Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Running Your Real Estate Investing Business - Finding Deals With Craigslist

In my last article, I discussed all the possible ways under the sun of finding great real estate investor deals that you can wholesale. In this article, I am going to narrow it down and discuss just ways to find deals using CraigsList.

There are really two major ways to find deals using CraigsList: post ads, and reply to existing ads.

Within these two major categories there are quite a few variations. So, let's look at some of the variations.

Post Ads on CraigsList

The most common ad to post on CraigsList to find deals is the "We Buy Houses" type of ad. Now, your message might vary slightly... you might be saying, "Sell Your House AS IS, For A Fair Price, In 14 Days or Less," but the idea is that you are offering to buy houses as an investor.

Many people post these ads in the "real estate for sale" section. While you may get more "views" to your ad by posting here, you will likely get your ad flagged and removed quickly because it is NOT appropriate to post it there. If you post it in the "real estate services" section and/or the "real estate wanted" section, you will get far fewer people viewing your ad, but they will probably be more qualified viewers. This is where I would recommend you post your ad.

Don't think for a minute that you are going to be overwhelmed with responses from posting an ad like this. Unless you are offering full price, all cash, close as soon or long as you like type ads (which don't really make sense as an investor), you probably won't be getting many e-mails or calls. Plus, those calls you get will not be good candidates for buying properties at a discount.

When I post ads like this to buy houses, I am lucky if I get one or two inquires a month in my medium sized city.

Another, lesser-known variation on posting ads is to offer money to loan against real estate. If you, or someone you know and work with, are willing to lend money against real estate, you may want to post "money to loan" ads in the "financial services" section. If you are trying to buy property, why would you want to advertise "money to loan"? Well, before people decide to sell, they often seek to borrow money against their real estate. It is well beyond the scope of this article to discuss this particular strategy in detail, but make sure you are complying with all local laws and are ethically offering a valid service if you decide to utilize this strategy. I do NOT recommend it for beginner investors.

Replying To Ads on CraigsList

While posting ads to buy houses will generate a trickle of motivated seller leads to you, you can control how much work you have if you are willing to chase deals by replying to ads on CraigsList.

Which ads? Well, to start, real estate for sale. This one should be obvious. People and their agents/brokers often advertise that they have a property for sale. You can contact them to find out more about buying it.

Another one to consider replying to is real estate for rent. Oftentimes, someone is only renting their property because they cannot sell it. These might be good candidates to buy from. See my other articles about building a real estate investor buyers list for more info on this strategy.

While you definitely can find deals on CraigsList by investing lots of time, I find there are far better strategies for finding deals (like Direct Mail) if you are willing to spend a little money instead of time. I discuss this concept in other articles when I discuss lazy (more money than time) versus poor (more time than money) methods of marketing.

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