How To Find Houses To Flip in Any Market (Easy & Cheap)

There are opportunities in every market. Here’s how you can easily and affordably find houses to flip!

09 min read
September 25, 2023

If you want to stay competitive as a real estate investor, you need to be able to find properties before any other investors and agents find them.

This is especially true as a brand new investor.

And while networking is one of the cornerstones for most successful real estate investors, there are other ways to find off-market properties in your local area.

If you’re wanting to learn how to find houses to flip in ANY market -- and do it as easily and as cheaply as possible -- this guide is specifically for you.

In it, we’re going to break down 4 different ways to start finding houses to flip and give you an exact step-by-step process you can use right now to start locating them in your area.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how to get ahead of other investors and agents so you’re uncovering prime flipping opportunities.

To kick things off, let’s break down 4 of the best, most proven strategies for finding off-market properties.

Work With Wholesalers

Wholesalers can get a bad rap sometimes but, for most investors, they’re still the first line of new properties in any market.

They’re hustling everyday finding property owners who are looking to sell and connecting those owners with active investors who can take the property off their hands.

Which, if you aren’t familiar with the wholesaling model, check out the two guides below to get an idea why connecting with wholesalers is so valuable as a new investor:

When it comes to finding off-market properties, working with wholesalers can be a great shortcut.

Working with them, though, means you’ll need to move fast if they put a good deal in front of you.

Since they will typically be shopping these deals out to multiple investors, if they show you a property that makes sense, you’re going to want to move as quickly as possible to get it under contract.

The more often you work with a wholesaler (by purchasing the properties they bring you), the more likely you’ll be the first investor they contact whenever they get agreements on new properties.

To avoid that competition, though, you can use the same strategies they’re using to find the deals in the first place.

Driving For Dollars

If you’re looking for prime opportunities in your local area -- and wanting to get to them before other investors and agents -- getting out, beating the streets, and driving for dollars is THE best way to do it.

Getting in your car and driving around local neighborhoods will help you uncover potential investment properties that your competition may not have noticed yet.

And while this may not be the most efficient way to locate those off-market properties, since you’re literally driving around and jotting down details for each property you find, it can be effective when done properly.

This is especially true when you’re keeping an eye out while you’re going through your everyday routine.

Whether that’s dropping your kids off at school, picking up groceries, running to the post office, or just going for an afternoon drive, keeping an eye out for distressed properties can pay off big for you.

To get an idea how effective this strategy can be, check out the video below:

Now, if you’re interested in learning how to go driving for dollars (and be as effective and efficient as possible), check out the guide we’ve put together below:

It will break down the step-by-step process you can use to start uncovering these properties today.

Direct Mail

Now, whether you’re going driving for dollars and looking for a way to get in touch with the owners of the properties you uncover, or you’re looking for a way to generate off-market leads at scale, direct mail marketing is a strategy every investor should be utilizing.

When it comes to growing your investing business, it’s hard to beat the effectiveness and consistency that direct mail gives you.

With an average response rate of 2% to 4%, you can accurately measure your cost-per-deal which, for many investors, tends to be a deal every 1,000 to 2,000 pieces of mail they send.

Since mailers can be purchased and sent for around 50 cents a piece, that means each new deal costs them between $500 to $1,000.

To see what we mean, check out this video from Ryan Dossey who attributes most of his success to the direct mail campaigns he runs:

And, if you’re looking to learn more about direct mail, which mailers tend to perform the highest, and how to build high-quality lead lists that get higher-than-average returns, check out our guide below:

And while direct mail should be the foundation of every investor’s marketing plan, there’s another tried-and-true strategy that has always proven consistent -- if you’re willing to do it.

Cold Calling

On top of your direct mail campaigns, cold calling -- or picking up the phone, smiling, and dialing -- is another highly effective strategy you can use to find motivated sellers in any market.

While direct mail marketing is a more passive strategy for generating leads, in the sense that you send the mailers and let responses come in, cold calling is a more proactive approach.

It gives you a lot more control over how many leads you generate since you directly control how many times you pick up the phone and make calls to potential sellers.

With the right approach and the right scripts, even brand new investors can start generating leads.

