15 Ways To Find Deals at Discounts In Real Estate

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Not finding properties?

There’s a reason.

You’re looking for properties when you should be looking for problems!

Problems come in many forms and they change at different points of our lives. That makes perfect sense, because with life comes all sorts of challenges, changes and difficulties that we might need help with.

In times of distress we all look for solutions.

You can offer solutions to distressed property owners through real estate transactions, using various strategies… and you can’t expect to pay full retail price when finding these deals at discounts.

Why?

You wouldn’t expect to pay full retail for a dented appliance or full retail for any damaged merchandise, right? So why would you pay full retail price for damaged or distressed properties?

Real property can be damaged in different ways:

  1. Something negative is happening inside the financing
  2. Something damaging is happening inside the property owner’s life
  3. Something with the physical property is damaged
  4. Something is going on in the market that presents a less-than-positive financial outcome (a.k.a., wrong location or selling at the wrong time).

To find these damage indicators so you can get deals at discounts (sometimes really deep discounts), you have to become an expert in finding problems that you can solve through real estate transactions!

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You can find problems in several ways.

In this article I offer you 15.5 of them…

The first three that you have probably heard before are:

  1. Auctions – I have purchased properties at auction. In fact, I purchased FIVE single-family homes at a sheriff’s auction for just $60,000 for the bunch!
  2. REOs (Bank-Owned Properties) – Again, I have used this strategy myself. A few years back, I picked up an REO property (a 72-unit apartment building, BTW) for just $60,000!
  3. Pre-Foreclosures – Yep, I’ve used this strategy, as well. For example, I purchased a property for the balance of the loan plus $2,000.
You’re looking for properties when you should be looking for problems. Click To Tweet

There are other ways to find deals at discounts, too.

However, these are a little more involved and you must learn how to do them before attempting. You need to know professionals involved in the process and it’s a good idea to create a few relationships with these individuals, so you are sure to follow the letter of the law regarding taking control of these properties.

  1. Tax Liens – Also known as “tax sales,” you can pick up properties for a song, but you have to be wary of the competition in this area of investing. You want to take a first position in that tax lien (note). You wouldn’t want to be fifth or sixth on the list.
  2. Properties in Probate – When a person passes or will pass soon, there may be real property involved that also must pass to heirs. A lot of times the heirs want nothing to do with the loved one’s property. That is a good opportunity for you as an investor. If the property is in probate, it can be a rather long process, so keep that in mind.

Think of death as a trend.

In fact, death is a trend with 100% assuredness that it will continue to trend forever. That said, there are markets and entire industries that revolve around real estate. You can say that real estate goes hand in hand with that trend.
Why would you pay full retail price for damaged or distressed properties? Click To Tweet

Baby Boomers continue to age, opening new opportunities.

Based on the massive number of Baby Boomers who are entering their later years, there are three markets you as an investor might want to look into:

  1. Senior Housing – There are levels of senior housing, each dependent on the level of assistance or care an aged person requires. It typically starts with assisted living homes where residents need assistance with daily activities. As the need for medical care ramps up, the resident will require a higher-level care facility. When in end-of-life decline, Hospice can be involved as well as hospitalization. A lot of that depends on the final wishes of the individual and the openness of the family to facilitate that care.
  2. Funeral Homes – Do a little research on the number of funeral homes there are and you might be blown away. Now take the extra step and figure out where a large number of elderly individuals and senior living treatment centers and hospitals are located. How many funeral homes are in those areas? Could you add one or two perhaps?
  3. Cemeteries – When I talk about the fact that everyone in the world needs a place to live, work, play and lay… what I’m talking about in the latter is a final resting place.

While these strategies may not seem like you’re getting true deals at discounts in the moment, believe me… a few years down the road you’ll see you got an absolute steal of a deal by providing solutions to those who are aging and to the families of those who have passed.

What about a few out-of-the-box ideas?

Not everything in finding deals at discounts is black and white… unless you read the newspaper!

  1. Browsing your local, national and world news is a great way to spot trends. You are looking for world events, cataclysmic weather events and political news.

As a real-world example, let’s take an easy news bite to digest.

Say you pick up a paper and see that a large corporation is relocating to a new city and/or state.

What does that information tell you to do as an investor?

Such a move means the workers at the new facility are going to need places to live and play! They may be looking to buy homes, but moreover the workers are going to be looking to rent… at least until they figure out if they want to live in the area.

As a population, human beings are known to wait until something happens to make a move. If you know what’s happening and can move quickly to scoop up properties in areas where the new business is coming in, you’ll be in an excellent position to earn lots of cashflow ongoing!

