Episode #4 – How to Find Sellers for Free
Welcome to EarlToms podcast. Today we’re going to talk about how to find some deals for you, that are free ways or really inexpensive ways to find deals with a little bit of creativity, little bit of effort, and some time spent on it. Before we get into that, it’s important that everyone realizes that for about the first month or two that you get into this business, you really need to focus on building buyer relationships. So you’re not just going out there finding the deal, and then all of a sudden going, Hey, what do I do with it now? Where do I sell it? Who do I sell it to? You have basically the bread portion of peanut butter and jelly to make a sandwich. So if you’re going out there finding these deals, but you don’t have anywhere to put it, it’s not going to benefit you. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but that’s what needs to happen. In order to make money, you have to have the complete sandwich. So when you go out your first little while that you’re trying to get into this business, go back to the episode where we were talking about finding the buyers and build those relationships in those ways so that when you do come across a deal, you have a place to put it, and you can you can make money on it. If you’re just going out there spending all your time, your effort, your money finding deals, but you can’t get them sold, you’re not going to be profitable. So with that, let’s talk about some ways to find some deals.
Like I said, that are free or really inexpensive as long as you’re willing to put in the effort and the time to do so. One way that that you can find deals is going to these REI meetings. We talked about that in the last episode, find the buyers. What a lot of people don’t realize is when you’re getting into the business and you have the relationships with these buyers, you almost become the buyer yourself. So when all these other people that are just getting in the business and have these deals, but they don’t have anywhere to put him. You make a relationship and JV with them. A little bit of money is better than none or you’re going out there and you’ve got you know, somebody that seasoned that may like you. They may decide they just want to help you and see what you could do and give you their deals just to see if you can get them sold. Try to test you in that way but build a relationship with you. If that’s the case, do it because you’re not going to get in this business in the very beginning and make a lot of money. You might get lucky and get a couple of deals in your first couple of months. In a lot of respects, that’s the worst thing that can happen to you because you start expecting that. You want up thinking, I’ve got $5,000 for a marketing budget. What do I do with it? You put that in the bank for a rainy day because you’re still not to the level of having a full understanding of what you need to be doing to make your business successful. You still need to be utilizing these free methods to be able to build your capital, and then you go out and you start using your marketing dollars off what you’ve made because you’re almost crawling before you walk. When you go out and you get a deal, your 1st month or two, the instinct is it’s okay to put up bandit signs or let me run some Google ads, Facebook ads. But what if those things don’t give you return now? You’re right back where you were in the very beginning, with no money. So you still have to go back to the free way. Going to these REI meetings is a good way to build relationships with buyers because they already have properties, but buyers are also sellers, you’re in essence doubling up. So if they decided to give you their deals and you get some sold, well, guess what? Hey, Mr. Buyer, I’ve got a deal. Would you like to buy? They’re more inclined to buy it from you because now you’re a potential exit for them when they get that property stabilized or renovated. You’re coming in and basically double dipping. Let them get it stabilized or renovated. Then they’re coming back to you and saying, Hey, do you think you can sell this for me? Now you made money selling too. So that’s actually a really good way to work the free aspect of it to find deals. You’re also maximizing your money because you’ll be able to make money twice on a single deal for a single relationship.
Another way to find deals is driving around. You’ll see these bandit signs that say we buy houses. A lot of people call those, but what a lot of people don’t do is if you’re an actual wholesaler, it’s not a bad idea to call these signs. Sometimes these wholesalers get out there and they’ll have these deals but they don’t have anywhere to put them. You assume that everybody they know they didn’t want, so they turned around and sent an email blast out to their buyers. They couldn’t find anybody to buy. They still need a way to get it sold. If you build that relationship with the other wholesalers you expand your initial network and possibly get deals. These may be the wholesalers that don’t go to the REI meetings. Now, all you really did is make a couple phone calls and build a relationship. If you get lucky, that’s great. In the future, you’re going to give you a phone call because they need to sell the deal. I need to make some money. So you split the profits with whoever can get it sold. Now you’re on that list. I’m not saying do this once you become established because a lot of times you get involved in a daisy chain that can hurt your reputation if you can’t actually deliver on what you’re saying. But when you’re getting into the business, if you ask the right questions with these wholesalers, make sure they have the the deal under control and they’re the ones that have the contract. It’s not, you know, three other people down the road that has the contract and they don’t really know what’s going on with property. Then you should be fine. One easy way to tell whether or not somebody’s has control of the property is ask to see it. If it’s going to take them a week for you to see it, nine times out of 10 it’s not their deal. They’re trying to help somebody else, but they’re representing it as it is their deal. If they could get you out there in 48 – 72 hours, a lot of times they are direct with the seller. They don’t have to wait on someone else to be able to get you into that property.