To see what we mean, check out the guide below that shows you step-by-step how to get started cold calling, proven scripts you can use, and a handful of tips to make your cold calling as effective as possible.

You can also take a look at the video below. It’s a webinar we hosted that walks you through exactly how to set up your first cold calling campaign and the biggest mistakes you need to avoid making.

Now, even though these are THE most successful, consistent, and predictable marketing strategies you can use to grow your investing business, one key still remains: their success revolves around the lists you create BEFORE you start using any of the strategies.

How To Find Houses To Flip In ANY Market

In order to start finding these motivated sellers so you can contact them using the strategies above, you’ll want to use a tool like REISift to build your lists on.

REISift is a tool that helps you uncover and market to people -- not just properties.

Since relationships with property owners are where the deals are made, it helps you find property owners who may be motivated to sell their homes so you can contact them using the strategies we talked about.

To start building your lists, here’s a step-by-step guide you can start using right now. Click here to sign up for a free trial so you can follow along.

Step #1: Upload Record

When you log into REISift, head to your dashboard, and click on “Lists” on the left hand sidebar.

Then, you can click “Upload File” in the bottom left hand corner to upload your data into your dashboard.

Once you upload the file, you’ll be able to add tags and apply filters to help quickly sort through large amounts of data, directly from the Records page.

Then, you’ll want to name your list to something relevant, based on the properties you’ve included in it.

For instance, if you’re uploading or building a list of foreclosures, you want to include “foreclosures” in your list name to help you easily identify the data.

One of the keys to managing large amounts of data is being incredibly organized, so using these naming conventions early on will save you a ton of time and energy down the road.

Step #2: Filter For Records

You can filter by zip code, address, city, county, state, and even country, so you’re able to find the exact type of properties you’re looking to invest in.

But that’s just the beginning. 

You can also filter to see which records you have numbers for so you can start a cold calling or SMS campaign right away. 

Just select “Filter Records” on the right side of the screen and add the Params & Others filter block. 

Then select “Yes” for “Numbers”.

That will filter only your records that currently have phone numbers associated with them — or you can filter no phone numbers and then skip trace (more in the next step!).

Or maybe you want to send a direct mail campaign? Filter out vacant mailing addresses and save yourself a ton of money that your competitors are wasting.  

But even that is just a drop in the bucket. 

We have the most powerful data-filtering system in the REI space. You can filter and build marketing campaigns by list type, list stacking, absentee, vacant, and much more! 

Step #3: Skip Trace

Don’t have phone numbers of your data? 

You can skip trace directly in REISift. 

So long as you have the owner’s name and address, we can skip trace that data for phone numbers. Then you can run cold calling and SMS campaigns to those owners. 

Step #4: Start Marketing

Now it’s time to start marketing. 

That means cold calling, direct mail, or SMS — whatever you prefer. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s our ultimate marketing plan for real estate investors

Step #5: Manage Leads in Siftline

Now you can add new leads to your lead management board to easily see which leads you haven't reached and which leads have been qualified.

When leads pop out, you can add them to Siftline for more detailed tracking and management.

To add the property, click “Siftline” on your left hand sidebar.

Then, click on “Add New Card” to begin transferring over the property to your project board.

From there, the property will be easy to find and move through the different stages of your marketing and sales process.

Step #6: Follow Up!

Now, the key to making these strategies work, and finding houses to flip in any market, is following up with prospects you’ve added to your dashboard.

It’s pretty rare that a deal will happen the first time you touch base with someone.

That means you’ll need to plan on following up anywhere from 7 to 12 times (or more, in some cases) in order to get their attention, get into a conversation, and have them consider selling their home to you.

That’s where diversifying your marketing strategies comes in and why we recommend getting familiar with not only the ones we’ve mentioned above but also getting creative with how you reach out. 

Follow up with “Not Interested” homeowners 3-6 months from now, and add follow-up tasks in REISift as reminders so you don’t forget. You can also create sequences to add the tasks for you. Either way, the more automated your follow-up system is, the lower chance that leads will fall through the cracks! 

When you use a tool like REISift to stay organized, you’ll save more time and energy while uncovering motivated sellers and consistently growing your real estate business, month over month.

And, if you’re looking for additional support and ways to make REISift your competitive advantage, check out our Data to Dollars Challenge.

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