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March 1, 2016

Updated April 15, 2020

This article was published with permission from UpNest.com

So you're ready to begin investing in real estate

You know:

• How much you can spend on a property.

• You have a contractor on speed dial if you need one.

• You're ready to get your hands dirty with fixing up. 

The only problem is, you don't have a property yet, and owning real estate is a pretty important part of real estate investing after all.

One of the most important aspects for beginners to understand is how to look for investment properties. Not every home with a "for sale" sign in the front yard should be considered for investment. Veteran investors have a lot more flexibility with what and where they can invest. With a lot of cash flow from established properties and connections made in the industry, opportunities for investment come easier to established investors.

Beginners would do well to keep their search techniques simple. 

Here are Five Sure-Fire Ways to Find Investment Properties:

1. Set Up Alerts

Using the amount you're able to spend on a property, apply filters, and set up alerts on a site like Realtor.com. When a new property within your set criteria hits the market, you'll receive an alert. You might get an easy alert for that distressed home below market value. Use the tools on rentometer.com to determine if renting the property is a viable option. 

2. Word of Mouth Still Works

Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a job. The same rings true for finding investment properties. Tell almost everyone you know that you're looking to buy an investment property. You never know, your aunt's cousin's former roommate's barista might have a property that they need to get off their hands.

3. Be On The Lookout for a Deal

We generally believe that selling as for sale by owner isn't a good decision. It usually doesn't work out in favor of the seller. It usually works out best for the buyer, which is good news for investors.

Most FSBO homes are listed on Craigslist, in newspaper ads, on FSBO.com, and Zillow. Sometimes you have to hop in your car and cruise around neighborhoods, looking for the classic red and white FSBO sign.

You can also set up alerts for foreclosure homes on sites like Zillow or Realtor.com. Foreclosure specific sites like Auction.com are great resources too. With foreclosures, you may have a lot of renovating work to do before you can rent it out. Include those costs in your purchase and rental analysis to make sure you'll get the best price and the best return on investment. 

4. Stick to the Neighborhoods You Know

Great beginner opportunities are frequently right in your back yard. You already have enough new experiences to worry about as a new investor, so sticking with the areas that you know well will make things a lot less stressful for you. For example, if you end up purchasing a rental property, you can easily hop in your car and head down the street to make a quick fix requested by your tenants.

5. Self Marketing

Instead of being only reactive, looking out for marketing from properties for sale, you should be proactive, marketing yourself as a buyer. This is also called outbound marketing. Post ads on Craigslist, in your local newspaper, and like we mentioned above, tell everyone you know that you're looking for properties.

Check out Rentometer.com for all of your rent rate analysis needs. 

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