As real estate investors, we all know that the success and failure of careers can hinge on an investor’s ability to find deals. Sometimes, it’s about who you know—especially for those who have been in the business for long enough to have cultivated those valuable relationships. Sometimes, it’s about what you can afford—investment firms which buy huge billboards and commercial time on TV have an obvious edge. For other investors, who may not have a huge pile of money or years of experience to rely on, there are still ways to market your business and attract more deals to grow that business. Here are some (very) low-cost ways to let the community know you are an interested investor.
Spend a day simply driving around neighborhoods where you are interested in investing. In today’s market, there will be no shortage of “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs, and all you have to do is write down the phone numbers on those signs to have contact information for a potential deal. At the end of the day, you might have 50 numbers to call for homes that you know are in a location which you’ve already selected.
Similarly, consider using craigslist (I know it seems a bit amateur). Don’t put an ad up advertising your investment company; rather, peruse the listings for home sales and rentals, and essentially do the same thing you did when driving around neighborhoods: gather phone numbers and make initial calls expressing your interest as an investor.
Business cards are very cheap (around $30/1,000), so you can afford to hand them out shamelessly. Really, give one to everyone you run into throughout your day. Finding deals is all about networking—if enough people know who you are, eventually one of them will know someone who knows someone who has a great deal. You can’t pass out too many business cards. Sticking to the same lines of shameless advertising, consider buying a cheap set of magnetic car advertisements, which you can slap on the side of your car and serve as a rolling billboard every time you go out.
Get on email lists. This is as simple as signing the forms at the Real Estate Investors Association meetings to get on people’s mailing lists. You should be notified whenever a deal comes through. The value of social networking, getting your name out there, and making sure you are getting deals from as may sources as you can, cannot be understated.
Finally, don’t select one method of marketing and then rely on it to find your great, diamond-in-the-rough deals. The successful investor is a perpetual multi-tasker; since you never know where the next great deal will come from, you can never shut the door on any viable sources of leads.
Let us know what you think.