Have you heard “get started investing without using any of your own money”, sure you have and many people believe this statement. However we all know nothing in life is free. I do agree there is a cost for most things. In this article I am going to introduce to you some free or low cost tools for wholesalers to use when starting out.
Low Cost Tools
Starting out broke, busted, and disgusted I did not have the huge marketing budget that I would hear many investor talk about. They would say you have to know your marketing budget…… sure no problem $0 (actually it was more like $100), so how do I get started with that? Well you can’t, so I had to start my own mailing campaign sending out 200 letters a month. Discouraging….when you hear other talking about mailing 10,000. (Well… from the 200 letters I was able to get a property under contract!)
The following are some of the tools I’ve used to find success as a wholesaler – and I hope you can use them to find the same!
Tool #1) Redfin
When wholesaling, I have to find comparable sales to the subject property so I know what my after repair value is. If you do not have access to the MLS, like I didn’t, Redfin has a wonderful “Whats My House Worth” link on their website that will show you all the recent houses sold in the area along with the date they sold for. This is great for determining the after repair value.
(When looking at the comps, you’ll need to know about how much the repairs are. I have experience in renovating properties, so I am familiar with the process, but if you are new at it you should check out J Scott’s “The Book on Flipping Houses” and “The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs.” I hear they are good if you have no experience in this matter!)
#2) Tax Assessor
I also utilize the tax assessor’s website to get additional pieces of information about the property and the owners. I was able to use this to confirm the square footage, lot square footage, age of the house, and how long they owned the house. I also use the Tax Assessor’s site to confirm that they are, indeed, the owners.
#3) Google Maps
This may seem elementary to have this on the list but remember: I was broke; driving around looking at houses was not an option.
Most importantly I would use Google Maps to help me build rapport. Sellers would often ask me if I had seen the house and because of Google Streetview, now I could say “yes” and feel confident in my conversation with them. For some reason, psychologically, it made me feel more comfortable looking at the property while I was speaking with them on the phone.
#4) Chicago Title “Premier Services”
This is not for all areas but Chicago Title has a tool called Premier Services, which is another excellent resource I use that gives the property history, escrow profile, mortgage lender information as well as comps for the properties I am looking at. I use this because it is good for researching how much the owner possibly might owe on the property, or if they are going through a foreclosure process. This is absolutely free but you have to contact Chicago Title for a username and ability log in.
Having this great informational resources can strengthen your position when it comes to negotiating.
Biggerpockets.com is a wealth of information. This is a social site for real estate investors of all levels. There are novice just starting out as well as those who’ve done hundreds of flips. This platform has blog content, podcast, evaluation tools and many other features all pertaining to real estate investing. This would be a great place to start.
This is essential! Any good wholesaler will have a CRM tool that can help you be more organized with your leads. This helps me:
- schedule follow up calls,
- make notes from our last conversation,
- show if I have made an offer
- what the amount of the offer is
- and a lot more.
The Podio CRM is definitely the hub of my organization. There are many functions, so it can be a little confusing, but understanding the wide scope of the tools this CRM has is worth the time and effort to research this tool.
#7) Constant Contact
Once the property under contract then the next step is to immediately market the property. I use ConstantContact, which is a database that stores all my cash buyers’ emails and other contact information. This tool also makes sure that all my marketing material remain consistent and professional. Remember – this is a business and not just a hobby. As with any business, your business and product must be easily identifiable.
Some investors us a simple email and send their information out. Sure, this is ok if you are just starting out… but for a few dollars a month you can have a very professional approach.
#8) Social Media
As with other marketing pieces; content and visual ascetics should remain consistent!
These tools helped me start from nothing in a new place, with minimal resources. If you apply some of these tools in your business, they will help you tremendously.
There are many more tools, like the MLS, Microsoft Excel, other having report-building skills, that are also important and maybe even essential – but this list of 8 should get you off to a great start!
Are there other tools that are in your toolbox that you use to close deals? We would love to hear and learn new technological advances, so please share your tips and comments below!