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When you find multi-family properties that look distressed and in need of fixing up in areas where business is relocating and you have yourself a potential cash cow. There are plenty of deals at discounts in these areas.

The sellers want to get rid of their problems possibly because they haven’t been keeping up with the news! (But you’re looking at the news with new eyes… so you can become the solution to the seller and the solution for all those workers needing housing.)

What about new construction as an indicator of deals?

Good question…

Let’s say you read an article that announces a new stadium has been approved by the city and will be built soon.

What does that mean to you as an investor?

Any time a stadium is built (or something like it), the builder may have to make a deal with the city where it shall be built to also build a public park, a police station or something for the betterment of the city. That spells APPRECIATION for properties in and around that area.

By finding properties that are damaged or in distress in those areas, you can serve the community by improving them and bringing up the value of the area. Plus, you will be in a good position to rent or sell your properties to those wanting to live in the improved neighborhood. If they are sports fans, all the better!

So… what else is an indicator of distressed properties?

What about cataclysmic weather events, like floods and fires, earthquakes and hurricanes?

Yep.

  1. Weather causes damage to properties and lives. That’s an opportunity for you to find deals at discounts and make a difference in the lives of families at the same time.

Some of the residents in hard-hit areas will dig in and recreate their lives in those same places. However, there is another group of individuals who want to move after such weather events. They don’t want to risk living through anything like that again, and you can help them.

To find properties that fall into this category, make in-roads with public adjusters and code enforcement professionals. They can become a really good referral source for you. (Start by keeping up with weather news feeds.)

Next, let’s talk about blights and disrepair…

There are properties that are considered as blights on the community. There are also properties that have overt signs of disrepair.

Ding, ding, ding…

  1. These blights and properties in overt disrepair are also called excellent opportunities for real estate investors.

For these deals at discounts you will look at areas where the economy is depressed. For example, if you have been following me for any length of time, you know there’s a reason I started out investing in distressed properties.

There’s also a reason I learned how to work with city officials in these areas. They’ve become a great referral source for me!

With the economy the way it is in the United States (and other countries) today, there are many areas in which you can find truly distressed properties… and pick them up for little money.

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You don’t need any of your own cash or credit either.
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The long and the short of this story is that you have to be willing to make a positive impact on these depressed communities, which involves a lot of homework on your part.

Hey, maybe you can buy up a whole street and make a positive impact on an entire zip code by providing clean, safe, affordable housing!

Want to know a really clever way to find deals at discounts?

  1. Drive neighborhoods on trash pick-up day!

That’s right. I said it. But the WHY behind this one should make you want to jump in your car immediately to test this out.

So what are you looking for when driving neighborhoods on trash day?

  • Specifically, look for properties where no trash can is out at the curb. That indicates the house is abandoned or otherwise in some form of distress… or at least the owner is.
  • Conversely, driving neighborhoods when it is not trash day is also good. If you see that most of the homes have pulled their emptied trash cans off the street, but a couple of homes haven’t… well, that’s called a clue.
  • That might mean that no one is there living in the home to take in the trash cans. It could be a sign of distress and/or vacancy. It is certainly worth finding more information about the house, right?
  1. Talk to neighbors. They are usually full of insight and happy to chat. (I’ve learned more about properties this way than I dared dream possible.)
Look for properties where no trash can is out at the curb. Click To Tweet

You know two more good ways to find deals at discounts?

  1. Talk to anyone with a Real Estate License. Ask them if they might know of any properties that are or could be for sale by owner or that might involve seller financing. Realtors and Real Estate Agents may have the inside skinny on properties… even those not listed on the MLS.
  2. If you like commercial properties and larger rentals, look at strip malls, retail spaces and apartment buildings that have indicators of distress… like low occupancy or a bad roof. That means the owner may not have the money necessary to cover the deferred maintenance.

When you spot the problems, you can find the owner and chat with him and offer him solutions. All he has to do is agree to work with you in a real estate transaction!

And what about the BONUS “15.5th Way”?

This is a little bonus strategy you can use when looking for deals at discounts, and it’s my gift to you.

Time shares!

That’s right. Time shares happen to be deeded properties… and it’s pretty easy to find massively discounted time share properties ripe for the picking. In fact, there is a whole industry that has sprung up around this market.

It is not unreasonable to think that you can pick up a time share that someone has walked away from for the amount of the back taxes due! That could be as little as a few hundred dollars.

If you like the idea of time shares and think you could do well in that market, do some research. Find distressed owners of time shares and contact businesses and professionals that may be able to help you serve that market.

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