Alternative real estate investment method: never see the house? Part 2

I had to find an alternative method of real estate investment to solve my problem. As a real estate wholesaler, finding myself stuck 3,000 miles from home for several months, what would it take to continue my real estate venture without being physically in the local market?

I was already using VOIP as my main phone company and Efax.com as my fax service, both of which were totally portable. This allowed me to use my Texas numbers in Canada. As far as everyone knew, he was calling from Texas.

My market was for “Tired Homeowners” who I emailed regularly and found great deals. “Tired owners” are “absentee owners” who do not actually live on the property. Chances are these are investment properties, and with them come challenges that often motivate owners to sell.

Using an online mail service, I upload my list and marketing letters. Then, with a few clicks of the mouse and paying by credit card, my usual 500-piece weekly mailing was launched in a few minutes, and at a lower “per letter” price than doing it by hand. A week or two later, my Texas phone started ringing off the hook (in Canada) with prospective sellers! It was a beautiful thing.

I was already using the free comparable sales research tools like Zillow and First American Title, which were “random” in accuracy, so I always double-checked with a local appraiser. It was easy enough to develop a relationship with a local appraiser to work with me on sales offsets, hoping to get the appraisal business.

Since he couldn’t physically inspect the house or the neighborhood, what was the next best thing? Using a combination of free online resources for demographics and “Google Earth” satellite imagery for a panoramic view of the house, I was able to see if there was a gas station next door or a trailer park on the other side of the house. street… the kind of thing that could really affect the value.

I asked sellers to email digital photos of the home and also to fill out the “Seller Disclosure Form” with any known deficiencies. Of course, the sales contract included an inspection clause to allow the intervention of a professional inspector. If the outcome did not meet the expectations conveyed in the “sellers’ disclosure,” renegotiation was in order.

To my delight, I discovered that “virtual wholesaling” is very doable, very efficient, and very profitable. In fact, since then I hardly ever see the houses I wholesale to my investors, because they are all over the United States!

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