Find Houses and Locate Prospects
Let’s talk about how to find houses and locate good prospects.
What’s a good prospect? It’s a vacant house in an area where houses are selling, where there’s pride of ownership. The lawns are kept up nice, the house is already in nice shape, and even though you might not be willing to live there yourself, others will. Thinking like this is important, regardless of your exit strategy, which we will cover later.
What are some causes of houses ending up vacant and neglected?
- Transfer and unable to sell before going
- Burned out landlord
- Behind on payments
- Job loss
- Property tax delinquent
- Failing health
- Move to new house
- Out-of-state heirs
- Military transfer
- Bank owned
- Expired realtor listing
- And many, many more
Whatever the reason, vacant houses are usually obvious when you’re looking at them. You will see the signs of neglect, vandalism, etc. If you’re in a northern climate, snow in the driveway could be an indication that the house is vacant. You’ll see through the house from the front window to the rear and you’ll see there’s no furniture in the house.
Boarded up houses in the right areas are excellent prospects. In many cases they have been condemned by local code enforcement. Go to the code enforcement office in your area on a regular basis and ask about condemned houses with the owners are not responding. A list of those houses could be worth a fortune to you.
Other signs of vacant houses include grass that is 3 feet tall, newspapers that are piled up on the driveway or on the front porch, no blinds in the windows, meters that are missing, grass that is burnt, ( although you have to be careful that the sprinkler system is not broken). These are all signs that the house is vacant.
To find houses, it’s not easy and you also need to be careful because some vacant houses are actually just not in use at the moment. For example, if you are prospecting in a retirement area, especially in southern areas where there are 'snowbirds' who stay for four or five months, they will eventually come home again. The house may appear vacant but in reality it’s just not in use at the moment.
If you’re not sure though that house is vacant, stop and knock on the door. If no one answers you could take a quick peek in the window to see if it’s occupied. If someone does answer the door, simply hand them your business card and let them know you might be interested in buying the house. You never know what good might come from that.
One quick little tip – war zones are not a good area for you to focus on unless you plan to wholesale. We will discuss the strategy later. There’s one opportunity in war zones and that’s to tie them up so cheap that the landlords can’t refuse them. I recommend you stay away from war zones until you have cut your teeth on safer deals first. Then, when you are more experienced you may want to dabble in war zones if that excites you. I stay away and have since the beginning. There are just too many other good opportunities out there for me to fool around with that junk.
Driving Neighborhoods Is The “Thing Of The Past"
Driving neighborhoods in search of overgrown lawns and piles of old newspapers on the doorsteps is NOW the “thing of the past". Thanks to our new product, the Vacant House Data Feed, you can now relax from the comfort of your desk to search ANY market in the US for *verified vacant properties. Imagine all the time and energy that will be saved from being able to complete an advance filtered search of vacant houses in any zip code in the country with a couple clicks of the mouse.
Let’s just say this...vacant houses are gold mines! Most owners of vacant houses are motivated in any of a number of ways, even if only mildly – but they are motivated none the less: property taxes, insurance, weather, liability and the “3 V’s”, vermin, vagrants and vandals, are certainly chief among a huge list of potential motivating factors. Motivated sellers means a CHEAP selling price. This will give you more room (more profit) when selling the property to a buyer or rehabber.
Click here for more details on the Vacant House Data Feed.