You never send the deal out that you haven’t put your own eyes on if it’s in your market. If you’re virtual wholesaling that’s a different story but representing a property in the right way to a potential buyer is key. So make sure if you JV with any of any of these people, whether you’re calling the bandit signs are going to the REI meetings, make sure you’re putting your own eyes on it, sending your own pictures to your buyers so that they know you have a vested interest in this because it was you actually at that property. One thing that I always do is I’ll always include the corner of my trunk or the corner of my hood in the street view of the property. If a buyer might think I haven’t been out there all they have to do is look at the pictures and you’re going to see my vehicle in the pictures. That proves to them that I actually went out there, took the time to go see this property that I’m trying to sell them instead of taking somebody’s word for it. That, hey, there’s only $20,000 worth of repairs needed but then when that buyer goes over there looks at it, it turns into $40,000 worth of repairs. It’s not going to get you very far in this business.
Another way that you can find these sellers is to post in groups on Facebook. I don’t really think it’s a good idea to post pictures like your bandit signs. There is a better way post. Your group administrators are more likely to leave your post up if you say, I’m looking to buy a house in this city or this area. If you know of any that are for sale by owner, please send me a message or give me the the address in the comments. If you keep it more under the radar, you’re more likely to get more people coming towards you versus getting your post removed. You getting banned from the group because you’re doing unsolicited advertising in these groups is likely. A lot of admins don’t want that. So, like I said, I would just say, Hey, I’m looking to buy a house and such and such area, if you If you know of any you know, please feel free to message me if you want to put your phone number on there and tell somebody to call or text. You know that’s not a bad idea either, because now you at least have a a way that you can follow up with someone instead of just constantly having messages in Messenger. You’ve also got the Facebook marketplace. You’re probably going to find a lot of wholesalers on the marketplace. Sometimes you’ll actually find for sale by owner. But it’s also another another way to where you can build relationships with other professionals in your area so you can kind of attach yourself to some deals if they’re willing to work with you and you can build that relationship. You always have to be careful of the information you’re getting and the representations that are being made because again, if someone doesn’t have control of that deal and you have someone on the line that wants to buy it or go look at it, it’s going to make you look bad. And then that’s in turn, going to have investors that stop wasting time with you because that’s really all their doing. You send him a deal, but you can’t deliver on it. Your reputation and their trust in you starts to diminish so you can’t actually maximize that relationship with a buyer anymore.
This way does cost a little bit of money, but it’s it’s really gas. I know a lot of people say drive for dollars. That is one way because you can drive around. You can find these houses that looks like somebody hasn’t cut the grass or has boards on the windows. There’s something going on with that house that makes you think that it’s not being maintained. When you’re driving around you’re looking at a mailbox number so you just write down that address, right? I would always tell you to take a picture of it. So whenever you get back, you go to your courthouse records. This is free. Then you find out the mailing address in the owner’s name, just based on the courthouse records. You have the picture you took so you open up Microsoft Word and then you have a letter already pre-written. All you’re doing is typing in the address and putting that picture that you took in the letter now. I wouldn’t say, we’re ready to buy houses fast. If you’re going to send a letter and put a real stamp on it, I would probably say in that letter a similar context of what you did in the Facebook groups. I was driving around the other day and I saw your house. I’ve been looking for a house in this area to buy. Would you be interested in selling? If so, please give me a call. I’d love to speak with you about it. Leave it at that. Don’t come off all used car salesman in these type letters. You’ll have better results if you approach it in that way because everyone else is sending the postcards that sound like a used car salesman. When they get something that is professional, maybe company letterhead, something like that with your address and phone number. Please give me a call. I’d like to discuss it with you. They don’t have anything to lose by calling you now. So that’s one way. If cost you gas and a stamp. It’s really this easy.
Another way is Zillow. This is an avenue that a lot of people currently work. So your results may or may not be that good. A lot of it depends on your approach to it. How you relate to someone that you get on the phone. Zillow will give you the phone number of who you need to get in contact with. You don’t really have to do that much work. You already have an asking price sitting in front of you. So you can kind of tell if it’s doable, or am I gonna have to really work to get them down on their price? One thing that I always look at what I’m looking at Zillow is how long has it been on the market. If it hasn’t been there very long, they’re not likely to drop the price a lot just to give you the deal. But if it’s been on there for a little while, six months or more, they’ve had enough people come through by this time to say, I’ll give you $80,000 for your $150,000 house. They can’t get the offer that their wanting. They start to get defeated in their own mind because they think to themselves, I was positive my house was worth $150,000 but all I really seem to be getting is $80,00. Well, when you take that into account with the seller, you’re not necessarily going in as a used car salesman. Again, you want to build that relationship. Be easy with, let them kind of come to you, so to speak, because they’ve already had enough people beat them up with these low offers. In your own mind what they’re offering may actually be the right offer, but in their mind, it’s a low offer. So when you go in, after all this time, people have beat him down enough. What you need to be doing is, Mr Seller, I feel your pain. I know where you’re at. You know, a lot of people are coming out here giving you an $80,000 to $100,000 offer. I would love to be able to give you more, but I’ve gotta be able to keep the doors open to my business. So if you’ve got $150,000 house, you know, fixed, I’ve got to be able to make a little money on it. I don’t have to get rich on your property, but I’ve got to be able to make money so that I could keep my doors open of the business. When you come at a seller in that way, they’re going to relax their guard and start to kind of trust you. Then it’ll surprise you with the amount of deals that you get with that because everyone else is coming there treating them like a number. Well, I could give you this. Here’s 24 hours. Let me know. Treat someone like a person and you’ll have better results.
