You've made your way to this page because you're looking for something. And in my experience, most of us are looking for some sort of freedom.
Gone are the days of seeking riches and millions to have a fulfilled and successful life. Yes, there are some that still yearn for this....but there has been a shift in culture.
Today, many yearn for freedom.
They yearn for time.
They yearn for flexibility.
While the reality is that having a way to generate income has to be important because with income we can't have freedom, more time or flexibility. So people today are searching for ways to achieve lifestyle freedom with earning stable, consistent income.
Stats taken from the Harris/Realtyshares survey
So if any of those stats pump you up about going down the path of investing in rental property, but you're not sure where to start. No problem! That's why we've created the ultimate guide to finding rental property.
Read along, or email it to yourself, of jump to the sections that interest you the most:
Getting Started with Finding Rental Property
There's a lot to consider when it comes to finding potential rental properties. And a variety of different places to look. Often when people just get started with investing in rental property, they stick to some of the 'mainstream' ways of looking for deals.
Search on one of the many Real Estate Apps
Read their local paper
But the truth is there are so many different ways for you to find properties that are often not discussed outside of the investor world.
You might be thinking that it's as simple as finding a property that fits your budget.
But there's a lot more that goes in to finding potential rentals than just looking for a property for sale.
When it come to investing you have to look at more than just a price of a property. You need to know the area, the industries, what draws people there, what demographic of people live in the various areas and much, much more.
So if you're officially curious about where else you can look for properties and why you need to know the area you're investing in like the back of your hand, but you're not sure where to start. No problem!
Where You Should Be Looking to Find Potential Rental Properties
There are tons of resources available to help you find potential rentals. The key is knowing and using the variety of resources available for you because not all properties are listed on every platform.
And sometimes properties aren't listed anywhere at all.
Yes, you actually have to get out and talk to people and get deals through word of mouth.
But sometimes these can be the best deals.
So let's go over some of the places you can find deals.
1.) Traditional Real Estate Apps/Websites
While I mention these above in passing of course this is one of the most used ways people find property today. And one I use week in and week out. (I just don't rely only on this one).
There are a number of Apps/websites out there that you can use to find properties (Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc) Find one that works for you because they are all a little bit different and offer some different information.
Pros: They are easy to use and navigate. They list all properties, not just residential, not just investors. Since they have Apps you can access them anytime, anywhere.
Cons: They don't list every property for sale and may not list the distressed or foreclosed properties that investors often go after. Sometimes the information that is presented (taxes, insurance, etc) isn't always the most accurate.
2.) Facebook Market Place Groups
This is an up and coming way for investors to find deals and is not in every town or city yet. However, even in my small town in PA we have a group that is a For Rent/For Sale Group where people can go on and list properties for rent or for sale.
It's great because it's accessible by many and easy to get information from the sellers because of the notification system within Facebook. Also, you can get a feel for feedback people are giving on properties and use that as good data for you while you learn your market.
Pros: It's Facebook, so many of us are on it numerous times a day. They have the notification system so you can get notified when there's activity in the group so you can respond to deals quickly. It's easy to gather information and ask questions about potential deals without having to go through a realtor.
Cons: If you don't know what questions to ask then you might get stuck. Some don't like to mix personal and business and view Facebook as a personal platform. You can end up working directly with the seller without a 3rd party representative.
3.) Work with a Real Estate Agent
When you're just getting started one of the key things that can help you find comfort in the process of buying an investment property is working with a real estate agent.
But I caution that you don't just want to work with any agent. I recommend working with one that is 'investor friendly'. Meaning that they already work investors or are investors themselves.
The truth is that buying and selling property for personal consumption is very different than for investment purposes. There's a tweak in mindset that has to happen and if you're looking for someone to support you in the process you need someone who understands that this is different.
When you choose this type of agent, they'll know what sorts of questions you should be asking, what numbers you need to know and how to analyze the deal to see if it makes sense for your ROI.
Pros: They do the searching for you, so you don't have to. This saves you time. They can even preview properties for you to see if they meet your goals/standards as an investor before you waste your time scheduling showings.
Cons: If it's not an investor friendly agent then they might not give you the best advice. You have to work around your schedule and someone else's to find time to see the property.
Setting and Understanding Your Goals As an Investor
Before you ever open up that Realtor.com app you need to take some time and think about the why behind what you're doing.
why do I want to invest in rental property?
What do I want this investment to do for me?
What return do I want to make?
What do I want this investing journey to look like?
I can't stress enough how pivotal it is for you to take time and think forward about this investment process. You obviously have some driving force that is pushing you to learn more and pursue this. But taking some time to think about what you actually want that journey to look like for you can give you some clarity.
Why do you need clarity you might wonder?
Because even within the buy and hold niche there are so many different paths that you can take. If you don't have any kind of direction to go you will most assuredly get lost, frustrated and want to quit.
So take the time to assess your mindset and goals before you start down this path because it will be easier for you to say 'yes' to some deals and 'no' to others when you have this clarity.
Learning Your Potential Investing Market
This is one of the areas that I'm most passionate about when it comes to teaching others about investing in rental property.
