Locating distressed properties

This is just a collection of quotes from other authors about various ways to locate distressed properties. Pretty much all of the info is a repost.


For those wondering how to find distressed properties other than driving around, there are multiple methods to searching online. However, it should be noted that distressed properties come in many forms, and are not always called “distressed” outright. Look for ‘distressed properties for sale by owner’ that are delinquent in taxes and mortgage payments, properties that must be sold legally due to bankruptcy or divorce, probate deals, and properties that are owned by the banks or the government.

Starting with the first example, finding properties with tax delinquencies is luckily a straightforward process. The hardest part will be finding your local tax assessor’s web page that lists these properties. After you have found the site, simply search the listings until you have found a property you’re interested in. Another type of property that might be in distressed is one for which the owners have been delinquent on their mortgage payments, also known as “underwater.” These properties are usually in “pre-foreclosure,” and can be found on multiple listing sites such as your local county website or paid sites such as Foreclosure.com.

Properties that must be sold legally, such as through bankruptcy or divorce, may also be in distress. When looking through your county foreclosure listings, you may have already noticed listings that are listed as being auctioned for bankruptcy or divorce. Although not every county is required to list such properties, you can at least find properties that are up for auction. The probate court is yet another creative space to find distressed properties. A probate property is one that was owned by someone who has passed, but without leaving the property to anyone in their will. It should be noted that making an offer on a probate sale requires a special process, as the property is being sold through an attorney or an executor. Finally, investors should search through REO (real estate-owned) and government-owned properties that have already been foreclosed upon. When a property owner fails to make mortgage payments, the provider of the mortgage loan (in this case the bank or the government) retains the rights to reclaim the property. Many local and national banks have their own property listing sites, as do government entities such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Other suggestions from the same article:

Driving For Dollars
If you’re wondering where to find distressed properties, there is a traditional method that transcends time: hopping in the car and driving around. Assuming you already have a target neighborhood in mind, simply drive around and look for properties that stand out from others due to a state of neglect. Telltale signs to look out for include an overgrown yard, broken windows and shutters, exterior paint that is faded or peeling, notices that are posted on windows and doors, and junk mail and newspapers that are left uncollected. If you find a property that meets any or all of these descriptions, be sure to write down the address so you can start investigating.

Expanding on some of those suggestions, here is the article from BiggerPockets by Drew Sygit  called “6 Ways to Locate Distressed Properties Online

Finding properties with delinquent taxes is fairly straightforward if you can find the local tax assessor’s website. Depending on where you’re looking, you might need to Google for “[City Name] Tax Assessor” or “[County Name] Tax Assessor”

The best “underwater” properties are the ones that are right on the verge of foreclosure — they’re the most motivated sellers. In many parts of the United States, you can find an official publication of these houses by Googling for “[County Name] Legal Notices,” but you can also find reliable, easy-to-browse listings at RealtyTrac.comForeclosure.com, and HUDForeclosed.com

Another option is to cultivate relationships with local bankruptcy and divorce attorneys, so they call you when they encounter a motivated seller.  

Real estate-owned a.k.a. bank-owned properties aren’t just “distressed”; they’ve already been foreclosed upon. Most of them are just sitting empty, slowly costing the companies that own them money. On the downside, 100 percent of them are sold as-is, so if you don’t have a good reason to be confident that a particular home is solid, they can be a gamble. The best way to find REO properties is right here on BiggerPockets: a well-maintained list of REO searches that covers the entire country.

When the HUD, FreddyMac, or FannieMae insures a mortgage and that mortgage fails, those entities foreclose on the mortgaged homes just like a bank would. And when they do, they turn around and try to sell those homes, just like a bank does. Furthermore, properties are also frequently offered by several other government entities, such as the Department for Veterans Affairs or the FDIC. While every agency has its own rules and methods, you can start your research into this vast arena at the HUD Single-Family Homes for Sale webpage, which has links to each government department’s relevant webpage. There are also several solid links on the U.S. Marshal Services’ National Sellers List [PDF].

Yet more tips from article “How to Find Distressed Properties” by Angela Colley

One way to find distressed properties is to choose a target neighborhood, then drive around and eyeball the homes there. Be on the lookout for these telltale signs:

  • Properties that stand out from other homes on the block because they are in a state of neglect
  • Properties where the lights are not turned on at night
  • Homes with yards overgrown with weeds
  • Broken windows and shutters in need of repair
  • Faded and peeling paint
  • Notices post on doors or windows
  • Uncollected newspapers and junk mail

Be Wary of Web Searches
Internet searches can yield a wealth of information about distressed properties, but there are a few risks:

  • Many sites charge a fee to browse their database. Since you’ll have to pay upfront, you won’t know if the cost was worth it until you’ve already paid.
  • Not all sites guarantee their information. What you’re looking at online may not be what you see in person.
  • Some listings are outdated. You may waste time by looking at already-sold homes.
  • If you’re browsing online, be sure to stick with a reputable free site. Try browsing realtor.com®’s Homes for Sale to get an idea of what is available in your area.

