#6. Find Houses Not Yet For Sale
Have you ever walked past a home that looked to be in complete disarray? The lawn is a foot high, there are weeds growing everywhere, and there might even be boards on the windows. This house is screaming, “Buy me for a deal!” The only problem is, there is no For Sale sign in the front yard, so how can you get in touch with these people to see if they want to sell their house?
Every home owner pays property taxes, which means that every house has registered information with the city where it resides. All you have to do is:
punch the address of the home into your city’s database
click on the parcel number next to the address
and find the name of the owner (as well as many other interesting facts about the property)
This can easily be done with any property that interests you. From here, you can either send a hand-written letter to the address listed in the database (sometimes the owner has a different address than the actual home that you spotted), you can walk up to the property and try to speak with the owner, or you can find their home phone number through the white pages (since you now have their full name). They might not be at all interested in selling their home, but for the ones that have considered it, they might just give you a screaming deal so they don’t have to mess with a listing, a realtor, or the price haggling. This might just be your ticket to finding a deal on real estate.
#7. Visit the Pre-Foreclosures
This option will take some major guts, and to be honest, I’ve never done this. But, when you look at homes on Zillow or Trulia, you have probably already seen homes that are listed as a pre-foreclosure, which means that they probably missed a payment and are trying to catch up to remain current with their bank. Some of these pre-foreclosure listings may be a complete mistake and others could already be resolved, but a handful of them might be drowning in missed payments and are looking for a way out.
The best way to approach a pre-foreclosure owner is to knock on the door, mention that you love their home, and ask if they’ve ever thought about selling. You really never need to tell them that they’re nearing foreclosure if you don’t want to – they probably know that already and they might be thrilled to see you, a potential buyer, that could free them from their current nightmare. This might just be your ticket to find a deal on real estate. It’s never easy, but it’s certainly an effective option.
#8. Look For What Could Be
A house may be listed as a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath and priced accordingly, but could it be more? There are quite a few 1.5 story homes in my area that are listed as a 2 bedroom home – one on the main level and the upper area is a large master. But, instead of a large master bedroom upstairs, many times these upper areas can easily be converted into two bedrooms, which quickly turns the home into a 3 bedroom home. The same is true for bathrooms. Perhaps that half bath can pretty easily be converted into a full bath, thus creating a much more valuable home.
With this option, you aren’t necessarily getting a deal on real estate when you purchase it, but you can pretty easily transform it into a much more valuable home, thus creating equity soon after you sign the deal.
find a deal on real estate#9. Get a Quality Inspector
The typical home inspector walks through a house and lets you know what’s not up to par with it. They hand you the paperwork for your review, and their job is done (as they hold out their hand for their $300). This type of home inspector is a dime a dozen. Avoid them. They aren’t worth the money.
What you want is a home inspector that will ensure that you’re getting a deal on real estate. Not only should they be pointing out potential hazards in the home, but they should also provide solutions and the likely cost for these solutions. Find a home inspector like this and you’ll be more likely to find a deal on real estate as you’ll be aware of all the issues and future costs of bringing the house back to code.
#10. Flash Some Cash
Finally, you can more easily find a deal on real estate if you have some cash to flash. Since it still isn’t easy for many to get approved for a loan, sellers that know you have cash are more likely to flex on the price (since they know the deal will go through, and will go through more quickly and smoothly than someone that has to dicker with the bank for the money). When you’re ready to make an offer, simply let the seller know that it’s a cash offer. Even though your bid might be slightly lower than someone else’s, it might just be selected, which means you’ll get yourself a deal!