Locating that perfect home can waste a lot of your precious time. Sole dependance on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in your community can be frustrating. Listings get snatched up quickly by investors before you ever see them or they’re already at market average price.
Let’s look at some innovative ways to find profitable fix/flip opportunities in case you need to look for sources to locate homes before they enter the listing service.
For Sale by Owner
Keep your eyes open, especially if you are currently flipping houses in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Homeowners who don’t want to give up a percentage of their sale price in commissions sometimes will have under-market values on their homes.
More often these days, homeowners are turning to the Internet to advertise their own homes for sale.These homes might be advertised in the local newspaper or shopper, where the classified ads are free. Places such as Craigslist or Zillow will have “for sale by owner” listings, but you can rest assured the competition is watching all of these sites as well.
Google is your Friend
The internet is still a good source for searching for properties. Here you can get a head’s up by getting notifications when new listings are added.
One site designed just for the fix-and-flip business is FixFlip.com, which offers nearly 80,000 property listings nationwide, including a growing section of off-market listings. FixFlip uses a proprietary algorithm to filter through the clutter and find those listings that would offer the most profit for flippers. The site allows you to save searches and tag potential homes. You can register for a free account.
Websites such as Zillow and Trulia offer many useful features, but typically are targeted for owner-occupied homebuyers. With a heavy emphasis on mortgage and decorating, you’ll have to wade through all the offerings to evaluate their potential.
Monitor Probate Court
Probate cases must be published in the local newspaper to alert any unknown creditors. You can contact the executor to learn if a home might be involved. If you can get in an offer before the court case is completed, the family may be willing to sell for a low figure to avoid the hassles of listing and selling the home.
Families often are left with a home they are eager to be rid of when a parent or grandparent dies. These properties frequently must go through probate court before the family can sell, to ensure all of the deceased’s creditors are paid.
Be Aware of Rentals
It can’t hurt to contact the owner to see if they are interested in selling. They might be tired of being a landlord or maybe they were just renting the house because they weren’t up to the challenge of fixing up the house to put it on the market.
Work Your Network
You might not want to wait on MLS listings and search every corner of the internet if you or someone you know has first access to the service. Make sure your friends, family, and colleagues know that you are looking for houses. This includes your friends, your neighbors, but especially your banker or any friends you have in the real estate business.
If you’re still searching for that perfect house to get into the flipping business, or if you have already found that gem, contact Center Street Lending to learn how we can help with financing your project.