Another way is bordering on the ethical line. If you get online every day, make a list. Read obituaries. Do not send a letter two days after someone has passed. That is very poor taste. Make a note of it and two weeks to a month after send that same letter that you sent to someone when you were driving around. I’ve been looking for a house in this area. I was online the other day and saw Mr. Smith passed. I’m sorry for your loss. Is there a possibility that you will be selling the house? But before you consider sending that letter, you need to go to the courthouse to find out if they actually own the house. The advantage of this is when you’re reading an obituary, you get the people that you need to address because it’s going to tell you they’re survived by a wife, children, whoever may be next in line that’s going to make the decision. So now you have an idea of who you need to be talking to. So instead of writing heirs of John Smith now you can write to Tammy Smith. People search the white pages. You’ll be able to see who was related to this person. It’ll give you some kind of address, and now you can send a letter directly to Tammy. Now, if you have to send other letters to the people that were listed online, that’s fine, because it might cost you $4 maybe five, to send out a couple of different letters that went directly to that person that they survived. When you were sending that letter, you basically say, if you were the one that’s going to be in charge of the estate, I know it’s going to take a little while to get your affairs in order but if you do happen to sell the house like I said, I’m looking to buy a house in the area. So please consider me and get in touch. When you send it, let it go for a month or two, send them another letter. I haven’t heard from you. I’m still interested in buying a house in the area if you’re interested in selling. If you’re not interested in selling, please call or text me and let me know and I will stop sending you letters because I know this is a difficult time for you. If you do that, a lot of times you wind up getting surprise deals that you weren’t even expected.
The other borderline ethical way are wholesalers running ads on Facebook. I’m not saying in any ways to contact people that are commenting on these ads. If you see a comment that says, hey, they were great, enjoyed working with you. Leave that person alone. But when you see a comment that says, Yeah, you’re only gonna give me 30 cents on the dollar for my house, you’re a scoundrel or vulture, whatever you want to call it. Okay, that’s the one that we need to get in touch with. They’ve already had a bad experience with whoever this is, and that’s just low hanging fruit. So if you’re sitting there in your area, the national chains, they’re running ads in every market. So if you sit there and see these negative comments send a personal message to them. I saw your comment on such and such buys houses, we offer fair prices. We’re not like them as far as 30 cents on the dollar. You’ll get deals that way because people do actually want to sell their house. They’ve interacted with this company and didn’t have a good experience. So now they’re looking for someone to have a good experience with. I’ll leave that up to you whether you want to do it that way. But when you see these ads and you see these people making negative comments on those ads, that business has already been lost because of the experience they had, so blame it on the business. Blame it on the homeowner. There might have been a misunderstanding. Regardless, it’s there, and they’re ready to sell something. They’re mad. They want somebody to treat them like a person so you step in and treat him like a person and see if you can’t get that deal. Another place that you can go and a lot of people do go to these are estate sales. You can sometimes find deals this way. A lot of people missed these deals because they show up, here’s my business card. I’m to buy. These people are letting go years worth of sentimental memories. So when you go in there Hey, we buy houses. You give me a call. Can I have your phone number email address? Let me buy your house from you. I’ll give you, you know, $15,000 for $100,000 house. More than likely, they’re going to kick you right off the property. So what I always do when I go to these is have a normal conversation with them. Act like I’m interested in something that’s there. See if I can’t negotiate with them on that item because in some ways I’m practicing. I’m learning how they negotiate. They’re learning how I negotiate but they don’t realize it. So let’s say that there’s a recliner there for $200. I’ll tell them I’d really like to have it, but I don’t have a big enough car to get it. So I have to rent a truck to be able to do it, which is going to cost me money. So would you sell it to me for $50 and more than likely, they’re going to say no. But in the event they do say yes then now you need to get it. That offered you some clues as how they’re going to negotiate with the house. If they were willing to come off $150 for the recliner and they understood the fact that you’re going to have to rent a truck and it’s going to cost you more money now to be able to purchase this, now that $50 plus the rental of the truck correlates to buying the house doing renovations. So now you realize that they understand how things financially work in to a decision. So, you know, as you’re having this conversation, it could come up what do you do for a living. I’m an investor. I buy houses around the area. If you were interested in possibly selling it to me. When open the probate, I’ll be glad to look at it then. You say I have a card in the car. Let me go grab it for you. When you do that, you say, would you mind if I got your name and phone number and gave you a call in a month or two to see, just to remind you, in case you lose my card to see if you’re ready to sell then. I’ll be glad to come back out here then and and look at it once everything is kind of cleaned out and get a better idea of what we’re working with. And you’ve had a little time to process the passing off your father, your brother, your mom, whoever it may be. You’re not as emotionally attached or because you’re going through the house. Now you’ve had the estate sale. You’ve taken what you wanted to your house. Everybody’s divided things up we’ve processed our emotions. So now it’s time to move on. That’s when you go back and get the deal. You do not get the deal showing up, hey I’m an Investor – here’s my card. Call me if you want to sell the house. You’re just being a used car salesman. And when somebody is dealing with the emotional loss of someone passing that they loved, they’re probably just going to run you out. Never call you again. So you’re just wasting your time. There’s a way to approach these things that we’ll get you the deals. And there’s a way to approach these things that will get you kicked out of somebody’s house.
