10 Proven Ways to Find Real Estate Deals in 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, finding the best deals requires both traditional methods and new-age strategies.

As 2023 unfolds, the quest for prime real estate opportunities demands a mix of networking, technology, and market insight. Dive in as we uncover the top 10 proven ways to pinpoint those sought-after real estate deals this year.

1. Driving For Dollars

What is it?
“Driving for dollars” is a strategy where investors physically drive through neighborhoods to identify potential distressed or undervalued properties as investment opportunities.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Scout Target Areas: Focus on transitional neighborhoods or those showing signs of growth.
  2. Identify Signs of Distress: Look for properties with visible neglect, such as overgrown lawns, peeling paint, or boarded windows.
  3. Document Details: Record addresses and notable property features, either in a notebook or a mobile app tailored for real estate.
  4. Research Ownership: Using local property tax websites or courthouse records, determine the current property owner.
  5. Reach Out: Initiate contact by sending a personalized letter or making a phone call expressing your interest in buying.

Realistic Expectations:
While driving for dollars is a proactive approach, not every property will be a golden opportunity. Many leads might not result in a deal, but regular scouting can lead to valuable finds over time.

Pro Tips:

  • Utilize apps like DealMachine. These tools can streamline your efforts, allowing you to snap photos, pull up property details, and even send direct mail pieces instantly.
  • Personalization is key. When reaching out to property owners, tailor your message to show genuine interest and build rapport.

2. Direct Mail Marketing

What is it?
Direct mail marketing involves sending targeted physical mail—like postcards, letters, or flyers—to potential property sellers. It’s a strategy that aims to reach owners who might be considering selling, even if their property isn’t listed.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Define Your Target Audience: Are you seeking distressed properties, absentee owners, or properties in a specific location?
  2. Obtain a Mailing List: Purchase a list tailored to your criteria from providers like ListSource or PropStream, or compile one yourself using public records.
  3. Design Your Mailer: Create an attention-grabbing postcard or letter. Make sure your message is clear and compels the reader to take action. You can use our mailers here at Ballpoint Marketing.
  4. Send and Track: Mail your pieces, and track responses to gauge the effectiveness of different messages or designs.
  5. Follow Up: If someone responds, follow up promptly. If they don’t, consider sending another mailer in a few weeks.

Realistic Expectations:
The response rate for direct mail can vary, often falling between 0.5% to 2%. While this might seem low, a well-targeted campaign to the right audience can yield quality leads. Consistency in sending and following up can improve results over time.

Pro Tips:

  • Personalize your mailers when possible. Addressing the recipient by name can increase engagement. And use handwritten mailers.
  • Always test and refine. Send different versions of your mail to different segments to identify what works best.
  • Quality over quantity. It’s often better to send fewer, more personalized letters than a mass generic mailing.

3. Facebook Ads

What is it?
Facebook Ads is a digital advertising platform that allows users to target specific demographics and interests on Facebook and Instagram. For real estate, it’s a method to reach potential sellers, buyers, or investors based on various criteria such as location, behaviors, or interests.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Set Your Objective: Decide whether you want to attract potential sellers, buyers, or just generate awareness about your real estate services.
  2. Choose Your Audience: Use Facebook’s detailed targeting options. You can target based on demographics, location, interests, and even behaviors.
  3. Design Your Ad: Use high-quality images of properties or engaging graphics. Craft a compelling headline and concise ad copy.
  4. Set Budget and Schedule: Decide how much you want to spend daily or over the life of the ad campaign.
  5. Analyze and Optimize: After your ad runs for a bit, review its performance in Facebook Ads Manager. Adjust targeting, budget, or ad design based on results.

Realistic Expectations:
While Facebook Ads can reach a vast audience, the real estate market is competitive. Engagement might take time, and it’s essential to keep tweaking your strategy based on ad performance data.

Pro Tips:

  • Use retargeting features to show ads to people who have previously visited your website or engaged with your content.
  • Utilize Facebook’s carousel ads to showcase multiple properties or different aspects of a single property.
  • Always include a clear call to action, guiding viewers on the next steps, whether it’s visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or getting in touch.

4. In-Person Marketing

What is it?
In-person marketing involves face-to-face interactions to promote your real estate services or properties. This can encompass attending networking events, hosting open houses, setting up booths at local fairs, or directly engaging with community members.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Identify Opportunities: Scout for local events, trade shows, community fairs, or networking meet-ups relevant to real estate or your target audience.
  2. Prepare Your Materials: Have business cards, brochures, or flyers ready. They should be professional and provide essential details about your services.
  3. Engage Actively: Don’t just attend – participate. Whether it’s asking questions at a seminar, introducing yourself to attendees, or setting up a consultation booth, be proactive.
  4. Host Your Own Events: Organize workshops, seminars, or informational sessions about the local real estate market, offering value to attendees.
  5. Follow-Up: After meeting potential leads, send them a thank-you note, email, or even a phone call to nurture that relationship.