Not only will knowing your market like the back of your hand save you time, it will allow you to act quickly when deals come up and be confident when you find the right deal.
Confidence is key with investing because it's all about the numbers.
If you know your numbers in your market and be confident in that knowledge you'll have the courage to offer half price when you know a property is over priced and have the data and knowledge to support that offer.
The truth is there are a variety of factors that come into play when it comes to learning your market.
There's the side where we focus on the community itself. Learning the ins and outs of what draws people to the area, what employment is there for people, what the school districts are like, what entertainment is available for individuals who live there and more.
Let's take a deeper look at one of these so you see what I mean.
People need work. Often employment is so important that it causes people to move from one area to another. So when you start looking into different communities/markets to invest in do some research on the employment available there.
Depending on the location this may be easier said than done. For instance, if you're looking to invest in a place like D.C. (or other urban setting) you probably don't have to spend much time on this one because the reality is there are countless jobs and industries available for people.
However, if you are in a more rural setting than you may want to spend some time looking at the industries available and the stats on where most of the community works. Are there hospitals, factories, universities, school districts, law firms, etc.
Often the types of employment available will give you a glimpse into the demographic of tenants you can expect to rent to. And if you have a certain type that you're going after in your mind, this may make you look in a new community.
For example, one town where we own some rentals is a blue collar town. The industry there is limited. Most of the jobs consist include: the local prison, hospital, mining, quarry, coal and gas line jobs, small businesses and education.
Just hearing that you can get the demographics of the individuals who mainly live in this area. There isn't a high end law firm or marketing agency that's bring upper class individuals to the area.
And that's ok. We have solid properties with great, long-term tenants and it has a very strong rental market. (We recently listed a property for rent and had 15 inquiries the first day.....in a very small town).
But these are things to think about when you start down your own journey.
2.) Getting a Pulse on Your Market
On the flip side of learning about the demographics of a community you need to spend time learning the real estate market in that particular community.
While stats and numbers get thrown around all the time about the real estate market (as a whole) you have to look at individual markets by themselves.
One of the best ways for you to be able to be a competitive investor is to know what properties are listing for, what they are selling for and what they are renting for.
Once you get a feel for this (and it will take a little bit of time) when you watch the markets and see a property pop up and you know it's listed low or that you might be able to offer low and get it because of recent closed sales....you can act quickly.
Investing is competitive and whatever leg you can have up on the situation will only help you in the end.
One of the things that I teach a lot about in our Pro Community is completing a market audit. This is where you spend a month or two just watching the markets and tracking what is happening.
Once you start tracking properties and the numbers after a few months you can start to see a trend and then you'll start to get that pulse on your market and be able to easily spot a great deal when it comes up.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Finding Properties
1.) Using One Way to Find Deals
If you're sticking to only medium to finding deals you are missing out. There are always new deals coming on the market, they are just not always being posted in the same place.
So if you're only looking in one place to find them, you're not setting yourself up for success. If you are currently only using one way, start working into your schedule 1-2 more ways of finding deals that I mentioned above.
Or if you're looking for more ways to find properties check out our training Underrated Ways to Find Potential Deals in our Pro Community.
2.) Going After a Property without doing the Due Diligence on the Community
Don't let stick price drive your motivation. You may see a property come on the market for $32,000 and get excited and start taking action. And what you didn't pay attention to was where the property was located and what types of tenants that property will draw in to you.
So now you have a property that you got at a cheap price, but it's in a bad part of town and attracting the tenants you don't want.
This is a classic rookie mistake. You've got to do the due diligence on the community. Know every part of that community and even choose ahead of time what areas you would be willing to buy in and which one you wouldn't.
For instance, we invest in a suburban town in Northern VA outside of D.C. We've had properties there for 4-5 years now and I tend to think that I know the area very well.
There are a handful of streets and even a certain area on the map that if I see a property come up, no matter the price, we don't even give it the light of day.
Because I've done my homework and that property and tenant pool is not meeting my goals as an investor.
So it's easy to say no to the cheap price!
3.) Not Having any Goals or Standards When Looking for Property
I can tell you that there is a lot of property for sale at any given moment in this country. Even if you live in a small town, there's a lot of properties for sale. As I write this, in my small western PA town there are 229 properties for sale.
That's a lot of properties. And if I didn't have any goals or standards when it came to looking for properties, how would I know which of those 229 I should filter out?
Having set standards will only help your own sanity and save you time when it comes to finding properties.
Can you imagine running a property analysis on 229 properties....that would take a ton of time.
Being able to filter out the good from the bad right away will only help you in your overall journey.
The reality is that there are thousands of properties for sale all over the country, so there's no denying that there's not opportunity out there for anyone who wants to invest in rental property.
It's important to keep in mind that there are necessary things you should do before getting started so that you can set yourself up for success. Determining the type of investor you want to be, what types of properties you want to pursue, what kind of return you want to earn and what your market is actually doing are just some of the important things you should master before getting started.
The thought of getting started might feel overwhelming, but we make it easy to learn the process of finding, analyzing and buying your first rental property.