Real Estate Investment News & Blog

The MLS is Dead… Top 7 Ways to Find Real Estate Deals

Marketing for motivated sellers is the key to success in real estate–you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again. All of the real estate investing techniques you learn are academic until you find some motivated sellers.

The MLS is dead, auctions are thin, and many people are throwing in the towel. But not you… Here are 7 Ways to Find Real Estate Deals that are not the usual MLS listing, auctions, etc.

1. Door Knocking

Social media may be “king” on the Internet, but nothing beats personal interaction.  Knocking on doors is still the #1 way to find real estate deals.

  • Random houses in a defined neighborhood (“Hey, I am looking to buy a house in this neighborhood, and I’m wondering whether you know anyone with a house for sale.”)
  • Foreclosures (Don’t leave a brochure or business card; leave a yellow post-it note, handwritten and personalized.)
  • People late on their mortgages (Same comment as above.)

2. Good Old-Fashioned Mailers

Mailing letters, postcards, and fake handwritten “yellow letters” to different groups of people can be very effective. Make sure it’s personalized and the envelope is HAND written.

Here are some good lists to mail to:

  • Non-owner occupied properties (absentee owners)
  • Out-of-state owners
  • Probate
  • People who are late on their mortgage, but not in foreclosure yet
  • Foreclosures that have been filed
  • Properties with code violations from the county
  • Landlords that have done recent evictions (without a lawyer!)
  • Expired MLS listings

3. “Driving for Dollars”abandoned house

Get the kids in the minivan and go drive around targeted neighborhoods.

Reward your kids when the see the following:

  • “For Sale by Owner” signs
  • “For Rent by Owner” signs
  • Abandoned properties (grass grown up, pile of mail on the stoop, etc.)

4. Leveraging Others

  • Wholesalers
  • Bird dogs
  • Hire a virtual assistant to comb through online listings
  • Brokers with “pocket” listings

5. Cold Callingcold calling motivated sellers

Cold call the FSBO and FRBO leads you found from driving around or found online:

6. The Internet (Duh!)

  • Social media
  • Blogs
  • Real estate investor community websites

7. Everything Else

So there you go… 7 Ways to Find Great Real Estate Deals. Now, go out and DO IT!

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About the Author...

William Bronchick, J.D. is a nationally-known attorney, author, and speaker. He has been practicing law and investing in real estate since 1990 and has been involved in over 2,000 real estate transactions.

Bill has served as President of the Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors since 1996. He is the author of many excellent real estate investing courses.

You can visit Bill Bronchick at his web site:


  1. Laura Ludwig says:

    This article rocks. Thank you for the great lists!

  2. Michigan says:

    Predicated on the area your looking to buy properties in, you can find many good deals though the local city. Perfect example is the city of Detroit has updated their website to include tickets to property homeowners who have neglected their properties, high grass, trash etc. On the ticket info is the mailing address of the homeowner. I only did this once and contacted a homeowner in California, ended up buying 3 houses from them for $500 cash for quit claim deed for each property. Sold each property for $5,000 each a week later on quit claim deed. The owner was out of state, didn’t want the issues and I knew I could flip without even seeing the houses. Keep in mind, the city fines were on the old homeowner and not transferable to me even if they didn’t pay them. If there’s a problem property and the owner is out of state they are most likely willing to dump. If there isn’t a website for the city you can get this info by walking in to the building department.

    You can also contact out of state owners who have 2 or more years property taxes due etc. A lot of these properties with out of state owners is actually a lenders address so make sure that your dealing with an owner and not a bank. If you get your data on an excel sheet just sort it by state then city, if you have 8 of the same addresses just google address and verify it’s not a bank.

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