In almost every seminar I've ever attended, a lot of time has been devoted to teaching attendees how to find good deals. Because deal-finding IS so crucial to one’s investing success, I recently decided to look back and see which methods have generated the most deals and the best deals for me. In reviewing the 150 properties I've bought or flipped over the last 5 years, I was surprised to find that many of the "traditional" sources of great deals haven't worked for me, while some less obvious methods have been great lead generators. I’d like to share with you the results of my little inventory.
Good: The Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is essentially a catalog of all the properties listed for sale by brokers. Needless to say, some of them are good deals for investors, and some aren’t. The trick is to ferret out which properties have motivated sellers without making offers on all of them. I've honed this skill through years of translating agent lingo like, "Handyman's special" (looks bad, smells bad, has at least one major system that doesn’t function), "needs TLC" (ugly, but not smelly, and everything works).