Buying Real Estate When It's Not For Sale
Sunday 17 February
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by Steve Gillman
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Buying real estate can start with a look in the newspaper, a visit to a broker, or a search online. These are all good ways to find your next investment property. You're looking at the same properties as every other investor, of course, so it's not always easy to beat the competition to a great buy.
A better way to find good real estate investments is to look for properties that aren't yet for sale, and make an offer. I bought my first home this way. I put an ad in the paper stating what I was looking for, and soon had a call from an old couple that had been thinking about selling. I bought their place at a good price, and they saved a broker's commission.
Buying investment real estate that isn't for sale starts with a three step search process. First decide what you are looking for. Single family rentals or apartment buildings? Then start looking for properties that fit your criteria. Then contact the owners.
Buying Real Estate From Non-Sellers
Don't limit yourself to "fixer-uppers" or other "problem" properties that seem more likely to have owners willing to sell. Many owners of investment real estate have thought of selling, so you can start with almost any building you like. You never know beforehand if or why a landlord is ready to call it quits. You find out by asking.
Tact is necessary here. Call the owner and tell him you're an investor, not a broker. Let him know that you like what you see. Tell him you can have an offer ready in a week if he's interested. If he's not interested, thank him politely and hang up, but send him your card or a letter. Many investors have bought from owners that changed their minds.
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