One of my best ways of finding properties to invest in is “driving for dollars”. “Driving for dollars” is when you physically go out and drive a neighborhood with an intent to find vacant or distressed properties. Most investors only search for deals online, but there are quite a few not yet discovered properties and never listed for sale properties out there, hiding in neighborhoods.
First, identify a neighborhood where you would like to invest. Remembering this is an investment property, not where you will live. Typically signs of vacant or distressed properties include overgrown grass & shrubbery, boarded up windows, piles of newspaper on the porch, and maybe even a code enforcement violation note taped to the front door (big red sign).
You will want to drive slowly or walk. Take your time so make sure to go at an off-peak hour when people are usually not home and there is less traffic on neighborhood streets.
As you drive or walk neighborhoods to spot potential properties you should write down the address, speak with neighbors of the vacant or distressed property, and take lots of notes about the condition of the property, neighbors, and community. After you find potential properties, then go online to do the research on both the property and the owners which will help in determining if the property is a good investment for you and provide information for the negotiation process.
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