What is the approach of part-timers?

I am a youngish professional, a real estate investor by accident. The house we left behind to relocate is now renting and cashflowing. I am an avid investor in other realms, though real estate is always interesting to me.

I’ve done a fair amount of research, and I know that properties must be purchased far below the going rate to make much sense to an investor. This seems to restrict prime properties to the people willing or able to put in a lot of time seeking the properties out.

There are a lot of gimmicks directed at people like myself. Websites like RealtyTrac and such that purport to provide access to income generating properties. I don’t generally buy into the hype.

My question to the board: considering that you are like me, only interested in real estate as a part-time investment (i.e. acquiring a new property ever 3-5 years, for diversification, primarily), how would you go about finding your deals? I have heard everything from jogging through neighborhoods and noting the vacant/rundown rentals, to going to the county office and seeing who is being foreclosed on. I’ve even heard that people sometimes just look at the advertised homes and offer 70% of asking price, thinking someone is bound to cave in.

So: how would you proceed if you were looking for a new investment property every now and then, but it wasn’t your bread and butter…?


You need to ask yourself, do you want to rehab property that you plan to hold as rental or do you just want to find a good deal that may need minimal work?

To buy at 70% you most likely are going to get something that needs a lot of work. One strategy would probably be to buy, rehab and then refinance to get you money back out when you put a tenant in it.

the #1 thing you have to understand is YOUR MARKET. While plenty of people like to brag about what great deals they get, you need to find deals that work for you. Good deals can be found on the MLS, but these are not going to be home-run, super deals (like pre-foreclosures or sheriffs sales). However, be warned there are a lot of deals on the MLS that are not suitable for investors. With that said, the very best deals I have gotten were either pre-MLS listed or <10 days on the market. I had one property I bought it was 1 DOM. I had the first offer in at 8am the next day after it came out (late inthe afternoon). There were 11 other offers by noon. I knew it was a great deal because I knew that market very well.

I started out 8 yrs ago with some partners and then 6 yrs ago started on my own. I’ve always been a part-timer, but with a goal of 1-2 deals per year. Well, that was like 25 deals ago…

One the keys whether you are a part-time or full time is to have a good team; especially an agent you understands that what might be great for an owner occupant does not necessarily make a good investment property. The main problem with your once in awhile (3-5 yrs) strategy is you will not be active enough to keep your team together or understand what is going on in the marketplace.

REI is a very flexible thing and many ways to accomplish successful deals. However, regardless of how you do it, it does take a good bit of work and time to make money.

Good luck