Whether you’re a novice or experienced real estate investor, finding good property deals takes time and effort. Lucky for you, there are a number of tools and techniques — both online and offline — that will help you find exactly what you’re looking for at a price that fits your budget.
Online listing websites
To start, visit top online listing websites such as Loopnet, Auction, Craigslist, and Zillow. These sites enable you to view properties not only in your neighborhood but all over the country without leaving home.
If you spend time on these websites, you’ll begin to understand the market for different locations and learn to identify a good deal when you see it.
You can also use the listing websites to get sellers to come to you. Posting an ad that asserts something like “Interested in Buying Homes for Cash,” or “Seeking Resale Flats in Mumbai (or any other specific area)” will get the attention of real estate agents and sellers across the country.
Then you can find your top listings and decide which will be the best investment for your purposes.
Network with local agents
No one understands real estate value and best practices better than highly experienced real estate agents. Networking with these professionals will help you find exactly what you’re looking for in an investment property.
Create an official letterhead and send it to real estate agents in the area where you’re hoping to purchase property. Let them know what kind of deal you’re looking for, and if it’s the right price, you’re willing to close fast.
Before you know it, you’ll have a small fleet of real estate agents searching listings and locating deals for you without having to pay a dime.
Learn to recognize the signs of a distressed seller
When you can purchase a property for well below the actual market value, preferably with favorable terms, then you’ve obviously landed a great deal. This won’t be easy … unless you know how to spot a distressed seller.
Distressed sellers are homeowners who don’t have a clear knowledge of the current market and are feeling stressed about possibly not being able to sell the property, so they list it at a significant discount. If you see an extremely low asking price, dig a little deeper.
It might be that the house is in horrible shape and would be a waste of your money. Or it could be that the seller is going through a difficult time, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, sudden job transfer, or serious financial stress, and simply wants the house gone as soon as possible.
To find such sellers, look for certain keywords in their ads, such as “must sell,” “motivated seller,” or “need gone by this date.”
Purchase with profits in mind
Buying an investment property involves much more than buying a property to live in. You need to look at the property as it could someday be, not as it is. Whether you’re planning to rent it out or flip it for profits, look at a property with profits in mind.
First, study the financial components. If you won’t be able to handle the payments initially, it won’t work for you as an income property.
You should also perform an inspection and have a designer offer an estimate on what kind of work needs to be performed on the property, and how much it should cost. If the value of the home will increase substantially because of the renovations, and you can afford to do them, it will be a good investment for you.
You also need to be able to recognize the appearance of a profitable investment property. Consider the things you need in a property to turn a good profit.
According to Sai Prashanth of Housing.com, an online real estate website, “You should think about the town, neighborhood, property size, lot size, property conditions, cap rate, cash flow, appreciation potential, and anything else that’s important to you before you go shopping. Take steps to unearth any other extra information that’s not included in the listing.”
Finding a great deal on an investment property often means very little more than obtaining the right information.