How To Find Great Deals By Creating Off-Market Listings

If you sell chocolate chip cookies and you want to mail ads to a bunch of people, the list you send makes all the difference. If you make a list of names and addresses for diabetes or crossfit enthusiasts, your response rate will probably suck. But if you send a list of members of the Cookie Lovers Association, you will not be able to comply with all orders!

For marketers, energy is on the list. If you are hunting for off-market real estate deals, then you are a marketer! You may not be selling cookies, but you are selling yourself as a buyer of real estate. The better your list, the bigger your success. Let’s talk about how to create a great off-market list.

What is a list broker?

List brokers are companies that have millions of people and millions of data points – and you can buy a list of people based on specific criteria. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Maybe it is, but it is a big business in the world today and every day your information is being sold to others who are marketing to you. So let’s talk about how to make some money doing it (of course morally and legally).

With so many companies out there to buy listings, you’ll want to make sure you focus on the type of real estate they want.

For example, if you’re looking for a single-family home, some popular list brokers are ListSource, Propstream, Melissa Data, ReboGateway, AgentPro247, DataTree from First American Title, and RealQuest. You can go directly to your county administration building.

For multifamily and other commercial deals, I’ve also done some of the ones I’ve mentioned, but there are a few more, such as RionMe, Corelgic, CompStack, PropertyShark, Data Excel, and Coaster that can be great for larger commercial features.

Which should you choose? Play with them! Different companies have different data with different usability. Find something that works for you and learn how to use it properly and you will soon make your list.

While I was gathering this information, I stumbled upon the website of my friend Seth Williams where he gave a really in-depth analysis of the many good and bad aspects of this company. So I’m going to send you there if you want to tell me more details about this (no, he didn’t pay me to say this. He doesn’t know I’m yelling at him). You can check it out here.

More about off-market properties from BiggerPockets

I should make a list

You have identified your list broker, then what?

It is time to decide which list to make.

Having your Crystal Clear Criterion (CCC) is going to play an important role in your lists so that you don’t get leads outside of your CCC and maximum purchase price. Crystal clear criteria are the five criteria that each investor should identify what they want.

  • Property type
  • Location
  • Conditions
  • Price range
  • Profitability

There are a few more filter features that you need to dial for a variety of reasons.

  • What are the properties of your property? How many units are you interested in? Single family? Small multifamily? 100+ units?
  • What about the year built? If you’re just starting out, it may not be something you’ve considered yet, but there’s a huge difference between the 1916 building and the 1960 building. With age comes much more delayed maintenance and capital costs. If you don’t have the right team in place, it can kill your cash flow.
  • How long have you been the same owner of the property? If the owner has been buying the property for more than 10 years, this person will probably be more likely to sell it than the person who bought it two years ago. The owner who has held a property for more than 10 years can also be paid higher equity or the o for more than 10 years.
  • When it comes to loans, there are usually filters for loan production. Does the owner have equity in their property or are they excess leverage? Are they late in paying their mortgages? Is their loan coming soon (something very common with commercial features)? For example, if you reach out to larger multi-family owners to repay a loan o balloon within 12 months, they will probably be much more motivated than a person who has stayed for another five years.
  • Do the owners live on the property or do they own them but live somewhere else? If they own it and live elsewhere, it’s called a missing owner, and it can improve the chances that someone wants to sell.

Increase the level of your investment

Imagine you are friends with hundreds of real estate investors and entrepreneurs. Now imagine you can have a beer with each of them and easily chat about failures, successes, inspirations and lessons learned. That’s what we’re seeing with The Bigger Pockets Podcast.

Be sure to start small

This is a sample of most filters that are available on most property data websites. You can spend the day dragging dozens of lists under different filtered rabbit holes.

Yes, the better your listing, the fewer people will market to the same list and the better your contract flow will be. But if you spend all your time trying to create an “absolutely perfect list that no one else is doing”, you will do nothing.

Start small, start easy, and probably just start with the unit count filter. You need to fill in your funnel, so don’t get too narrow with your search results when you start.

Research online what other people are doing for their list. Through sites like the BiggerPockets forum, you’ll find hundreds of conversations where real estate investors are sharing what’s working and what’s not working for them.

Start arriving

What do you do once your list is done? Arrive!

Maybe it’s going to be through direct mail marketing, but it could also be cold calling or knocking on doors or carrier pigeons. Anyway. The point is to reach, to reach often and to reach consistently.

Contact your prospect until (a) they call and ask you to remove them from your list, (b) they threaten to drive into your home and beat you, (c) you buy property, or (d) The world is not over. Until one of those events happens, arrive consistently. You never know when your marketing efforts will come to them at the right time.

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