As a property investor, finding new real estate can be tricky. Of course, you want to find a great property in a good location for a fair price. And you have to snatch it up before the competition does. And the process is even harder than it sounds. So where do you begin your search? Here are five places to find rental properties before other landlords do.
1. Online Databases
You can find pretty much anything online nowadays, including rental properties. There’s a number of different websites and apps that constantly update new listings, allowing you to search for properties in real-time. Moreover, you can search for and filter properties from all over the country with the click of a mouse. With the internet, the world is at your fingertips.
One useful online database to try is LoopNet.com, which has added features for property investors. For instance, you can search for sales comparisons and property records in a certain area.
Trulia.com is another helpful website, allowing you to narrow your search based on type, price, and foreclosure status. Plus, you’re able to view crime and school statistics as well as median home values in a specific area. The site even offers market trends and real estate advice to aid in your decision-making.
If you’d rather speak face-to-face about potential rental properties, networking is one of the best ways to do so. and Plus, communicating with people who have an inside scoop on the real estate market can help you find rental properties before anyone else does. Join an investment club or head to a conference and speak with members who share and advertise properties. Being in-the-know is usually worth the fee.
Special Note: Networking may have changed with COVID-19 present, but it certainly isn’t gone for good. Online forums, group video calls, and online conferences all can be done from the comfort of your own home.
You might also connect with people you’ve met along the way to becoming an investor yourself. This may include a friend from college who began investing or landlords you’ve met through dealings in the past. If you don’t have any numbers or names saved, now’s your time to start. Additionally, ask friends and family if they know anyone who works in the housing market or is an accountant or attorney. Meet with these people or give them a ring and find out what they know.
Property auctions are another excellent way to find deals on real estate. There are several types of auctions you can participate in.
The first one that may come to mind is a physical auction. Sheriffs and private auction companies generally run physical auctions and oversee all ensuing bidding wars. However, sheriff sale auctions typically take place in your county’s city hall, courthouse or the Sheriff’s office. Meanwhile, private auction companies host their events at a local hotel or conference center.
You might also bid for a property remotely through an online auction. Generally, these auctions remain open for several weeks, allowing all bidders a fair chance to participate. If you do win, you’ll have to pay a non-refundable deposit online and sign contracts immediately. This will secure your property and move you into the next steps of either meeting with the seller or speaking with the auction company to fully claim your new real estate.
The challenge with auction properties is the risk. Since you can’t get inside to conduct inspections before purchase, you may not realize what shape the property is in. If you choose to find a new rental home via auction, be prepared to invest in property improvements that both increase its market value and ensure structural safety for renters.
4. Print Media
Yes, it’s the age of technology and the internet, but newspapers can still be extremely helpful when you’re searching for local properties. Some of the estates you find in print media won’t be online, so it’s best to read physical listings whenever you can. Look through the main newspaper for your chosen area as well as small community newspapers to find all the best properties.
It’s also smart to flip through local marketing publications. These contain listings from realtors in the area. And while you may be able to find the same listings online, sometimes they contain properties that aren’t online, just like newspapers. Finding good listings on paper may cut out some of the competition who only conduct searches online.
Of course, asking the professionals about for-sale real estate is always a good option. Call the listing agent to inquire about the properties you’re interested in. Or, speak with them before conducting your search to narrow your options and get expert advice on the best properties in the area.
This can also count as another form of networking, especially if you make it into a realtor’s database. If you end up in their contacts, they may alert you to semi-off-market properties before the competition gets word of them.
Now, you should be feeling better prepared to hit the ground running and find your dream investment property. With a little bit of legwork, you can make it yours in no time.