How to find properties in my area

Lately home values have gone up in my area and I find it increasingly difficult so find homes in my price range. I typically buy Single family homes around or under 100K and rent them out. I managed to pick up a couple of houses over the past few years and looking to keep at it however it’s getting harder. Until now I have bought homes from owner using a broker. Some were short sales and others were just good deals (owner can’t manage property and didn’t properly asses value etc.).

Going forward any suggestions on how to increase my portfolio? I have been scanning Zillow but that hasn’t worked for me yet. I have 2 agents that pass on good deals to me but lately that’s been drying up. Should I try to go the auction method, not for flipping but for renting them out? Homepath looks like they have good deals but in my area there are many investors which makes it hard to nail a good deal. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


If you are looking for a good deal - along with the who knows how many other investors in your area - Zillow and Trulia are not going to cut it. It can take up to 60 days to get a listing on those sites. Meaning that all the good deals are already gone.

Keep working with your real estate agent to farm the MLS. Ask them to daily run new listing searches so you get first pick.

While waiting, start looking outside of the MLS. Keep your eye pealed for run down, abandoned or slummy properties. These often indicate an uninterested owner. Contact property management companies to see if any landlords are interested in selling. Mail letters to out of area property owners. Check out real estate tax auctions - they are much less risky than foreclosure auctions.

I would agree with Simon on his assessment and add homes listed for sale AND for rent by owners, homes listed as lease purchases, listings with long distant numbers in ad, and listings with photos showing vacant homes of minimal furniture as though the home is staged.

Herein is where you will likely find motivated sellers who will do something creative to rid themselves of their property obligations.

Hope this helps.


Good advice about looking outside the box.

Best ad I ever ran simply said something like:“TIRED of tenants, got a DON’T WANTA HOUSE, …etc” Got amazing results.

One lady had just divorced and did not want the condo and GAVE it to me.

You could try an area close-by and experience whether your area has much more worth than any nearby places you could try.

I guess looking home for sale at online sites is best method…

There are number of options to find your dream house in your nearby areas.

  1. Search on classified Ads
    2.Talk to nearby Real Estate professional
    3.Search by your own
    4.Post classifieds with your contact details.
    5.Look up news papers

Good Luck!

Recently I purchased a trail membership to for $1 for 20 days just to see if I liked it and so far it’s been very helpful. It contains listings in every state and county on REO’s, Foreclosures, Short Sales, Bank Owned, and more. It’s easy after 20 days to discontinue,just go on the site and cancel. I think I will go for the 6 month offer they have for $99 I think it would be worth it. Hope this helps. Carolyn, Ky.

You might talk to your neighbors to know where you can find properties in your area. They can also tell you about the house’s conditions which its very useful when considering buying it.

You may also go to your city/town/county hall and ask for assistance where you can find vacant property in you area. Typically you can check in the tax commissioner and probate court. Try to gather as much information about the property including the name of title owner and liens of the property.

In my opinion, Online real estate portals like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor, Craigslist and more are the best ways to find property in your area.
You can also take help from a local real estate agent.

Hi Caroline,
I agree with you, online real estate portals are the best place to find a property in your area.

Find in the websites might be a good place to find an apartment or house to rent, if you want to go through the entire list to find one in your state and then city.

Either you can consult any realtor or else can go with the online home selling sites.

I would normally agree that Trulia, Zillow and Craigslist are great resources, but those sites are easy to mine nowadays by tech savvy investors. I’ve been doing that for a few years now, and my margins have slimmed. This caused me to switch to mining other databases and resources that are a little out of the box. For example, obituaries to look up recently deceased to contact family members who might be willing to sell the home of a loved one quickly or depending on which county you live, retrieving a list of individuals who have delinquent property tax prior to property being seized by the county for tax sale auction. Both are massive lists that when combined with Bill H’s recommendation of an ad sent to the general area, yields potential opportunities.

FYI this process is data intensive so having the assistance of someone who can pull down data for you will make your life a lot easier.

Best of luck.

You can seek professional retalor to find property.

You could call/mail absentee owners, people with code violations or people who have had their tax debt sold. There are many ways to find distressed properties you can buy at a discount. You can also get on the buyers list of wholesalers in your areas.

All really good stuff. Did she really give you a condo? funny