How to Find Off-Market Properties to Flip

Want to get into the real estate investing game? Here’s what you need to know about how to find off-market properties to flip.

Does it seem like every other investor out there has the magical ability to find off-market properties to flip? You can learn to do this, too. As a real estate investor you should absolutely market to motivated sellers of off-market properties. In many cases these are properties that are not listed for sale on MLS or in newspapers or wherever. Usually the seller hasn’t figured out that he wants and needs to sell his property. That’s where you come in.

The two main reasons that people are motivated to sell their off-market homes are the following:

  1. Financial Reasons. Perhaps they have bills, a foreclosure, divorce, medical issues, etc. and they are in need of fast cash.
  1. Property Reasons. People will be more motivated if they have a property that is in disrepair and needs work. If it’s dated and needs a large investment to be marketable, or it’s sitting vacant and slowly falling into disrepair, or it’s been trashed by a renter, etc.

You are helping these people solve their problem by offering cash for their house and a solution by which they can trade the equity in their property for a quick close on a house that is in need of repair and/or sitting vacant.

RealeFlow: Who do you sent your direct mail pieces to? You might consider a company called RealeFlow to provide you with names. They’re a great source of appropriate and relevant mailing lists. You can pull names of high-equity property owners, etc. It’s a great resource. What you’re looking for is people most likely to be motivated.

ListSource.com: Another place you can go to for lists of owners is ListSource.com. Here you will pay between 8 and 16 cents per name. So if you pull 1000 names that’s between $80 and $160 for the list.

Find Motivated Sellers Now (FMSN): This is another good resource that you should check out. Go to VirtualFlips.com/FMSN and you can check it out there.

Who to Mail to First in a New Market: As we’ve suggested, go to RealeFlow first and pull a list from them. Remember, you’re looking for high absentee owner lists. You can find videos on how to pull the correct list on RealeFlow.com and ListSource.com.

Off-market Sellers: Here are a few types of motivated off-market sellers.

  1. Absentee Owners – An absentee owner is someone who owns property but doesn’t live there. They could be a landlord of a rental home, or perhaps someone who has just inherited a property. Or someone who owns a house but has moved to a different location and the house is sitting vacant. If they own the property but not living there, the house is costing them money every month in taxes, insurance, and perhaps mortgage payments. These are reasons people will be motivated to sell. Maybe they have a rental property that’s been trashed by a tenant and they just don’t want it any more.

When you pull absentee owner lists, remember to focus on owners that have high equity or free and clear properties. This means there is sure to be equity in the property, so you’ll know that if they are motivated it will very likely become a deal.

  1. Owners of a Vacant House – The best houses to buy are usually vacant. Vacant houses are in every real estate market across the country, even in hot housing markets. It’s certainly not doing the owner any good and it’s costing them money every month in taxes and insurance, not to mention potential mortgage payments. They can be vandalized and usually will fall into disrepair. Every day the house sits vacant it is getting worse.

To find vacant houses you can start by driving neighborhoods. It’s surprising how many vacant houses you can find just by driving around. They’re everywhere. Simply write down the address and then go to your county tax assessor’s office and look up who the owner is. In many country assessor’s offices you can find the information online. After you get the owner’s address just send them a letter. Find Motivated Sellers Now also provides vacant house listings.

Off-market Homes: Absentee Out of State Vacant Homes

The triple whammy of off-market homes. These are vacant or absentee homes owned by people who live out of state. This is the golden trifecta. They are usually the most motivated people on earth. You can also find these properties on Find Motivated Sellers Now. First select Vacant Homes, then do a sub-selection of Out of State Owners. If it’s a vacant house and the owner lives out of state, they are usually very motivated, which makes your life easier.

Off-market Homes: Probate Properties

Another great source of off-market homes is probate. These are people who have inherited properties and the properties go into probate. Many times these people are very motivated, but just haven’t done anything yet. They’ve inherited the property and it’s dated or they’ve inherited rental properties they don’t want to deal with. They would rather just sell it to you for cash and be done with it. Probate houses are a great source of off-market homes to buy.

First, go to the county courthouse, or online if your county is online, and pull the probate records. Go through the records and write down the deceased name and all the heirs and look up the deceased name to see if he owns any property. Then compile a list of those properties. If you don’t want to go to your courthouse try USLeadList.com for probate records.

Off-market Homes: Tax Lien Properties

A tax lien is placed on the property of someone who is late paying their property taxes. Again, you can get the list from the county. Many times if the property owner is late on their property taxes it means they’re probably in some distress and need to sell the home. In addition to county records, you can find tax lien records on RealeFlow.com. The best times to do a mailing to these folks are April and November, around property tax time.

Off-market Homes: Pre-Foreclosures

You can get lists of pre-foreclosures from the county court house, title companies, RealeFlow.com, and Listsource.com, among other sources. There are not as many of these as there have been in recent years, but there are still a lot. You want to find properties with equity, which will make for an easier deal to close.

Off-market Homes: Evictions

Evictions are a great source of off-market homes. These are people who have just evicted a renter and filed an eviction notice. You can get a list of property owners who have filed for an eviction and then send them a letter. Often the property owner who has just evicted a tenant will be very motivated to sell.

If your real estate investment business involves wholesaling or flipping homes, you should consider focusing your marketing efforts on off-market homes. As you’ve seen, these homes are prime candidates for buying for the purpose of wholesaling or flipping, so targeting them will save you lots of time and money. Makes sense to us.

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