The last thing I would do would be to drive around looking for properties. The first thing I would do is head out to my local print shop or craft store such as Michael’s (if they are still in business). Look for chloroplast stock. This is the material that bandit signs are made of. While you are there pick up a stack of Post Its if you don’t have some at home and a ½” wide construction style black magic market. You may need to run over to Home Depot to pick one of these up and that is OK because while you are there, grab a staple hammer and a box of staples.
While you are out, drive by any local liquor stores. I am not talking about the high end liquor stores. I mean the ones where the parking lot is more gum than asphalt and the creepy dude with the skull cap hangs out all night leaning against the front wall chain smoking cigarettes. Out front, there are typically lots of racks with free classified ad sheets. Grab all the ones that have ads for rental houses or houses for sale.
Once you have acquired all your materials, go to Google and sign up for a Google phone number. You may consider using a cell phone number, however, I don’t know if they are traceable or not. You want to avoid being harassed by the sign police so do not use your home phone number.
Using your black marker, write “I BUY HOUSES” or “SELL YOUR HOUSE THIS WEEKEND!” on the signs. Then put your phone number down below. Notice the flutes (holes) on the ends of the chloroplast. You want to make your signs so the flutes are horizontal. That way, the wind won’t wrap them around the telephone poles you put them up on.
If you need help learning how to hang bandit signs, go to Youtube and type in “how to hang bandit signs.” There are dozens of videos and you will get a great education on how to hang them up. You will see some guys use the roofing nails with the plastic washers on them. I don’t care much for those. The staple hammer is fast and very effective. Once it gets way past bedtime, head out and hang up those bandit signs.
Early the next morning, get out the all the classified ad sheets you picked up and start looking at the For Rent, For Sale, and definitely the For Sale By Owners, or what they call Fisbos (FSBO). One thing I specifically look for under the For Rent category is the rentals that are in one area and have a phone number with an area code to a different area. We already know those people live away from their rental and they may consider selling. It is especially painful when an out of town owner has a vacant property. Start calling these ads and inquire about their house for sale. If they say it isn’t for sale, tell them you must have misread the ad, but since they are on the phone, would they consider selling it. Any owner who is ready to receive monthly payments is primed for seller financing.
When you are done ripping through the print ads, head to the internet and start searching Craigs List . You can search Google for any online classified ad pages or FSBO websites as well. Start sending out emails to everybody. Pay particular attention to anyone with a listing stating the property is available now. That means the property is vacant and if they are losing money on the mortgage, they could be a perfect candidate for seller financing, lease options, sandwich leasing, or a straight sale at a discount. Even if they don’t want to sell today, ask if they might consider selling at some point in the future.
Once you have gone through the online ads, hop in the car and head out to do some good old fashioned door knocking. Hit up your favorite neighborhood and start at one end of the street and work your way down both sides. Knock on the door. Take a few steps back and hold your hands folded in front of you to give off a non-threatening appearance. Don’t wear articles of clothing that cover your face like a hat and sunglasses. Don’t carry a clip board or anything that would give the appearance of a sales person. When someone comes to the door, great them kindly and tell them you are very interested in buying a house in the neighborhood. Then ask if they know anyone that might be interested in selling. When they point out the listed house down the street, tell them you are not looking for that kind of seller. You would prefer to deal with someone directly, someone who tried to sell in the past and it didn’t work out or someone who has had a change in their living situation such as a new baby, a divorce, or someone with a job transfer or loss. You will be surprised how much people know about their neighbors.
If nobody is home, pull out the Post It and write “I am interested in buying a house in this neighborhood.” Put your name and your Google phone number on it. If you have more time, go online and find a printer that sells custom made Post Its and get yellow ones that say NOTICE on it bold black letters. Stick your Post It on the front door or somewhere it will be visible especially if they have a garage they use that allows them to get into the house without going through the front door.