Starting real estate agent classes

And so it begins! I am making the first tangible step toward my real estate investment career. Today is day 1 of my real estate agent classes. Sat and Sun, 8 am-5.30pm. Can’t wait.

RE agents income – articles

I am considering my options for going into real estate full time next year. Part of my income will (hopefully) come from a couple of flips. The rest I want to make as relevant to my flips and rentals as possible. So, real estate agent for a couple of first years is a natural choice, but the financials overall need to be considered. Hopefully, the byproduct of my efforts to find good flips will be finding many properties that are not a good flip but could still be sold. I am hoping to be the first person to interact with the seller, and therefore have the opportunity to list the property. Nevertheless, I have to count on the worst-case scenario. So, here is my review

Average REA salaries in Texas by city are listed here (2019). Long story short, the average is about 41K/year for Dallas. Since I am doing this to educate myself about the buyers’ tastes, I can consider this to be paid internship. But 41K is a little low for me for a year overall, assuming that I won’t make much on my first couple of flips. But for year 1 it might work.

This article suggest starting real estate agent income as a part time income.

HOW TO GET A TEXAS REAL ESTATE LICENSE

I am starting to look for info on getting the RE agent license. Here is the rundown:

To earn your real estate license in Texas, you must be 18 years of age, complete 180 hours of approved education, obtain a sponsoring broker, submit required fees and forms to Texas Real Estate Commission, submit to fingerprinting, and pass the state exam. While the process to become a real estate agent is similar in most states, each state has its unique steps that must be adhered to. The seven steps to becoming a Texas real estate agent are as follows:

Requirements to Obtain Your Texas Salesperson License

Step 1: Must be at least 18 years of age.

Step 2: Register for and complete 180 hours of required education:

In order to apply for the Texas Real Estate License Exam, the state requires you to complete 180 hours of TREC-approved college-level real estate courses. Kaplan offers four education options that fulfill the 180-hour requirement.

View Licensing Packages

Step 3: Consider obtaining a sponsoring broker

In order to practice as a real estate salesperson, you must be sponsored by a licensed Texas real estate broker. You and your sponsor will both need to complete and submit the Sponsorship Form.

Step 4: Submit forms and fees to TREC

After completing the required 180 hours of licensing education, submit all education documents to TREC, including real estate school certificates.

Active or inactive initial license?

You’ll need to decide if you’d prefer an active or inactive license.

  • To apply for an active license to practice real estate, include with your initial mailing the Salesperson Sponsorship (SSF-2) form signed by a licensed Texas real estate broker.
  • To apply for an inactive license, submit only the Inactive Salesperson Application forms at this time. Submit the SSF-2 form later to activate your license.

Note: These forms can be downloaded at www.trec.texas.gov, or you may complete this process online athttps://mylicense.trec.texas.gov/datamart/mainMenuTXREC.do.

Step 5: Schedule your license examination and fingerprinting

After you receive your response letter from TREC approving you and directing you to the Candidate Information Brochure, you can schedule your exam with Pearson Vue. You will also receive direction on how to submit your fingerprints for review. You have one year from the date your application is filed to pass the examination.

Step 6: Prepare for the exam

By taking Kaplan’s world-renowned Exam Prep course, you will have no surprises on exam day. The Texas Real Estate Exam Prep program is available as a Live Class or video OnDemand Course.

Step 7: Take the state exam

Once you have passed the state exam and your fingerprints are on file, you will receive an Active or Inactive Salesperson License from TREC via email (remember to monitor your junk mail folder).


These are the TREC approved schools where I can take the necessary courses. It looks like there are 6 two-week courses in total, running $180-$220 per course, to get the right number of hours.

Online courses:

Realestateexpress.com: packages starting from $500 to $1000, originally it was a redirect from MyMetroTex web site, they have some CE info as well

RETTSchool has the in-person courses at $800 on weekends in Plano, some start in June and end in August, might be perfect for me

Dallas County Community College has pretty expensive courses, at about $200/piece, for prep courses but also for additional courses that might be useful later on

More articles from Chad Carson to read

I will read this when I am tired or bored or have to spend some time sitting and waiting for something. This is from Coach Carson, one of my favorite writers on BiggerPockets.com

Your Team: The Main Ingredient of Real Estate Stardom

Wednesday, October 19Entrepreneurship, investing, and life can become lonely roads. It’s easy to feel like we have the weight of the world on our individual shoulders.That’s why I love reminders from great teachers like hall of fame basketball coach John Wooden, who said “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of…