Realistic Expectations:
Face-to-face interactions often lead to stronger relationships, but building trust and rapport takes time. Not every interaction will immediately translate into a deal, but consistent networking can expand your contact base significantly.

Pro Tips:

  • Always listen more than you speak. Understand the needs and concerns of potential clients or partners.
  • Wear a name tag or branded apparel to increase visibility and recognition at events.
  • Consider collaborating with related industries (e.g., mortgage brokers, interior designers) for co-hosted events, offering attendees more value.

5. Cold Calling

What is it?
Cold calling is the practice of reaching out to potential leads over the phone without prior contact. In real estate, this typically involves contacting potential property sellers, buyers, or investors based on gathered or purchased lists.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Build or Acquire a List: Compile a list of potential leads from public records, or purchase one from reputable sources specializing in real estate contacts.
  2. Craft Your Script: Develop a concise and compelling script that introduces who you are, the purpose of your call, and a clear value proposition.
  3. Set Up a Call Schedule: Dedicate specific hours in your day or week for cold calling. Consistency is key.
  4. Make the Calls: Engage with potential leads, follow your script but be prepared to adjust based on the conversation’s direction.
  5. Track and Follow-Up: Keep records of each call, noting the outcome and any important details. For positive responses, follow up promptly with additional information or next steps.

Realistic Expectations:
Cold calling can be challenging, with many calls not resulting in a positive outcome. Expect a low conversion rate, but remember that persistence and refining your approach can yield better results over time.

Pro Tips:

  • Stay compliant with telemarketing regulations, including the Do Not Call registry. Ensure you’re not reaching out to those who’ve opted out.
  • Handle rejections gracefully. Not every call will be welcomed, but always remain professional.
  • Use call analytics tools or CRM systems to track your calls and gain insights into peak calling times or strategies that yield better responses.

6. Browse Expired Listings

What is it?
Expired listings refer to properties that were listed on the market but did not sell within the contract period with a real estate agent. Targeting these can be an effective strategy, as owners might be motivated to sell after their listing failed the first time.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS): To view expired listings, you need access to the MLS, which is typically reserved for real estate professionals.
  2. Filter and Search: Set your criteria and search for expired listings in your target areas or price range.
  3. Research the Property: Before making contact, research the property to understand why it might not have sold. Consider factors like pricing, condition, and location.
  4. Reach Out: Initiate contact with the property owner. This can be through a phone call, letter, or even a visit. Express your interest and offer solutions.
  5. Track and Document: Keep records of each property and the interactions you have. Note any insights or feedback from owners.

Realistic Expectations:
Some property owners might be frustrated or disheartened after their listing expired, so approach with empathy. While many might not be immediately receptive, a respectful and value-driven outreach can lead to opportunities.

Pro Tips:

  • When reaching out, always offer value, whether it’s market insights, a different sales strategy, or even potential solutions for property improvement.
  • Build relationships with real estate agents who can provide insights or direct introductions to owners of expired listings.
  • Utilize tools or software that can automate the process of finding and tracking expired listings for better efficiency.

7. Work With Wholesalers

What is it?
Wholesalers are individuals or entities that get properties under contract and then sell that contract to an end buyer for a higher price, without actually purchasing the property themselves. Partnering with wholesalers can be an effective way to find off-market deals, as they often have a pipeline of properties they’re looking to move quickly.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Identify Local Wholesalers: Start by networking at real estate investment clubs or searching online forums and platforms like BiggerPockets.
  2. Establish Your Criteria: Let wholesalers know what types of properties you’re interested in, from location to size and price range.
  3. Build Relationships: Like any business relationship, trust and communication are key. Regularly check in and provide feedback on the deals they send your way.
  4. Review Deals: When a wholesaler presents a deal, analyze it quickly. Wholesaled properties often move fast due to their nature.
  5. Negotiate and Purchase: If a deal aligns with your criteria, negotiate the terms and finalize the purchase.

Realistic Expectations:
Wholesaled properties can often come at a discount, but it’s essential to do thorough due diligence. The speed at which these deals move means there might be less time for comprehensive inspections or evaluations.

Pro Tips:

  • Always factor in potential repair costs. Wholesaled properties often require some level of rehab.
  • Develop a system for quickly evaluating deals, so you can make informed decisions in a short timeframe.
  • While it’s essential to build good relationships with wholesalers, diversify your sources to ensure a consistent flow of opportunities.

