Property investment tip 21: How to find properties on sale which are not listed on the Internet

Many first time home buyers often only rely on websites to find properties on sale. In a technological age, this search method is the most obvious choice.

However, smart investors also use their initiative to source properties that are not listed on the Internet. This means the market competition is often reduced as less buyers are aware that the property is on sale.

Below are seven tips, which I have personally tested, to help you find properties which may not yet be listed on the Internet:

  1. Drop an ‘interest to buy‘ letter to home owners on your desired streets. Don’t give up if you receive no responses; distribute your letters frequently. Some owners may not want to sell immediately, but at least they will remember you once they are ready, or they might refer your letter to a suitable neighbour.
  2. If you are interested in a specific property, find out who the owner is by downloading the land registry document for a small fee. This is legal in Australia and the UK. Once you know the name of the owner and the area they live in, you can use LinkedIn or Facebook to locate this person, and send your expression of interest. I’ve use this research method to successfully locate the owner of a property I want to buy – we are currently negotiating.
  3. Post a tweet on Twitter, similar to “Does anyone have an apartment in #CamdenTown for sale? I’m interested in buying.” Remember to hashtag the location. I did this once, and a Twitter user told me that his neighbor was planning to sell his apartment. I did place an offer which, unfortunately, fell through. Nonetheless, I think this is still an effective house hunting method.
  4. Befriend the local real estate agents and visit their office once a week so they remember your face. Once you build a face-to-face relationship with the agents, they’re more likely to inform you of new properties which will shortly be on sale.
  5. Ask prominent or long-standing business owners, particularly those of restaurants and cafes, if they know of any local residents selling their property. The more close-knit the community is, the more gossip these business owners should be aware of.
  6. Ask your local councillor or visit the ‘planning permission’ section on the local council website to uncover any future town regeneration plans. Contact the listed developer to find out when the construction is schedule. Regeneration billboards with the developer’s contacts may also be posted in the redevelopment zone.
  7. Join a local parenting social group. For example, my town has a Watsapp mum and dad’s group with a very strong social following. These users exchange community news daily, including property news. You don’t always have to be a parent to join; you just need one person to connect you to the group.

So there you have it; seven tips on less common methods on how to find properties on sale.

My final advice is that you should use a combination of the listed methods and be persistent. Most sellers won’t respond to your first request.

When you do finally make contact with a seller, remember that your communication needs to focus on the benefits to the seller – not the benefits for yourself.

Saving money and saving time would be the key benefit to sellers. They can save thousands from not paying agent or marketing fees, and often the sale process can be quicker when third parties are not involved.

So have you got any other tips on how to find properties on sale which are not listed on the Internet?

Please note, though I own a few properties, I am not a legal, financial or professional property expert. I’ve written this post to share my personal experiences and would love to hear your opinions and views.

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