Subject-to the Mortgage: A Simple & Profitable Explanation

Monday, April 14[This is part 7 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying investment properties subject-to an existing mortgage. Because this particular strategy is a little nontraditional, I recommend watching my video to really get the concept. But first, if you want

Credit Partners – How to Do Deals With a Partner’s Credit and Cash

Monday, April 07[This is part 6 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying properties with a credit partner. If you’re a visual learner, I sketch out the moving parts in more detail in my YouTube video. First, if you want to review my previous articles in the creative

When to Use Lease Options For Purchases

Wednesday, April 02[This is part 5 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying properties with lease options (my YouTube video also breaks the topic down further). Some of my most profitable deals of all time have come from the combination of leases and options, so I’m excited to

How to Create a Private “IRA-Bank” For Your Deals

Tuesday, March 25[This is part 4 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about my most-used creative financing tool: self-directed IRA loans. If you want to review my three previous articles about creative financing, check them out here: 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank

How Seller Financing Really Works

Sunday, March 16[This is part 3 of 7 in a series about creative financing] My last two articles have introduced the concept of creative financing: 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing My Creative Financing Toolbox (And Why You Need It Too). In this article and short video

More Options or More Money? My Personal Struggle.

Wednesday, March 12In Oliver Stone’s iconic movie, Wall Street, Charlie Sheen plays a young hotshot in the stock market. At one point he confides to his girlfriend a personal dream. “I think if I can make a bundle of cash before I’m thirty and get out of this racket

My Creative Financing Toolbox (And Why You Need It Too)

Monday, March 10[This is part 2 of 7 in a series of articles about creative real estate financing.] In my last article, I gave 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing. Bank financing isn’t bad, of course. There are many times when it’s very appropriate. My main problem with

6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing

Monday, March 03[This is part 1 of 7 in a series of articles about creative real estate financing. Each installment will include an article and a short, 10-15 minute YouTube video] I graduated from Clemson University in 2002. Soon after graduating I began real estate investing full-time with a busines

How to Win Game #2 – Create Passive Cash Flow

Thursday, February 27In my last two articles I shared that we are all playing two financial games and I shared How to Win Game #1: Cash Now (Survival). In this article I will share a two-part real estate game plan to win Game #2 – creating passive cash flow. First, a definition. My idea of

How to Win Financial Game #1 – Cash Now (Survival)

Thursday, February 27In my last article I shared that we are all playing two financial games. For review, the two games as I see them are: Game #1 – Cash Now: The game of active income and of survival. Success is earning more than you spend. Game #2 – Cash Flow: The game of passive income and of freedom

The Two Financial Games You Play (and How to Win)

Sunday, February 23Whenever I think about the big picture of real estate investing, I like to remember a very important reality before getting into the nuts and bolts. The reality is this: We are trying to win two different financial games. Just like basketball and baseball, these two financial games have

How to Get What You REALLY Want: The 3 Currencies of Life

Monday, February 10[Part 1 of an ongoing series about my big picture wealth and real estate game-plan] “[I]n spite of the fact that America is famous for its unhappy rich people, most of us remain convinced that just a little more money will set life right. In this way, the messianic metaphor of modern

My Sprint up the Real Estate Mountain

Monday, February 03Out of the Starting Blocks: When I first started my real estate investing business, I studied a few different successful investors whose business models really intrigued me. These investors were buying, fixing up, and selling 50 houses per year! The investors were also averaging $20,000

My “Go or No Go System”: How I Decide to Do a Deal (or Not)

Wednesday, January 29Real estate investors seem to gravitate to one of two extremes when it comes to doing deals: Analysis paralysis: frozen in fear of making a mistake Emotional exuberance: being too aggressive, too optimistic, and irrational. I am not exempt. I have visited both of those places from time

10 Lethal Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

Your first investment will be a learning process. While you’ll definitely make a few mistakes along the way, there are a few common pitfalls that can be avoided if you educate yourself beforehand.

REI – conclusions for today

Rumi quotes

After spending literally whole day on BiggerPockets.com I came to two solid conclusions:

  1. Buy and hold may be a questionable strategy for me at this time because I do not have the cash reserves yet to put up for downpayments and all that good stuff, and the rental income alone may not be able to give me enough of a margin to save for the new downpayment
  2. To build the cash reserves, flipping properties seems to be the most common path, and the one I have most advice on. I will spend the first 2-3 years of my REI career becoming a good flipper that does not need a constant hand-holdng, and then start using some of that cash to hold some of the units I flipped through refinancing after the flip.

After reading Chad’s article on quitting the 9-5 and starting a 24/7, I think that I will use the next year to get my real estate license, find brokers who could use my skills, start connecting with people who will become my team mates, do “go alongs” with real estate agents, brokers, flippers.

I will use Chad’s plan and proceed with all his prep steps while my husband and I pay off our debt from credit cards, which will take 14-16 months in itself to happen. But at least now I have a very detailed plan from Chad, and whenever I have a plan, I can execute.

