Finding a good real estate deal is like finding love – it’s hard. Sure, you meet a lot of great people along the way. You share some laughs, grab a drink, maybe even meet the family, but too often something doesn't feel right. There's cracks in the foundation. Sadly, you walk away feeling defeated - as though it was a waste of time. But, after some self reflection and maybe a stiff drink you begin the search again - armed with the experiences that have come before this moment.
That is real estate! It’s luck, timing and effort all rolled into one. Fortunately unlike love, there is a much clearer pathway to success.
Follow real estate trends. This doesn’t mean checking the news for home sales figures. It means following clues that are buried beneath the headlines. For example: "Starbucks and Whole Foods Open New Locations." This should make you sit up and pay attention. These stores are big players in the real estate game. If you find a location that seems a bit undesirable, but it has a new Whole Foods being built – there is an upswing afoot. Chances are they see something that excites them from a business perspective...and so should you. The same goes for corporate headquarters. A few years back Hawthorne, CA got two huge corporate headquarters in its city. Smart investors took notice and started buying up property. Those investments are paying off bigtime today.
Another useful research tool is searching MLS for real estate that has been on the market for an extended period of time. These can be great opportunities hidden in plain sight. The longer a property is on the market, the more motivated the seller. Motivated sellers are often willing to make great deals, especially for cash offers.
Research can take a while. Often you need to look at 100 deals in order to find 2 that you really love. There will be plenty that tickle your fancy, but you are a disciplined investor. Stick to the financial strategy you have set for yourself. Never be afraid to walk away. Some real estate is more trouble than it’s worth – especially if there are structural problems.
You may have to spend your days cold calling, getting no after no. Whatever your comfort zone is, be prepared to go beyond it. Be fearless, be diligent, and be smart. There are no sure things in real estate, but those three attributes will get you as close as it gets.