Real Estate Investment News & Blog

9 Affordable Strategies to Find, Buy, and Sell Real Estate

Buying and selling real estate can take a great deal of time and money. And since time is possibly the most valuable commodity of them all, I’ve compiled a list of some affordable strategies to find (and sell) properties.

Here are 9 affordable strategies to find highly motivated sellers and great real estate deals…

1. Out-of-State Homeowners

Should new investors target out-of-state property owners? Yes! Some of the most motivated sellers are homeowners who live in a state other than where the (distressed and non-distressed) property is located.

These homes may appear completely abandoned and could have “squatters” or homeless people living in the unoccupied residences. This can lead to serious financial liability for the out-of-state owner, who may be quite open to offers well below market or who may offer creative and flexible seller financing terms.

2. Divorce Court

Divorce and medical bills are two of the main reasons for financial ruin. During a hotly contested divorce battle, the former spouses may be so angry with one another that one or both are more than willing to “unload” their former home or investment properties as quickly as possible or to cover their ongoing legal expenses.gavel

3. Bankruptcy Court

Anyone who is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection (Chapter 7 for the individual, Chapter 11 for a corporation) may be extremely motivated to convert assets like real estate into liquid cash as fast as possible.

Before, during, and after a bankruptcy filing and discharge, the individual, business entity, or Bankruptcy Trustee appointed by the federal Bankruptcy Court work towards finding cash by selling off or restructuring assets and debts.

4. Expired Listings

How motivated are sellers with expired MLS listings? When the economy is sluggish and there’s a fairly large inventory of unsold homes for sale, you can find 90-day and 180+ day listings that have expired after a Realtor’s unsuccessful attempts to sell the home by way of “Open Houses” and other expensive traditional marketing efforts.

Once these MLS listings expire, you’ll likely find owners willing to drastically discount their price and terms to an investor (you!) who approaches them directly in order to avoid paying the Realtor’s commissions.

5. For Sale by Ownerfor sale by owner

FSBOs (For Sale by Owner) can be quite willing to structure an assignment or “creative” flip to investors who can close quickly.

Time is precious and finite, life is too short, and “time is money” for most people. Some property owners are just tired of holding a property and prefer to deal directly with someone who can take their headache off of their hands as soon as possible.

6. Bandit Signs

What is more effective and affordable than a Bandit Sign? Yes, those little signs you see on your neighbor’s lawn, or a common area in a condo or townhouse development, or on a public street are one of the best ways to let the world know you have a home for sale with creative terms or that you are looking to buy properties for quick closings.

There are correct and legal ways to properly use Bandit Signs, and there are other ways that can be deemed as illegal by way of planning, zoning, and usage restrictions, so do your homework and be very cautious here.

Why not try some creative ways to use old-fashioned advertising strategies, such as a physical postcard or paper signs on the street with modern-day connections, like links to digital content on your personal website, blog, and social media sites?

7. Your Own Real Estate Blog

Most people want to learn something new each day, especially in fields like real estate investing.

A blog is a fantastic option to create loyal followers and potential (buyer and seller) prospects. Blogger and WordPress are great blog sites you can set up completely free of charge.

People are tired of working hard for their money. Now, they want to find ways where their money can work hard for them.

8. Clever Business Cards

Business cards with a few key words like, “I buy homes for cash in one day” have long helped investors find incredible opportunities. Printing companies, both online and offline, can design and publish hundreds of business cards for as little as $15 to $25.

9. Probate & Estate Sales

The only certainties in life are taxes and death. Keep a close eye on published Probate or Estate Sales in your local newspaper classified sections, or by doing more detailed investigations through online search engines.

Probate or Estate Sales provide many different investment opportunities where properties are sold quickly at prices well below market value.

Never Give Up…

The key to success with business ideas or dreams is to take the first step forward, regardless of whether it’s small or large. If you’re successful or not on the first attempt, keep trying, make necessary changes, and never give up.

A marketing strategy can work fantastic one week, and not so great the next. So, keep learning and make necessary changes as you move forward, so that you reach your goals in 2017.

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About the Author...

Check out Rick's new book The Credit Crisis: 10 Years and Counting (August 2017 publishing date) as well as The Credit Crisis Deals: Finding America's Best Real Estate Bargains.

Rick Tobin has a diversified background in both the Real Estate and Securities fields for the past 25+ years. He has held seven (7) different Real Estate and Securities brokerage licenses to date. He also writes college textbooks and real estate courses in several states for some of the largest educational firms nationwide.

Rick has an extensive background in the financing of residential and commercial properties around the U.S with debt, equity, and mezzanine money. His funding sources have included banks, life insurance companies, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), Equity Funds, and foreign money sources.

You can visit Rick Tobin at


  1. Marquis says:

    How can I find funding to get started with real state since I don’t have my he money of my own

    • Rick Tobin says:

      Hi Marquis,

      Some private money lenders may provide 70% or 80%+ loan to value financing options if the borrower has at least 20% of their own money to invest for non-owner occupied properties. For investment or owner-occupied properties where the borrower has little to no money down, then the next best possibility might be that the seller will offer you the financing options by way of a lease with an option to purchase, a land contract (also known as a contract for deed), or an AITD (all inclusive deed of trust). I wrote an article on this same topic a few years ago:

      Best wishes for success!!!

  2. Josie Pierce says:

    I am loving the information. This make me fired up and ready to go. I’m going to need help. Do I need a license for this business?

    • Rick Tobin says:

      No, you do not need a license to buy and sell properties. In some cases, holding a real estate license can actually put an investor a little more at risk should the other party later allege that the “experienced agent” took unfair advantage of them. Tenacity is more important than a license.

  3. Laura Ludwig says:

    You have a very informative article. Keep up the good work!

  4. Karen Emery says:

    Another good target for mailing is Seniors With 20+ Year Ownership. These guys are often ready to downsize.

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