler finds a motivated seller and negotiates to purchase their (often distressed) property at a below-market-value price.
  2. They sign a purchase agreement.
  3. The wholesaler finds a buyer and signs an assignment contract, assigning to the buyer the right to buy the house at a slightly higher price (the amount specified in the initial purchase agreement + the wholesaler’s “assignment fee”).
  4. The wholesaler hands over the paperwork to a local title company, the buyer and seller close on the deal, and the wholesaler receives their fee.

How can real estate wholesaling be done online?

Viewings

Wholesaling digitally is not impossible. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, more than half (52%) of homebuyers in 2019 found their home through the internet. And, because of the pandemic, shifting to online viewings  is only going to become more common.

Nowadays, you can use 3D tours, video calls, and Google Street View to get a feel for the property and its surroundings, no matter where you are in the world. 

However, there are some definite cons to wholesaling without ever viewing a property in person: 

  • You’re limited to what’s listed online. Many wholesalers find the best properties by driving around target neighborhoods and looking for distressed houses. If it’s already advertised online, chances are you won’t be able to negotiate as good a deal, since there will be agent commissions to pay (although you can still find some deals this way, and by focusing on FSBOs). The other option is to have an awesome inbound marketing strategy – more on that below!
  • You can’t catch hidden problems. 3D tours and video calls will never completely make up for seeing a property (and the area it’s located in) for yourself. You can work with a local inspector or field agent on the ground, who will give houses a once-over for you, but you’ll have to ensure you trust them to spot any potential problems with a discerning eye.
  • You won’t be able to negotiate contracts in person, which can make it a lot harder to read the seller and build a rapport with them. 

That being said, lots of experienced investors do buy houses sight-unseen. So, if you want to know how to wholesale online, here’s what you need to consider next:

Building a cash buyers list

The goal of a wholesaler (once they’ve negotiated a Purchase Agreements) is to find a buyer for the property. To do this efficiently, you need to build a list of contacts—either owner-occupiers, or individuals/companies that are looking to buy distressed houses and flip them at a profit.

Typically, you build this network by sending out mailing lists, taking out ad placements, or attending in-person events. The goal? Make distressed sellers come to YOU. Just keep in mind that, for every 100 ad impressions you get or emails you send out, you’re probably only going to get 1 response – maybe up to 3, if you’re really lucky. So it’s a numbers game. 

Fortunately, though, there are also lots of ways to develop your cash buyers list completely online, by:

  • Joining real estate groups in MeetUp.com or Facebook
  • Running ads on Facebook, Google Ads, or other social media platforms
  • Setting up a website and gathering emails through a signup form – then sending out regular newsletters to your mailing list with details of all your available properties

Ideally, you’ll want to get the contact information and purchasing criteria of these buyers, and keep a simple database of their requirements and preferences, like:

  • How can I contact you for real estate deals?
  • Which area do you want to invest in? 
  • What kind of properties do you prefer? What do you want to avoid? 
  • What type of investment are you looking for? Is it cash flow, house appreciation, flipping, or do you want to live in the home yourself?
  • How quickly and often can you close deals? 

Negotiating the Purchase Agreement

Once you’ve found some properties and have a cash buyers list, you need to evaluate each deal based on the following:

  • The market value of the property
  • The cost of repairing/renovating the property
  • The Assignment Fee you’ll be taking as part of the wholesale deal

Keeping these three things in mind will help you calculate your maximum allowable offer (MAO). 

Then, you have to negotiate with the seller to agree to a price that leaves room for you to make your profit as a wholesaler. This is where working online becomes potentially tricky: at some point, you’re going to at least have a phone conversation (or several) with the seller, and without meeting them face-to-face, you need to have some pretty great skills as a salesperson to seal deals consistently over the phone. 

Except, of course, if you’ve done a great job advertising your wholesaling business online, and motivated sellers are beating down your door trying to sell you their houses. In that case, the sales calls should be pretty straightforward!

For more wary sellers, you can try using video calls, but many won’t be used to Skype or Zoom, and many others won’t bother giving you the time of day. A lot of homeowners balk when they hear you’ll be putting in an offer without viewing the property in person – however, if you have a local agent going to view properties on your behalf, this isn’t usually a problem. 

