The internet is bursting with advice for wholesalers.
If you search for “find wholesale deals” in Google, you’ll get 127 million results… most of which are repetitive: use Craigslist, put out bandit signs, run Facebook ads, etc.
In this article, we want to give you some advice that is actually helpful and practical.
Successful real estate wholesalers consistently use the below 10 methods to find wholesale properties. We’re going to show you how each one works and how you can get started.
Buckle up and let’s dive in!
1. Drive For Dollars
You’ve probably seen this advice elsewhere, but it really is one of the best ways to find off-market deals.
(And don’t worry, we’ve got a few “pro tips” to share)
Driving for dollars is easy to understand: you drive around your target neighborhood, take notes on properties that seem distressed, and then add those “distressed” addresses to your marketing flow (direct mail, cold call, etc.).
Here are some telltale signs that a property is distressed…
- Unkempt landscaping
- Overgrown lawns
- Unrepaired exterior damage
- Vacant buildings
- Windows covered with tarp, plastic or paper
- Foreclosure notices on the door
- Mail piling up in the mailbox.
When you see one of those signs, write down the address for the property and everything that’s wrong with it.
1234 Example Ave. — Broken windows, chipped paint, roof shingles falling off.
If you’re driving the right area, you can often find a hundred or more potential properties in just a few hours. Then it’s just a matter of sending mail to or cold calling the owners (more on that up next).
That’s the simplest version of how driving for dollars works.
But here are some pro tips to take it to the next level…
Hire Drivers — At some point, it might be worth expanding or outsourcing your D4D operations, especially considering how time-consuming it can be. Hire a couple drivers and pay them to drive for dollars a few hours every week.
Offer Commission — Mail delivery people, trash collectors, and food delivery people (Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub, etc.) already drive around your target neighborhoods for a living. It can be very lucrative for you to offer them a flat rate per distressed property they notify you about or a commission on properties they send you that turn into deals. In this way, you can basically create an army of people driving for dollars for you.
Sell Your Data — It’s important to take good notes when you’re driving for dollars, not just for your own outreach and marketing efforts, but you can actually sell that data to contractors in your area as well: roofers, painters, and general contractors (who all are looking for the same types of properties as you are). Why not have your cake and eat it, too?
To learn more about this, check out our complete driving for dollars guide over here.
2. Pull Data & Send Mail
This is probably the most tried-and-true way that wholesalers find deals: pulling data and sending mail.
But what does that mean?
You can pull real estate date for any market through platforms like Propstream (soon, we’ll provide nationwide data here at REISift). The data you’re looking for is “distressed” data — stuff that indicates the homeowners might be motivated to sell.
Here are some of the best mailing lists (all of which, by the way, should inclue a high-equity filter)…
- Tax Delinquent List
- Code Violation List
- Vacant & Absentee
- Inheritance List
The more of these lists you stack (and the more narrow your data gets), the more likely you’re going to find sellers in sticky situations who are motivated to sell.
With just a few hundred dollars, you can pull thousands of these records in very little time, which will include the owner’s address.
Then you can send direct mail — Ballpoint Marketing gets a very good response rate for a lot of investors I know.
This is the easiest, fastest, and most consistent way to get the phone ringing.
Determine your budget, set your monthly goals, and start sending mail every single month (to the data you pull online and the addresses you get from your D4D efforts).
To learn more about this, check out our complete skip tracing guide and direct mail marketing guide.
As a side-note, the more data you pull, the messier things are going to get for your marketing. We’ll address this in the “Juice Your Data” section of this article.
3. Skip Trace & Cold Call
Maybe you don’t have the money to send a lot of direct mail.
Or maybe you’re looking for another marketing idea.
If direct mail is the king of marketing for wholesalers, then skip tracing and cold calling is a close second. Max Maxwell, the famous wholesaling Instagram-er and YouTuber is well-known for building a successful wholesaling business almost entirely through cold calling.
But it’s cheap and effective.
And the more you do it, the less uncomfortable it becomes.
You can pull data in the same way we showed you in the previous step (or just get your addresses through driving for dollars).
Then you can upload your data to REISift (our platform where we highly recommend managing all of your real estate data) and skip trace it using our software…
What is skip tracing?
Well, it's a method of cross-referencing public records and demographic data to find names, addresses, and phone numbers for people. It allows you, for example, to enter the address of the property and find the owner, their name, and their phone number (with a certain degree of confidence).
You will often get a few different possible phone numbers for each record.
Your job is to call those numbers and see which one reaches the actual owner of the property. Of course, you’ll want to use a predictive dialer like CallTools to speed up the process (otherwise you’ll spend hours listening to a ring tone).
Not sure what to say when you call? Check out the video below to see an example of a wholesaler cold calling homeowners live…
And make sure that, inside of your REISift account, you’re tagging call attempts, taking notes, and indicating which phone numbers are correct and which ones aren’t… or else things will get really messy really fast.
To learn more about this, check out our skip tracing guide.
4. Follow-Up (A Lot)
Something that too few “gurus” don’t tell beginner wholesalers is that 90% of deals happen during the follow-up process.
