To find the best deals you may need to think outside the box!  Keep an open mind and be creative.  If you are looking for rental real estate that is purely passive you may want to consider other cities, states, or maybe even countries.  We own rental property we haven’t even seen before.  You will need to have first hand knowledge of where you are buying (e.g., if you’ve lived there in the past or visit there often) or have a very trusted property manager and real estate agent to give you valuable advice on selecting properties.  If you live in a high cost city this really opens up your world of possibilities!  Also, when you start looking at other areas you may find there are higher returns available outside the city where you live.

Whether you are going to be a passive or active manager of your rental property you can be creative to find deals.  Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Ask a local title company for a list of the property owners and their addresses in the area you are searching.  It can be a huge list so refine it by property size, how long it’s been owned (at least 2 years perhaps), and remove any LLC owners since they may be hard to track down.  That being said, if a property does have an LLC owner you can usually find that owner by searching your Secretary of State’s website and getting more info on the actual individual owner(s).
  • Network with local real estate agents that are active in the area and ask them to pitch you anything they have that may be coming to market or that an investor would sell at the right price for them.
  • Obtain the list of all properties that could match your criteria that were listed for sale but didn’t sell within the past 5 years.  Generally, your real estate agent can obtain that list for you.  You can some times get phone numbers for those owners or you can obtain the owner’s mailing address from a local title company usually.
  • Search for For Sale by Owner properties on the internet.
  • Make it known you are looking for investment property through your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.  Especially those that know everything that’s happening in their neighborhood if they live near where you are searching.
  • Door knock around the areas you are looking.  Ask the residents if they know of anyone that is thinking of selling nearby.
  • Have your real estate agent set you up on daily or asap new listing alerts.  The best deals go fast on the open market so be ready to pull the trigger quickly if needed.