Finding Off Market Real Estate Properties

I’m a real estate professional. At various times I’ve been a property owner, real estate agent, and an investor. Combining a past in high-tech and love for real estate, I recently joined the ProspectNow team when I realized how powerful a tool it is for both investors and real estate agents looking for home sellers.

A few weeks back I was talking with a friend of mine. He and his girlfriend both quit their high-tech jobs to pursue real estate investing full time. They came to me for advice on how to find “good deals.”

The market is hot right now, and like everyone else out there, they want to find properties “off market” – i.e., not listed on the MLS. Everything listed on the traditional real estate sites is picked over by both owner-occupied buyers and investors, bidding up the prices. There are no deals on the MLS – nor on Zillow or Craigslist, either. Real estate agents are in a similar position. Inventory is low and everyone is looking for potential sellers. Listings drive success in real estate. The key to finding these properties is to get on the phone with property owners before they tell anyone else they are selling.

Can I Tell You A Secret?

Every investor I talk to has the same question. “How can I find off market real estate deals?” They are all looking for the secret properties – the ones no one else knows about yet. The bummer is, there just isn’t a good source for “off-market” homes for sale.

What my investor friends need, and what ever real estate agent wants, is a way to identify and contact potential home sellers that have not yet put their home on the market but are thinking about selling. If they can get to them before anyone else, they have a significant advantage. ProspectNow is that secret source of homes and sellers.

ProspectNow is a godsend in two specific regards. The first is that it aggregates property and owner data in one place. Normally, property address, LLC name, owner names, phone numbers, emails, etc. are all in widely disparate systems. Owner phone numbers, in particular, are difficult to find and correlate back to a specific property. With ProspectNow, investors can look up a property address and instantly see who owns it and get a phone number. (The system has phone number coverage for about 60-70% of properties, which is far better than any other phone number source available.)

The second major feature of ProspectNow is the ability to do targeted searches on critical criteria like number of properties owned and if the property is owner-occupied or not. With just a basic search using Prospect now, an investor or agent can look up the properties in a specific neighborhood, get the phone numbers, and start making calls. While this brute-force approach can be effective, I prefer a more surgical approach – one that allows you to better target sellers and make “warm calls.”

Search For Hidden Homes For Sale

First I put in all the standard search criteria: bedrooms, baths, size, and location (you can even search by drawing a shape on a map). Then, in addition to the standard search items, I ask ProspectNow to show me only properties with out of state owners. A property with an out of town owner indicates the home is a rental or is vacant. I can even ask the system to show only properties whose owners own more than two properties (or 3, or 5, or 2-7). These properties are “warm” for selling. These owners are investors, and an investor is always thinking about selling – the only question is when and at what price.

I could try this same method using property lists from other sources. But ProspectNow has something the others don’t – phone numbers of the property owners. Even if the property is owned in an LLC, ProspectNow has info on the LLC members and their phone numbers.

Here is a script to use when calling these prospective home sellers: “Hi, my name is Robert in [city]. I’m calling about the house on [street]. Is that your house? I am a real estate professional and I have investors looking to buy in that neighborhood. When are you thinking you might sell the house?”

I call these “warm calls” instead of cold calls because I’m not asking these people to sell the home they are living in out from under their feet. These are already investment properties; it’s a business call. These calls are easy to make.

Real estate is a contact numbers game. Success depends on the number of times you can contact the right property owner at the right time. It’s not just about dialing more and more phone numbers. It’s about calling the right people and actually dialing fewer numbers, but the right numbers.

Commercial and residential agents, as well as investors are using ProspectNow to find new listings and investment opportunities before they go on the market.