When it comes to investing in real estate, it's easy enough to define your budget and set your criteria for the type of property you'd like to buy. Finding and purchasing a property that fits your budget and criteria is something else entirely.
There are a variety of ways to find investment properties. Some methods are easier than others, but the more you pursue, the greater the likelihood you'll find what you're looking for, at the right price and in the right location.
10 Ways to Find Real Estate Properties for Investment
- Word of Mouth – Don't keep your interest in investment properties to yourself; other people could help you with your search. By letting other people know that you are in the market to buy, and letting them know what you're looking for, you increase the chances that you'll find the right property.
- Realtors & Real Estate Agents – Why not go straight to the people who know? Realtors and real estate agents have access not only to their own sellers, but to the sellers of colleagues and other contacts, increasing the chances you could find what you're looking for.
- MLS Listings – Multiple Listing Services, otherwise known as MLS, are collections of properties for sale by different real estate brokers throughout the United States. There may be multiple MLS for different communities, though, so you might have to do some digging to find all the properties for sale on the MLS in a given area.
- Locals Newspapers & Circulars – While it seems a bit old fashioned, many homes are still listed for sale in local newspapers and circulars dedicated entirely to homes listed for sale in a given area. You never know what kinds of gems you might find newspapers and circulars.
- Craigslist – Craigslist.org has basically turned into the online version of the local newspaper classifieds. You'll find everything for sale here that you would in a newspaper – including potential investment properties, whether you're looking for a commercial building or a single-family home to rent out.
- Specialty Websites – You can search websites like BiggerPockets.com, LoopNet.com, Realtor.com and other websites for different types of properties in which you could invest. There might be some sites geared specifically to properties in certain larger cities as well.
- For Sale by Owner – Though it's not the best way to sell a property, some sellers still just stick a sign out in front and wait for buyers to come find it. If you're looking to invest in a certain area, take some time to drive around. You just might find something that isn't listed anywhere online.
- Auctions – Banks have to unload those foreclosures somehow and many of them are sold at bank foreclosure auctions. There are also even sheriff and city auctions for properties taken due to taxes owed. You could also check out the specialty website, Auction.com.
- Outbound Marketing – If you have the budget for it, you could try to bring the sellers to you through outbound marketing. It requires money up front, though, to do things like print direct mail pieces, pay for postage, and more.
- Making an Offer – See a property you like? What's the harm in making an offer? The worst that can happen is someone says "No." But what if they say yes?
This list isn't comprehensive, but it's a great place to start looking for real estate investment properties. You can pick and choose which places to look, or use them all, but remember: The more places you look, the better your chances of finding the perfect property at the right price.
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This article is Copyright 2014 BiggerPockets, Inc