Anatomy of A Real Estate Deal 1: Locating the Deal

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Author: Gabrielle B Dahms

Gabrielle B Dahms is a real estate professional and a real estate investor with over a decade of experience. She is active in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Gabrielle knows the real estate marketplace, can communicate it, and devise the appropriate strategy with her clients. She is an expert in her field, who listens to her clients and who delivers.

Locating excellent and profitable real estate investments can be a daunting task for real estate investors. That is especially true for anyone who is a brand new real estate investor because, as with anything else, what to look for and how to go about it may not yet be readily apparent.

While there are seemingly many properties to choose from, locating an excellent real estate investment is like looking for gold; doing so requires a plan, a system, and several invaluable personal traits. These often are not apparent and they are the focus of this article.

While real estate investment strategies, including exit strategies, are the topic of another article in this series, the importance of having a plan and focus cannot be overstated. Having both directs your life as a real estate investor, while lacking them is like having a ship without a rudder.

Assuming a plan and an exit strategy are in place, finding a real estate investment deal is the first logical step. So how to do that? What to look for?

Whether the real estate investments you are interested in are single family homes, condos, multi-family buidings, vacant land, or commercial property, here are some ways to locate deals. And there is a good chance that you can eliminate much of the competition as well.

Specialize in a niche

By deciding which type of property to invest in, what that property looks like, e.g. whether it is a fixer, in original condition or turnkey, and sticking to this property type, you will be miles ahead of the competition. That is especially true when you know all the numbers associated with your category.

Know that the most popular category is single family homes. So should you wish to focus on that particular category make sure to approach it from a different angle than most real estate investors do. That could mean that you specialize in homes that have equity only or in becoming an expert in second mortgages.

Looking and finding motivated sellers

Looking and finding motivated sellers is a separate chapter all itself and there are a number of ways to do it. Simply put, a motivated seller is a person who MUST sell and therefore is flexible as to how to do that.

Cultivate real estate agent relationships

If you thought you’d never have to interact with real estate agents, think again and begin to cultivate these relationships. An excellent real estate agent knows and understands their market and has connections that lead you to deals. Often real estate agents do a major portion of the work for you as well.

Note: You only need 3 or so excellent real estate agents to work with to start mining gold.

Speak to landlords

There are many landlords who no longer wish to be landlords for a variety of reasons. Find them and locate excellent deals that way.

Foreclosures and REOs

Yes, there is a good amount of competition in the area of foreclosure and REO properties but they absolutely can be worth your time. Find a number of national foreclosures here. Make sure to run your numbers! Not all foreclosures and REOs are screaming deals. And before doing anything else, make sure you know all the pieces to this particular category because it can become complex.

For Sale By Owners (FSBOS)

Homes that are on the market without an agent can be a source of good deals. There are many FSBO websites. Just type FSBO into the Google search engine and they’ll pop up.

Other Ways to Find Leads

Get creative in finding leads and in locating great real estate investment deals. You can do that by reading business and marketing books, setting yourself up on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and by tapping into what experienced investors and experts are doing.

In conclusion, the one thing you MUST do to locate excellent deals is to run the numbers yourself. We’ll get into how to do that in another article in this series.

This article is one of several in our Anatomy of a Real Estate Deal series. Further titles in this series include: Evaluating Property – Is There a Deal?, Real Estate Exit Strategies, Real Estate Financing: How and Where to Get Real Estate Investing Money, More Important Real Estate Investment Considerations, and The Real Estate Investing Machine (Stay Connected and Repeat).

Please read any and all of them and send them on to the people you like and trust – anyone who has ever considered being a real estate investor or is one now.

Gabrielle B Dahms is an active real estate investor as well as a real estate agent with a decade's experience. She continually educates herself and applies her energy, understanding, knowledge, and love to serve her clients. Follow her on Facebook at and connect with her on LinkedIn at

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