How do I find a finder?

My wife and I bought our first investment property, a two family, 1 ½ years ago. Bought at the right price, put in $40k and it’s paying for itself.

We’ve been looking for the next project for almost a year. Looked at dozens, made a few offers. Financing is not a problem. The market in this area has been very strong and prices are still high … things are slowing down but the numbers just don’t work usless we can buy at a deep discount from asking.

We’ve been going through a realtor and the MLS but our mortgage broker says we need to find motivated sellers before they get listed. The time and effort of locating an undiscovered gem seems exhausting and I’d happily pay a fair finder’s fee for the right property. How can I get in touch with a finder? I’m in upstate New York, Saratoga Springs.

Bird-doggers are what you are looking for. Try posting for one on Or, you could spend a few bucks and run a classified ad in your local newspaper. Just a typical “we buy houses” ad will probably work, or you can get a bit more creative. Some cities/counties keep a list of vacant properties. Bandit signs also work, but check local ordinances. Or, spend a few hundred and advertise in those free real estate books. You could also direct mail all the addresses in a targeted neighborhood offering each homeowner a $500 finder’s fee if they tell you about a distressed sale situation and you end up closing.

I think you’re wasting time working with a Realtor and using MLS, etc. This business is way too competitive for that. You will be up against every other investor out there, some of whom don’t need to buy as cheaply as you do.

As for birddogs, I suppose there are some people out there who do this and actually find good deals for people, but I’ve never met one. Most of the estimates for repairs are WAY off, and I’ve never seen an ARV that was close to the true market value. The ARV appears to be more what you could get an appraiser to say it’s worth to make a bank happy, but it’s not a market value.

I’d subscribe to a lead-generation service for starters. I use one that costs $39.95/month, and while most of the leads are garbage, you only need one deal to make that very worthwhile. I have found and closed one deal using this.

If you were going to do that, however, you would probably also want to implement the other marketing methods already mentioned. Of course, that means screening your own deals, something it sounds like you don’t have time to do.

When you Google “wholesale properties,” what listings do you see in your area? Anything interesting?

What exactly are you looking for? SFR, 2FR, 3FR, etc? What’s you’re price range? I know you probably want a 60-70% of FMV pricing so you stand to make a decent profit. Going by what I know of you & my assumptions that you’d prefer to spend 10-15% of ARV, I think your price range is 300,000 - 400,000 once the property is sold. Is that the case?