Once you’ve signed the Purchase Agreement, the next step is to start advertising the deal to your buyers list – and for that, you’ll need marketing photos. Even without visiting the property, though, you can get these relatively easily, either by asking the owner to take some for you, or getting your local representative to do it. 

Closing the deal

Another common concern when wholesaling (even in person) is that, once the buyer and seller both see the amount you’re receiving from the deal as your Assignment Fee, they’ll want to back out, because they think it’s unfair that you’re making a profit from the sale. 

When wholesaling real estate online, this can be even more of a danger. All they have to do is stop replying to your emails, and work out an arrangement between themselves in person. For that reason, a double closing may seem like the better option for online wholesaling. 

In brief, the difference between assignment and double closing is:

  • Assignment of Contract is when you have the property under contract and you transfer those rights to another party (without ever owning the property yourself).
  • Double Closing is when you buy the property yourself, then immediately (often on the same day) sell it at a higher price to another buyer.

You’ll still need to have a representative attend the closings on your behalf, but it is possible to close on a house remotely, using e-signatures. 

Closing wholesale deals online can therefore have several benefits, like:

  • You don’t have to wait long for physical documents to be signed, making it faster and more convenient.
  • The back-and-forth requires less energy than driving to in-person meetings.
  • Distance is a non-issue, so you can work with buyers and sellers who are out-of-state, or even out-of-country.
  • Everything is documented properly, with a digital paper trail.
  • You can access all of your essential documents in one place using cloud storage.

Summary

So, can you wholesale real estate 100% online? Yes, you can. 

Should you wholesale real estate 100% online? That’s another question.

Most forms of real estate investing are not a way of generating passive income – unless you’re investing in a REIT (real estate investment trust). Typically, even with wholesaling, you want to view the property in person to make sure you’re getting what you paid for (and not taking on any nasty, expensive surprises which will prevent you from re-assigning the contract to a potential buyer). 

However, if you have trusted partners on the ground who can meet with buyers and sellers and attend viewings and property inspections on your behalf, then wholesaling online becomes a lot less risky. 

And, with our world becoming increasingly driven by technology, virtual wholesaling will probably only become more popular in the coming years. 

That’s because now, with just a working laptop and fast internet connection, you can:

  • View properties (sort of)
  • Build your cash buyers list
  • Negotiate Purchase Agreements
  • Close the deal and collect your fee

All from the comfort of your own living room! 

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Categories
Landlords

How to Write a Perfect Property Description to Attract the Best Tenants

Your property listing is the very first touchpoint between you and your ideal tenant, so it’s pretty essential to get this right.  A big part of this is the written property description which should appeal to the type of person you’d most like to have as a renter, whether that be young professionals or middle-class families. This article will show you how to get inside the mind of your prospective tenant and tailor your description to speak to them, just like professional marketers do when they want their product to stand out from the crowd.

Think Like a Marketer

As you prepare your rental listings, always write to attract your target tenant. You can do this by finding out as much as you can about their interests, concerns, and needs, and addressing these within your description.While you can’t discriminate as a landlord, you can still tailor your messaging to make it sound more appealing to your preferred target demographic, making them more likely to choose your home over another similar property on the market.

Know Your Audience

Once you have an idea for who your target tenant is, you can use tools like social media to help get inside their head. Look through property groups or ads on Facebook, and read through the comments to get an idea for the types of questions that concern your audience, and even the language they use to describe their ideal home. Write these words down and incorporate them into your property description, to help your home appear when they search for these keywords online. 

Do Market Research

You can also use social media, and other property listing sites, to get a feel for the competition in your area. The point here is not to copy other descriptions, but rather to understand the ways in which your home is unique, so you can better emphasise these qualities in your own ads.

Craft Compelling Copy

There are two kinds of buyers: emotional and rational. You can make your marketing copy appeal to both of these kinds of prospective tenants by choosing the right words.

For those driven by emotion, tell a story with your property description to help them imagine themselves living in your home (e.g. “Curl up by the fireplace in the evening with a good book”). Just make sure the story you use is something that would speak to your ideal tenant.

For those driven by logic, the best way to “sell” them on your property is to remove any element of doubt from the equation. To do this, try to answer any potential question they may have about the property in the description itself. Take note of all the questions you see while doing your online research, as well as those which are asked most frequently by your prospective tenants, and incorporate the answers to them in your ads. This way, when they see your property, they’ll be able to tell right away whether it’s right for them, and this will give them confidence to choose your place over all the others on the market.