8. Check Out The Auctions

What is it?
Auctions are public sales where properties are sold to the highest bidder. They can be a source of potential deals, especially properties that are foreclosed, bank-owned, or in distress.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Identify Auction Platforms: There are several types of auctions, including local courthouse auctions, online platforms like Auction.com, or larger national events.
  2. Research Properties in Advance: Before the auction day, properties are usually listed for preview. Research them, check for liens, and estimate potential repair costs.
  3. Secure Financing: Many auctions require immediate payment or a sizeable deposit upon winning. Ensure your finances are in order, and be aware of the payment terms.
  4. Attend and Bid: Be present at the auction (or online) and bid on properties that fit your criteria. Stick to your budget and avoid getting caught in bidding wars.
  5. Finalize the Purchase: Once you’ve won a property, follow the necessary steps to finalize the sale and take ownership.

Realistic Expectations:
While auctions can offer properties at below-market values, there’s often a higher degree of risk involved. Many properties come “as-is,” and there may be limited opportunities for thorough inspections.

Pro Tips:

  • Attend a few auctions without bidding to get a feel for the process and dynamics.
  • Consider partnering with an experienced investor or agent familiar with the auction process for your first few bids.
  • Always account for potential hidden costs, such as unpaid taxes, liens, or eviction processes, when determining your maximum bid.

9. Door Knocking

What is it?
Door knocking is a grassroots method where you physically go door-to-door in a particular neighborhood to inquire about properties that might be for sale or to offer your real estate services.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Select a Target Area: Choose a neighborhood or area based on market research, recent sales, or potential development opportunities.
  2. Prepare Your Pitch: Have a clear, concise introduction that explains who you are and the purpose of your visit without being overly salesy.
  3. Dress Professionally: While you want to be approachable, looking professional will give you credibility.
  4. Knock and Engage: Approach each home, knock, and when someone answers, offer your introduction and engage in conversation.
  5. Leave Information Behind: If the homeowner is not interested or not available, leave a business card or brochure with your contact details and services.

Realistic Expectations:
Door knocking is labor-intensive and can have a low success rate. However, it’s a personal approach that, when done right, can lead to meaningful connections and potential deals.

Pro Tips:

  • Choose times when homeowners are likely to be home, such as weekends or evenings.
  • Stay updated on local regulations regarding solicitation to ensure you’re not breaching any rules.
  • Listening is key. While your goal might be to find potential properties, sometimes understanding a homeowner’s needs or concerns can lead to future opportunities or referrals.

10. Find Distressed Sellers

What is it?
Distressed sellers are individuals who are under pressure to sell their properties quickly, often due to financial hardships, personal situations, or the condition of the property itself. Targeting distressed sellers can lead to opportunities to purchase properties below market value.

How to do it (the steps):

  1. Identify Potential Leads: Look for indicators such as pre-foreclosure notices, bankruptcy filings, properties in disrepair, or even estate sales.
  2. Utilize Public Records: Many counties have public databases where you can view liens, late tax payments, or defaults on mortgages—common signs of a distressed situation.
  3. Direct Outreach: Once you’ve identified potential distressed sellers, reach out via mail, phone, or in person to express interest and offer help.
  4. Be Empathetic: It’s crucial to approach distressed sellers with understanding and compassion. They may be going through a challenging time, so it’s essential to provide solutions that benefit both parties.
  5. Negotiate and Close: If a seller is interested, work towards a win-win solution, keeping their situation in mind. This could mean a quick closing, assistance with moving, or even providing legal resources.

Realistic Expectations:
While distressed properties can offer significant discounts, they may also come with complications. Title issues, needed repairs, or emotional distress from the seller can be potential challenges to navigate.

Pro Tips:

  • Consider working with a real estate attorney familiar with distressed properties to ensure smooth transactions and handle potential legal challenges.
  • Building trust is crucial. Avoid aggressive tactics, and focus on how you can provide genuine assistance.
  • Stay persistent. Some distressed sellers may not be ready to sell immediately, but by establishing a relationship and being

Final Thoughts

The landscape of real estate offers diverse strategies to find lucrative deals. While the tried-and-true methods still hold value, it’s always crucial to adapt to the ever-evolving market and be open to new approaches. Remember, the key to successful real estate investing isn’t just about finding deals—it’s about creating win-win scenarios, building lasting relationships, and consistently honing your skills and knowledge. As you navigate through 2023, may each strategy you employ not only bring you closer to the perfect deal but also enrich your understanding of the vast world of real estate. Happy hunting!

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