Another place that you could go that’s similar to an estate sale is a garage sale. A lot of people don’t realize people may not actually be ready to sell a house but having a garage sale, but they’re decluttering. So a lot of times when people are having garage sales, it’s getting the clutter out, and then all the sudden, okay, let’s figure out if we just want to sell it directly to somebody or let’s figure out if we want to put it on the market and fix some things. So you take the same approach going to a garage sale that you do going to an estate sale. The only difference is they are decluttering. They’re not going through the emotional loss of someone but you still take the same approach, hey, I’m looking at this recliner. I’ve got to get a truck. Hey, were you thinking about selling? Is that why you’re having a garage sale and see what they say. Well, I’m a local investor. I’ve been looking for a house over in this area, but I go to garage sales on Saturday just for the fun of it. Here’s my card. Would you mind giving me your phone number? In a couple of weeks I’ll give you a phone call to see if you talk to your husband to figure out if you want a list it with an agent or if you want to sell directly and be done with it without all of the showings and things like that. You’ll have a lot of people that will sell you the house with that approach.
They’re all these ways that we have gone over here. There are more ways to find houses that are free ways. Very inexpensive ways to find houses. But what it really comes down to is your approach, how you approach the buyers at the REI meetings, the wholesalers at the REI meetings. What you do when you call the bandit signs, how you treat a seller when you’re in front of them. Do you do you show them empathy for what they’re going through? Or are you going in there and being used car salesman? That’s the difference of getting the good deal versus just getting a deal. When someone is relating to you, they begin to like you. They’re more inclined to help you because you’re helping them. They’re looking at you like he didn’t care about me if you are a used car salesman. If you take my last deal that I did for example, I actually had a lady bring money to the closing table because I was trying to help her tenant. I was trying to help her. We related. We had enough conversations over time I wound up finding out that she had gone to my grandparent’s gas station over the years because she grew up basically a mile from my grandparent’s gas station. When you make those kind of relationship builders, people will give you a better deal. I didn’t rip this lady off, and I didn’t make a lot of money because I felt bad for her. She had to bring money to the closing table, but I was still able to get the deal. And even though she had to bring some money to the closing table, she no longer has the stress, the headache, or things associated with that house because she’s out of state and it’s hard for her to manage it now. She’s getting to the point where she’s ready to retire and she doesn’t want it in her life. So when you relate to people, they’re more inclined to help you because you’re helping them. They feel like you’ve built a relationship with them. So it’s easier to get those deals.
With that I’m going to draw to a close. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Remember to go back and listen to the How to Find Sellers episode because when you put that episode with this episode, it should give you enough to get started in this business as far as the relationship building aspect of it. How to find both sides of it because you’re going to need the sellers, and you’re going to need the buyers to be able to complete the peanut butter and jelly sandwich so you could make money. But just remember, do not get your deal closed and go, I’ve got $5,000 to market. In another month you’re going to be right back to where you were, and you’re gonna ask yourself, why am I here? Make the grind for the 1st 6 months to a year in this business to learn how to hunt to find things, and you will be more successful because when you do get to the point where you start outsourcing and you and you can’t necessarily just boot strap your business, now you know enough that you’re going to be able to guide them in the right direction Then you’re going to be able to grow your business because every good boss knows how to do every single job in that company. So if you’re just sitting there throwing things against the wall to see if they stick, you’re not going to have a foundation to be able to explain to someone down the road. This is why I want you doing this. It’s not going to help your business in the long run. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. We’ll be back next week with the a different topic to help you grow your business. If you want to learn more about how to grow the business, the business aspects of it, you can visit EarlToms.com. Until next week. Thanks again for listening.