Embrace The New Normal

In the era of the new normal, tenants’ priorities are changing, so highlighting features which appeal to people in the current climate is another way to help make your property stand out.. Concerns about  privacy and seclusion from neighbors, and the presence of big indoor/outdoor spaces, entertainment or recreational areas, large kitchens, home offices, and spaces which can be easily separated to accommodate people living and working at home together are just some of the things that tenants are now prioritizing more than ever before, so if your property has any of these features, make sure to emphasize and leverage on that as a selling point.

When creating your listings, you don’t need to stand out by having the fanciest property description in the entire market. You only need to stand out to one person: your ideal tenant. The best way to do this is by tailoring your language to address their desires and concerns directly, just like the best business marketers do.

Image Courtesy of Ivan Samkov

Categories
Flipping

Flippers: The Best and Worst Renovations

Never over-renovate your flip!

You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you end up spending too much on repairs or upgrades to the property. 

Your goal is to make money from buying a distressed house under market value, fixing it up to a marketable condition, and selling it at a price higher than the acquisition and renovation cost. So, it’s crucial that you hit the sweet spot of renovating the house just enough to achieve maximum ROI. 

But how will you know what to fix, and what to leave for the future buyer? Which renovations will add value, and which will only hurt your chances of making a higher flip profit? 

Here’s our guide to help you decide:

Know the Best Renovations

  • Competitive Scan

First and foremost, scan the other houses in the area where your flip is located. Research what else has sold and what factors they have in common. Figure out what the market gravitates towards and prioritize the same things in your renovations. 

  • First Impressions

First impressions are important for potential buyers. Anything that will add to your flip’s curb appeal will help attract attention, making buyers curious to see what’s inside. To achieve this: 

  • Have the front door stand out with a contrasting color
  • Maintain the landscaping (if there is any) with fresh flowers and plants
  • Power wash anything that looks dirty or faded
  • Repaint all trim work for a polished look 
  • Replace any old exterior hardware (e.g., doorknobs, mailbox, outdoor lighting, window frames)
  • Add shutters or blinds to avoid the house looking empty/unlived in
  • Kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important features when it comes to buyers deciding on a house. They’re also much more expensive to overhaul, so many buyers don’t want to have to renovate kitchens or bathrooms themselves. 

But kitchen improvements can help recoup your investment by as much as 66%, so this is one area where you definitely want to spend. 

On the other hand, anything you spend on bathroom improvements can yield an ROI of up to 67.2%, so they’re also a good investment when planning the budget for your flip. 

  • Attics and basements

Attics have come a long way from being a horror movie location to, now, a great expansion and additional space in the house. It’s possible to get back as much as 73% of your investment when the property’s attic is converted into a bedroom or some kind of usable room for potential buyers. 

This is an expensive renovation though, so make sure you do the math properly to make sure it’s worth it for your flip.

Know the Worst Renovations

  • Competitive scan

When you check out other houses in the area, also pay attention to what won’t sell. Each area will have their own preference. Make sure you avoid having similar features as houses that have sat in the market the longest.

  • Extreme tastes

Focusing on renovating the property with elements that will appeal to the largest buying audience. Instead of decorating and renovating based on your own taste, fix it up with the general public in mind. Don’t put any design or functional feature that’s too specific and only caters to niche markets, like crazy, bold colors or wooden countertops. 

  • Home Offices

Even though work-from-home set ups are increasingly becoming popular since the pandemic, most people still don’t need a full-blown office at home. At the maximum, you can recoup around 43% of your investment by adding one to your flip.

If you see that home offices are actually popular in the property’s area, in particular, you can just have a home office that can easily be converted into a bedroom, should the future owner chooses to. An extra bedroom adds more value, too.

Profit is what you want out of your flip at the end of the day. 

To do this, you have to renovate objectively, with your ROI in mind, and not think about trying to turn your flip into a house you’d want to live in yourself. 

Begin with a solid renovation plan, and a carefully calculated budget, and make sure you don’t spend too much money in the pursuit of the “wow” factor.

Image courtesy of Pixabay