It’s important to think of the initial marketing process — sending direct mail and cold calling — as planting seeds.
You’ve got to nurture those seeds over months or years.
And eventually, because of the attention you’ve given and the relationships you’ve built, you’ll be able to harvest deals.
But it takes time.
Because the nature of wholesaling is making below-market-value offers. And the only type of person who would accept a low-ball offer is someone who is in enough distress that they want out of their situation… and they trust you enough to know you’re offering the best you can.
In the end, timing is everything.
And the wholesalers who win are the ones who stay in contact with their prospects for months or years into the future.
What you need is a follow-up system.
- Reaches out via call, SMS, or direct mail periodically.
- Tags correct and incorrect data (so you’re not wasting time and money reaching out to the wrong numbers).
- Makes cash offers to interested sellers and follows up (i.e. doesn’t let motivated leads fall through the cracks).
- Stays in contact with cold and warm leads.
- Automatically removes people who ask not to be contacted anymore.
You can build all of that inside of REISift using our automated sequences and CRM tools.
With Sequences, you can build automations for you and your team to make sure every owner is managed property and profitably…
And you can create task presets to make sure the right tasks get assigned to the right team members…
REISift is by far the most sophisticated CRM, data management, and marketing software on the market for real estate investors… and we don’t make that claim lightly.
Don’t take our word for it.
You can get a free trial here.
If you’re serious about succeeding at wholesaling, then you need to be serious about your follow-up process.
5. Juice Your Data
I’ll never forget a thread on Facebook where real estate investors were sharing their theories or stories about how much you have to spend on marketing every month in order to hit $1 million per year in profit wholesaling.
The numbers were sky-high.
Many people believed you have to spend at least $100,000 per month in marketing.
This is a common misconception among wholesalers — and if you haven’t run into it yet, you will.
They mistakenly think that they have to spend more to get more. But that’s only because their data management and marketing processes are broken.
We know this because the investors using our software, which helps optimize every part of a wholesaling business, to its full potential are spending wayyy less than that on marketing and many of them are generating over $1 million per year.
It’s all about juicing the data you already have.
Most investors buy data, market to it once, throw it out, and buy more.
That’s not right.
Over here, we wrote a detailed article on how you can juice your data for everything it’s worth without spending tons more money on marketing. Check it out if you want to learn what’s possible.
6. Find Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agents
It’s probably a little odd to see “real estate agents” on a list about finding wholesale properties.
After all, most real estate agents don’t like and won’t work with wholesalers. They operate exclusively in peddling on-market properties.
But not all…
In fact, some real estate agents are happy to pass deals to wholesalers or investors (especially if you’re offering a commission).
Check out the video below to see how Ryan Dossey finds investor-friendly real estate agents using Propstream.
7. Use Inbound Marketing
What’s better than finding motivated sellers?
Motivated sellers finding you.
If you’re in this wholesaling and real estate investing thing, then inbound marketing is going to be an important part of your marketing plan.
Inbound marketing is an umbrella term that refers to the process of making yourself easily findable online.
This includes things like search engine optimization (SEO), Google paid ads, and Facebook retargeting.
The easier you are to find online, the more often motivated sellers will reach out to you asking for a cash offer.
But these methods take time.
We recommend checking out Carrot to learn more about inbound marketing — their websites and marketing tools are all geared toward helping wholesalers with that part of their business.
8. Find a Partner
Having a real estate mentor is one of the best ways we know of to get good at wholesaling. If you’re connected to someone who has been in the business for years and knows how to find deals, then offer to do a lot of the legwork for their business in return for some equity or cash.
(Or just work for free until you learn)
You can spend your time looking for deals, running comps, doing title searches, and much more. You gain valuable experience while working on real-world deals and you learn from a mentor.
9. Help Other Wholesalers
You’re literally in competition with other wholesalers.
So why would you want to “help” them?
Well, this tip is for those of you who have some experience under your belt.
Sign up for as many wholesalers buying lists as you can so that you get sent their deals.
90% of what you get sent is going to be terrible — the rehab cost estimates are way off and what they’re trying to get for the deal is way too high.
This is an opportunity.
Ask the wholesaler how they came up with their ARV and tell them what is wrong with their deal. If you do it right, you can then offer to help them with future deals and they’ll take you up on it. Just tell them to send their deals to you and you’ll help them figure out value and their max offer.
You can ask for a portion of profit from the deal for your assistance.
This is a great way to collaborate with other new wholesalers (who are now finding your deals for you) and make some money along the way.
10. Join The Club
If you’re like me, you learn through doing… not through reading.
In fact, the best way I know of to teach someone how to wholesale real estate successfully is by doing it side-by-side with them.
That’s why we created our 30 Day Challenge.
Every month, we teach a new cohort of people how to build a successful, organized, and streamlined real estate investing business from scratch.
And it’s LIVE every month.
We’re not big fans of BS advice.
This challenge dives into the nitty gritty details of what it takes to be successful… and it improves every time we do it because we’re constantly getting feedback from our members.
It costs $299 and the ROI on that for you (if you take action) is so high it’s laughable.
If you’re serious about wholesaling.
Then take this challenge. And we’ll see you on the inside.