This article was posted on Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014

A landlord recently asked the following question on the website:

“Anybody else having trouble finding stuff to buy? I’m looking for multi-unit buildings in my area and it has been months without anything new being listed. The only ones on the market are very overpriced. Any good ideas for finding these types of buildings to purchase when the MLS and local Realtor’s pocket listings are coming up empty?”

MY RESPONSE: The last two multi-units I bought was because I actually contacted the owner of properties and told the owner I was interested in buying. Neither of them had been listed for sale. A third property (closing next month) is a fourplex, and the owner is willing to carry back nearly 90% of the financing. I dare say that if the property had gone through the normal listing process with an agent involved the owner probably would have had an entirely different mindset regarding negotiating, and not been willing to take back as much -if any – financing.

I hope you get the true essence of my suggestion, which is: “There’s far more out there than what’s LISTED. Look BEYOND those!” The properties I’ve purchased lately were not even in the process of being listed.

I simply looked in areas where I was interested in buying and identified the properties I was interested in buying. Then I contact the owners to let them know I would be interested in buying their property.

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I do this on a regular basis. The properties I am interested in buying are NOT hard to find. They are all over the place. Now, whether or not the owner is interested in selling is another story. 🙂 But that’s why I’m willing to make many offers and come back to some owners months or years later. I know this strategy is “old school”, but hey, it keeps putting more food on the table.

The question to you or anyone else who is frustrated with the limited listings in the MLS is this: “If you’re really serious about buying more, how many offers are you making each month on properties you want (not just the ones you find, the ones you want)?”

Another Strategy for Buying Properties 

Shared By a Real Estate Investor

In 2006 when I first started buying fixer-uppers, I use to drive around town looking for “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) signs. I also called some of signs posted by realty agents but I quickly learned I would never get a true bargain-priced house as long as there was an agent between me and the seller of the house. It’s in the agent’s best interest to get the highest price for a house instead of the lowest.

I spent several years using my car to prospect a given neighborhood. I would make a list of 20 (FSBO) houses knowing that I would only buy one of them. This drive around town system of getting leads on fixer-uppers “did work” but it was time consuming. In 2009, I figured out a better way of doing this more efficiently. Instead of wasting gas money on trying to find the right house and the right type of seller, I took my gas money and ran an ad in my local newspaper that would tell anyone who had a junky/fixer-upper type house for sale to call me.

The ad says this: “Retired handyman looking to buy a fixer-upper. I prefer small houses. Can pay cash or will discuss terms with my down payment. No agents please. Call Roy at 555-5555.”

I run this ad twice a year and I get approximately 10 calls each time I run it. From the 10 calls, I usually buy one. There have been times when I did not buy any. The house was perfect but it was located in the wrong neighborhood or the seller was not motivated enough.

What else can I say? Since 2009, I have bought seven fixer-uppers this way. Most of the sellers tend to be very motivated too. Bargain houses come from motivated sellers who have a real need to sell NOW. Feel free to run this type of ad in your local newspaper. Forget Craigslist; this ad does not work in Craigslist.

The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular Q and A forum. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at,  where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.


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