The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a great tool for those shopping in the real estate market. It was designed to simplify the process. It places all of the listings from multiple agencies in one convenient location for buyers and agents to browse without having to visit multiple different websites or catalogs. While this service has streamlined the process substantially, it can hinder those who are looking for the hottest deals. As this is the go-to for most buyers and real estate agents, everybody is essentially looking at the same list.
What does this mean for Investment Buyers?
The hottest deals go almost immediately. If you’re not quick enough—whether you’re still working full time and not able to schedule showings right away or you’re waiting on financing to come through—you’re going to lose the hottest of the hot deals. Real estate is a unique business. Just because everyone is using the MLS system, doesn’t mean you have to. There are many different ways to shop for out of this world deals. Ditch the MLS and try one of these different ways to find your next investment property!
1. Ignore ‘For Sale’ Signs – Look For Vacant Properties
It used to be that driving around was the only way to shop for real estate, but this forgotten method is making a recent comeback for the savviest of investors. While cruising areas you’re interested in buying in, don’t bother looking for the “For Sale” signs in the yard, but instead look for signs of neglect or vacancy. If the yard looks as if it hasn’t been cut in months, or if there are papers piling up in the driveway or mailbox, jot down the address. Property owner information is available through your county’s records. Reach out to the owner and express your interest in the property. Often, you’ll find siblings or children who have inherited the property recently that are willing to unload the burden quickly.
2. Eviction for Them—Deal for You
Eviction is a horrible thing, for both tenant and landlord. The process is messy, time-consuming, and costly for the landlord. Most small-time landlords often consider getting out of the industry while wading through the muck that is an eviction. Targeting landlords who are currently experiencing an eviction process is a potent method to securing properties at a killer price. How do you find these landlords? Well, believe it or not, eviction notices are public record. You can request a list of current evictions directly from your county’s office of administration.
3. Find A Wholesaler
Connecting with a great wholesaler can make the entire process much easier for you. Instead of driving around town scouring neighborhoods or spending hours on the internet searching newspaper ads and postings, you get to sit at home and review a short list offered to you by the wholesaler. They’ve done the hard work for you—they’ve found the best deals and will turn around and sell them to you for a small profit. While you’re not getting the unbelievable deal the wholesaler raked in, you’re still going to get a great deal and often with very little work on your part. This is great if you have a full-time job and a family, as your time is precious.
Real estate is still one of the few industries which old practices and new practices blend to create a flexible method of operation. While the MLS listing may be the go-to for most people, and can be a vital tool in your search, don’t solely rely on it. Use different methods—employ multiple channels. You’ll be surprised what a little ingenuity can do for you and your investment portfolio!
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