I used to run a coaching program and I gave out assignments to the students on each call. I quickly learned that only about 1/2 participated in the 'homework.' I couldn't force people to get a return on their investment. That is what the cost of entering my program was. It was an investment. I'd love to have been able to do it for free, but I know if I did, lots of people would have joined, but few, if any, would ever use the information. They'd show up, be entertained and glamorize in their own mind the idea of being a successful investor, and then they'd go home and do just what they did the day before; the actions that made them no money. By charging a reasonable amount, but enough so that it created some pain, I thought it would inspire the heck out of the students to get their money back plus a return. And, I wouldn't just be wasting my weekends. If I were going to work on the weekends and not make offers, I still intended to be paid the same as if I worked in the office.
I was telling everyone exactly what I did to get deals. I didn't keep any secrets. During the training, I was consistently buying properties. I showed my exact MLS searches I had set up. I looked at those every day. Not just once a day Monday thru Friday. I looked at them on Saturday and Sunday. I even took a seller call on Thanksgiving day. I made offers on the properties that came up for sale in those farms. If my offers were getting accepted and the student's offers were not, I explained how they needed to re-look at their numbers and figure out why they were coming up with their maximum offer. Maybe they were over budget on their rehab expenses? Maybe they under estimated ARV? There was a particular property listed in the MLS that I showed them in class. One of the students said the most he would pay for that property was $81K, but I assure you, when he got home, he never wrote it up and sent it to the agent.
The deals are out there. Looking at the MLS doesn't get agents banging on your door begging you to sign an offer on them. Agents are lazy people. Some of the laziest I have ever met. They don't work until noon, then they immediately go to lunch. They don't ever answer their phones and rarely return calls. When times are tough, they just go out of business. If you want them to help you, you need to be hounding them.
The one thing you all should get from this blog is that this business is not easy. If you believe the late night info gurus who tell you it is while they are sitting in a chair, on the pool deck of a house (that they rented for the infomercial shoot), strategically positioned to have someone else' yacht in the background, then maybe real estate is not for you. It is not for everyone. We all can't be landlords. The business is not difficult, but it isn't easy. It takes work. Lots and lots of simple and redundant work. That is why I have a constant reminder on my daily list that says "Consistent and Persistent Action!" They are simple actions, but if I am not doing them, nobody else is going to care... Well, except maybe my creditors! My mom doesn't care. My neighbor doesn't care. The agents don't care. It will only be reflected in MY bank account. I guarantee you I start writing a lot more offers when my checking account starts falling below a comfortable level.
So what do you need to do? Get your nose into the MLS. Search Craigslist. Post ads. Send mail. Put up bandit signs. Try running an ad in the classifieds. Attend monthly REIA meetings and tell people you are looking for properties to buy. Take the calls and keep writing those offers. Do something! Those who grind it out will have measurable results.