The real estate market is constantly fluctuating up and down and this affects every type of property. Depending on how the market is currently behaving, the buyers or the sellers are going to have an edge on making a profit. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal if you know where to start looking.
Just like any occupation, the best sources of information are those individuals who work in the field every day. They have the network of people, the knowledge, the experience and every other necessary aspect to give you up-to-date information.
So where you can find these individuals and the listings they represent?
Real Estate Brokers & Agents
Your first stop is usually a real estate broker since they regularly work with both buyers and sellers. It’s very common for them to have a list of investor properties that they share after they’ve discussed what the investor is specifically looking for. Talk to them about your proposed budget, the area where you’d like to purchase property and anything specific you want, and they can start to work on potential matches. They can also help you expand your search area into neighboring towns and cities quickly and easily.
Multiple Listing Service
The MLS, or multiple listing service is normally the first place they are going to check for properties and homes. Agents and brokers everywhere share information on this service about homes they have for sale, letting them benefit from a much larger pool of buyers. Pictures, prices, details and anything you would need to make a decision on whether to visit the home in person will be included in these listings. When your agent knows exactly what you’re looking for, they will review these properties and find sites that match your interests.
Banks are another source for potential property purchases, since they carry foreclosure sites and similar properties on their books. It doesn’t profit them to keep these titles, so they want to sell them to interested buyers as soon as possible. Their real estate department will have listings of short sales and REOs that are open for viewing, and you can make an appointment with one of their representatives or have your agent give them a call. By working with the bank directly, you’ll also have a chance to negotiate the purchase price, since they will be especially motivated to sell in some cases.
The lenders themselves, whether it’s a government program, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, are going to have a list of properties available to buy. You can obtain these when you call and speak to their sales or real estate department. Your broker can also contact them to see what’s available in a particular city. It’s helpful to work with lenders like this, since you can establish a relationship with them and perhaps purchase more homes directly from them in the future. It’s also good to be aware of this source, because you may not find the properties simply by perusing online classifieds or similar websites.
Public auctions are listed in local newspapers, but also included in the online digital version of newspapers. Shopping at these auctions helps you get the full value of your investor dollars, especially if you’re able to purchase a home below its market value. Talk to your agent about which auction properties would be most profitable to flip afterward or which could be turned into profitable rental sites. They can help you create a future revenue stream and help you with the required paperwork as well. Sign up for notifications from the auction agencies so you can be notified when they are going to hold future auctions in your local region.
Homes are sold privately every day, and oftentimes, you can just drive around a desirable neighborhood to see what’s available. The signs that are posted in front yards help you gather information and the contact individual to whom you need to speak. When you see a home that is up for sale and that you’re interested in, ask your agent to give you some comp numbers on nearby homes, so you can negotiate more effectively. Usually, these individuals sell their home on their own because they want to avoid the regular stream of people walking through their house at all hours of the day, so instead of hiring an agent, they handle the process themselves. If you hire an agent to negotiate on your behalf though, they can represent your investor interests and help you get the signed deal. It may even be possible for them to set up the current homeowners as renters, helping you produce an income stream right away.
Other Real Estate Investors
If you’re in the market as a real estate investor, then you almost certainly know other individuals who do the same thing. Check out what they have on their books and would be willing to part with, and do the same in return for them. If you can profit from a property they are selling and turn it into cash for your pocketbook, then it’s a great deal. Make the best use of your mutual connections, so you can increase your real estate holdings and build an established base of income-producing properties.
If you’re interested in investing in real estate, the best place to begin is a meeting with a real estate broker or agent. Let them know what you’re trying to achieve, what your budget is and what your main concerns are. They will break down the process, how they can help you and give you a list of possible solutions. Your partnership can help you become a profitable real estate investor and make sure you’re operating in the most desirable regions at the same time.