23It took about four years to rebound after the crash, but the real estate market is changing for the better. Property values are once again on the rise and investors are coming out in droves to find great deals.

But what happens in a flat market? Do you sit on the sidelines and wait for things to pick up again? Or do you take the initiative to discover those hard to find diamonds in the rough?

If you’re the savvy we think you are, you’re chomping at the bit to discover your next solid investment. And waiting on the sidelines isn’t an option, right?

Finding Real Estate Deals in a Flat Market

So, it’s time to get creative. It’s time to flex our imagination muscles and come up with unique ways to find great properties in a flat real estate market. Come along for the ride if you’re ready to do things a little differently.

Real Estate Discovery Method #1: Drive By Investing

Do you have your heart set on investing in a particular neighborhood? If you do, there’s a simple yet very effective way to find excellent investment properties in need of your tender loving care.

How often do you go about your normal day while driving and think, “Wow, that house could really use some TLC. I’d replace the roof, overhaul the entire landscape, and make x, y, and z repairs.”

If this is typically how you think, you’re going to be a shoe-in for drive by investing.

You see, all you have to do is get in your car, drive by the neighborhood (or neighborhoods) you’d like to invest in, and discover the distressed and run down properties you naturally seem to notice already. Except this time you’re noticing these houses with a specific purpose in mind. You’re looking for the “diamond in the rough”type deals we mentioned earlier.

Ultimately, with drive by investing, your main goal is to concentrate on finding run down, distressed properties. We basically mean the ones that look like they’re vacant or heading in that direction.

Here’s an example…

You see a nice-ish looking house that needs some work. The grass is two feet tall. Flyers and newspapers are strewn about in the front yard. Basically, it looks like no really cares about it anymore and the property upkeep has come to grinding halt.

When you find these houses – and there are going to be dozens in your favorite neighborhood – make a note of the address. Take a picture of the house. And see if you can find the owner’s name on an old piece of mail.

Do your due diligence and find out who the owner is. Then you can make them an offer. Who knows? They may be desperate to sell their house and you’d be doing them a favor by taking it off their hands!

Real Estate Discovery Method #2: Court Record Diving

Have you ever heard of dumpster diving? Sure you have. It’s when people dig through dumpsters trying to find valuable items that someone else considers junk. Well, there is a way to “dumpster dive” to find distressed real estate!

And I promise, you’ll never attempt a court record diving session where you end up smelling like a piece of garbage. Scouts honor.

Here’s what you do…

Take a trip to the county clerk’s office in the area where you’d like to buy real estate. Or even better, see if they have a website that lets you see information about the latest foreclosure filings. If their website offers this information for free, you can do this at home or on the go on your phone.

Either way, you want to find out about the latest foreclosure filings. And the more recent the better, because the recent ones may still have a chance to save their property from foreclosure and you can step in to help them.

Also read:  buying pre-foreclosure properties.

If you read the digital summons and complaint, you can discover so much valuable information right off the bat. You’ll find out the name or names of the owners of the property. You’ll find out how much they still owe on their mortgage. You’ll learn if they have a second mortgage and/or a HELOC against the house, and you’ll find out if there are other potential liens against the properties (e.g. credit card debt, repossessed cars, back property taxes, etc.)

Basically, you’ll have a decent idea of their financial picture. You can use this info to offer them a worthwhile deal to help get them out of trouble while you walk away with your dream property at below market value.

Sound good? Believe me. It’s awesome.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it’s still possible to find valuable properties in a flat real estate market. You just need to get creative. So make the most of this information and use it. You’ll be in the middle of making the deal of a lifetime real soon while everyone else is sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to get easy again.

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