From Greg Harrelson at Century 21 The Harrelson Group
What's the difference between the guy who always seems to find great deals in investment real estate, and those who try but something always goes wrong?
1. Inside Scoop - Find a real estate agent that keeps up with possible pre-foreclosures, and often knows about a deal one or two months before it goes to market. Banks will call the Realtors they deal with ahead of time to get information about pricing, etc. Find the agent that deals with the banks.
2. Create Inventory - When you want a property in a certain neighborhood or condo complex and there aren't any available, what do you do? Or if there are some listings, but they are way overpriced...how do you get around this problem? Answer: Find an agent that is willing to go to the extra trouble to get a list of all the homeowners in that community and call some or all of them. Cold-calling to ask if any of them might be thinking to sell can often find you a property.
3. Pre-Foreclosures - The county publishes a list of pre-foreclosures BEFORE they go to auction. If an agent knows what you are looking for, they can scan this list and possibly find it. Then they can approach the owner, or his attorney, and make a deal (or a short-sale) BEFORE the bank forecloses!
4. Negotiating the Deal - What if it's overpriced? A good agent is trained to negotiate. He will gather evidence to support the proper market value and present it to the owner. Chances are if they convince the owner that he's expecting too much, he'll see the light and come down on the price. And then you get the property you want for the price you want to pay! Finding an agent who is a great negotiator is the secret to finding a great deal!