Ways To Find Real Estate Investment Deals - Houses To Flip

5 Super Cheap Ways To Get Deals

Danny Johnson / 12 comments

The deals are out there in abundance. They really are. Boat loads of them. I’ve seen a lot of new investors do just a little marketing and throw their hands up and exclaim, “THIS DOESN’T WORK! Why would anyone want to sell their house at such a big discount?” There are hundreds of reasons, but we don’t need to figure them all out.

Don’t get bogged down in trying to figure out why. Start getting them to call you and tell you why.

Here are 5 proven, cost-effective ways to get the home sellers to call you:

  • Drive For Dollars

    Drive neighborhoods where you want to invest and look for vacant houses. The best ones are the ones that look like they have been vacant for a while with overgrown and trashed out yards, peeling paint and broken windows. You really want the eyesores. The neighbors will be glad to give you the contact information for the owner if they have it, as they are tired of living next to that hunk of junk.

    A lot of counties will red tag the electric meter if the utilities are off. Look for those. Most counties have the name and address of the owner (or whoever is receiving the tax bill) of the property.
    Send them a handwritten letter on yellow pad paper that says the following:

    Dear [insert owner name],
    My name is [your name]. My wife and I were driving around [neighborhood name here] and noticed your house at [enter address here]. We are looking to buy investment properties in the area and would like to buy that house. If you would like to sell, please call us today, as we are only buying a couple of houses. We can pay cash.
    Your Name and Number

    Mail it in a personal-sized envelope that is hand addressed (very important!) and stamped (not metered).

  • Wholesalers

    Wholesalers are an awesome way to get deals. Why not benefit from leveraging other people’s marketing? Don’t automatically assume that they all ask too much and there is not enough room in their deals. Some wholesalers consistently provide spectacular deals and those are the ones worth finding. They are out there. While you are rehabbing and making money, they are finding more deals for you. Spend time at your local REIAs (Real Estate Investment Associations) and calling other investors. Look for those wholesalers and get to know them personally. Have lunch. Get the deals.

  • REO Realtors

    We all know, or at least should know, REO Realtors have some of the best deals. I particularly find that I can get great deals that usually require fewer repairs than ones I buy directly from homeowners. This is huge if you value your time.

    The key to working with REO Realtors is building a relationship with them. You have to understand that they get tons of calls daily from investors asking them to tip them off to the good deals. I amazed at how many investors just assume that these Realtors just love to hear from them.

    “You can pay cash? WOW! [rolls eyes]“


    Figure that out and you can set yourself up to not have to look for very many deals on your own. Here’s a tip: do things for them that others do not bother to or even think to do. Things like offering to have your contractor change locks for them or clean out a house for them. Take donuts (or whatever they like) to their office for them and their staff. Constantly stay in touch without being a pest. You get the idea. Don’t be one of those other thousand clones that will never hear from the Realtor.

  • Business Cards/Money Cards

    1,000 full-color business cards for $20 (single-sided business cards). These things are sooooo cheap. If you don’t have them, you should not be in business. Get some bright yellow folding business cards that have your message and what you do. “We Buy Houses CASH” works. Use it. Don’t spend a week procrastinating because you haven’t figured out the best message. Tell them you will close fast and buy ‘As-Is’. Let them know that you are personally involved. No hassles.

    Distribute, distribute, distribute. Leave those buggers everywhere you go. Give them to people you meet. Let the word spread.

    You should also try those fake money cards. They are great. Here’s what mine look like:
    Marketing Cards For Flipping Houses
    You can get them here: DollarCardMarketing.com. (aff link)

  • Code Compliance

    This is another profoundly awesome way to get deals if you can pull it off. Try to get in touch with code compliance officers for your area and see if it is possible to get a list of properties that have code compliance complaints against them. In most places this may be hard to do because the city does not want to get into hot water (i.e., legal trouble) for giving out this information. In some areas, they are more than willing to give you a list. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Another place to look is your local legal notice newspaper. Sometimes these will list properties that have code compliance issues. Once you get the addresses, try to contact the owners. If you can’t get a hold of them by mail or phone number search, go and talk to the neighbors. As a last resort, or just to save time, hire a skip tracer.

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12 awesome responses to “5 Super Cheap Ways To Get Deals”

  1. Ronald Starr on

    Danny Johnson–TX——————

    I like what you have done here. I think that it could really benefit a lot of people who see it.

    Your ideas seems realistic and probably productive.

    I do think that your solitication letter could use some improvement. One of the basic lessons I learned from reading a few books on direct market copywriting is that the message should focus on the recipient, not you, the sender. So one
    measure I use is the number of “I,” “me,” “we,” and “mine” words compared to the number of “you,” “yours,” and “your” words. The first set should be much lower than the latter. My solicitation postcard has a ratio of something like 7 “I-me-etc.” to 28 “you-etc.” or something like that.

    Here is a quick first cut about the direction I think you might want to consider for your letter.
    I think the length is about the same as your missive.

    Dear [insert owner name],

    Would you like to easily and quickly sell your property at [enter address here]? If you would be willing to sell for all cash my wife and I would like to buy from you. You can get immediate payment or, if you would prefer, steady monthly payment checks in your mailbox. If you would consider selling either this property or another one you own, please call today. You will get our no-nonsence offer and you are under no further obligation.
    Your Name and Number
    P.S. If you don’t want to consider selling now, please keep this letter safely with your property papers, so if you want to sell later, you will have it.

    Count now: 2 “I-me-etc.” to 13 “you-etc.”

    Good Investing, Posting, and Blogging********Ron Starr*********

    1. Kristine-CA on

      Good to see Ron Starr’s comments here. Ron helped me about 10 years ago with this same issue. My marketing letter had too many I’s. He shared his marketing postcard and pointed out the you vs. I/we. To this day whenever I revamp my message or add some tidbit I go through and look at how to say it with more “you” and less “I/we”. My marketing is usually pretty targeted and my letters get anywhere from a 5-10% response rate. I’m preparing additional marketing materials this very day, as well as a website for sellers. This reminder couldn’t come at a better time.

      Thanks for sharing your marketing. It’s great to see what’s working for others. You’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog that you don’t prefer the absentee owner mailings because they aren’t targeted enough. Where I am I can get very targeted lists, some for free, some for reasonable prices. I’m curious what’s in the way of your absentee owner mailings being more targeted. I can get it down to year of house, amount of equity, tax default or no, last sale date, etc.

  2. Mathew on

    New investors, which includes me, have no excuses now. Thanks for the list, Danny.

  3. Kobus on


    Like what you’re doing here and just got a list of absentee owners that I’m starting to mail this week. I like the short version you had in the post and would probably use something similar.

    Great advice here!

  4. Stephen on

    Hey Danny, here I am again. I definitely want to use dollarcardmaketing for my “buying” business cards. I think that they would work great. Where did you get yours. You said 1000 for $20. Thanks

  5. Romao on

    How can I find the listing of properties that have Code Violations in my City . Please Help Me…