Today was meant to be. It was meant that I would find Chad’s article, and all the reading I have done for 9 hours before-hand allowed me to narrow down my choices to his suggested path.

How to quit your job and invest in real estate – by Chad Carson (Coach Carson)

Two absolutely astonishingly informative articles published on BiggerPokets

This is just a small excerpt of his extensive Article #1

Here are my initial sources of education:

Here is his article #2 about building the team, starting to review listings, and trying to make offers


Here is Chad’s blog on DeeperPockets: https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/4712-chad-carsons-blog

REI books to read

The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs

How much does it really cost to renovate your investment property?

Learn detailed tips, tricks, and tactics to accurately budget nearly any house flipping project and investment property renovation from expert real estate investor and fix-and-flipper J Scott. Discover the tried-and-tested steps of his professional framework and methodology for precisely evaluating renovation costs in hundreds of his own successful rehab projects. Determine how to accurately estimate all the costs you are likely to face during renovation—and get all of your rehab questions answered in a single place!

Whether you are preparing to walk through your very first rehab project or you’re an experienced home flipper, this handbook will be your guide to identifying renovation projects, creating a scope of work, and staying on budget to ensure a timely profit! You don’t need to be a contractor to flip houses, but you do need to know the fundamentals of budgeting and pricing your renovation—including everything from cosmetic renovations to complex installations and upgrades. This book gives you the estimation tools needed to produce the income you desire on your first—or next—investment deal! 

Money People Deal: The Fastest Way To Real Estate Wealth By Stefan Aarnio

The Five Million Dollar Book is a guide to raising capital and putting together real estate joint ventures. This book was a tool used by the author to raise over five million dollars of cash to build his fortune in real estate

REI articles

On finding opportunities

On finding the first deal properties: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/new-investor-simplified-first-deal-guide/

Evaluating opportunities

The 8 most important evaluation formulas to understand and memorize: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2016/01/13/top-8-real-estate-calculations/

Multi-family investments for 1st timers: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/multifamily-first-investment/

On putting the margin of safety into every deal: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/the-surest-way-to-destroy-your-real-estate-investing-career/

Miltifamily market seems to be cooling off – strategies for this period: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/multifamily-market-cooling/

Possible upcoming multi-family crash may resemble the subprime crisis. Very interesting graphs on market cycle analysis: https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/6082/79792-how-the-multifamily-market-may-crash-like-the-subprime-crisis

More advice on how not to overpay for miltifamily: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/stop-overpaying-for-multifamily/

On saying “no” to wrong opportunities

The guide to due diligence: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/due-diligence-ultimate-guide/

https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/dead-lady-succeed-real-estate/

Interesting step-by-step due-diligence walk-through for an apartment building: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/doing-due-diligence-example-apartment-complex/

Biggest discoveries during due diligence: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/311/topics/669931-what-have-been-your-biggest-discoveries-during-due-diligence


“Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that make you rich!” JD Martin

Common mistakes in REI

6 common mistakes new investors make: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/10/19/6-common-mistakes-investors/

On investments in self-storage

https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/high-demand-continues-self-storage/

On various negotiating tactics

Make deals fearlessly: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/11/26/real-estate-negotiating-101-make-deal-fearlessly/

Investment strategies

Buy and hold vs flip and go – https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/10/21/buy-and-hold-real-estate-is-the-ultimate-investment-heres-why/

How to start as a hustler, even some 1st-year hustle suggestions: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/11/19/hustle-the-single-most-important-factor-to-finding-real-estate-deals/

Calculating how many rental properties I need to retire: https://www.coachcarson.com/how-many-rental-properties-to-retire/

The Shiny Strategy Syndrome: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2016/02/28/shiny-strategy-syndrome/

 

On your investment philosophy

On how to set your investment philosophy by establishing clear goals: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/new-investor-simplified-first-deal-guide/

Adopting the screw it, let’s do it attitude for newbies – https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/screw-it-lets-do-it/

Focusing on Why before focusing on What and How- https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2016/06/08/real-estate-investors-learn-apple/

Buffet-ology applied to REI: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/10/15/how-to-use-a-margin-of-safety-to-avoid-financial-disaster-the-buffett-series/

A little bit more of Buffet-ology thinking: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/ignore-principle-youll-destroy-real-estate-career/

I guess, sometimes you do not mind overpaying for a multi-family property? An interesting discussion here: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/why-are-so-many-overpaying-multifamily/

Current RE market conditions

Study showing that currently US is not in a bubble situation overall, although some cities are an exception: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/07/16/housing-bubble-7-us-markets/

Strategies to succeed in the cooling market: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/succeed-in-a-cooling-market/

How to recognize signs of the housing bubble, and what to do to make money during the bubble: https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/11/18/invest-property-fear-bubble/