Real Estate Agent Edition – Driving for Dollars and Doors

Real Estate Agent Edition - Driving for Dollars and Doors with empty cobblestone street

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As a new real estate investor, a great way to find good deals are by driving around the desired area and looking for properties that appear to fit your criteria. For example, if you are looking for a duplex or triplex to house hack, you would set your location perimeters and drive around the neighborhood looking for vacant properties, multiple mailboxes that need some TLC, high grass in need of a cut, or no curtains in the windows are signs an owner may be ready to sell. It’s a tactic that has worked for years for investors and if done correctly, I believe will work for regular buyers as well. Something that I am sure has been done before, but in today’s tight market, it is an option that I am looking to turn to while I find my clients’ a home to purchase. 

Over the weekend, I spent time driving for potential properties that met my first-time home buyer’s criteria with hopes of finding an off-market deal. Together, we came up with a list of must-haves and a radius where my buyer is looking to live. This was the first time I have done this as a real estate agent in Philadelphia and it was interesting. Instead of looking for vacant or neglected properties, I focused on properties being updated or homes that had fencing as my client is looking for a place with a backyard. My lens was not looking for destressed, but “for sale and I don’t know it yet”. After about an hour of driving through Fishtown and East Kensington, I was surprised by the number of properties with potential and although nothing has come from this yet, I am sharing these insights for two reasons. 

The first reason is for real estate agents specifically who have buyers, but no homes. During this seller’s market, I am learning that being creative and looking for different ways to serve clients is a must. There is no, one shoe fits all approach, and it can be frustrating when you can’t serve your client. Keep trying different things and if you have something that you’re trying that you believe will work, share it!

The second reason is for my buyers working with real estate agents or buyers who are just looking. Buying a home is a stressful process when there is tons of available inventory. When inventory is low, like it has been in 2021, there is only one thing you can do: BE PATIENT. Continue to work with your agent and provide specific areas and must-haves you are looking for. If you are thinking about purchasing and are just starting, before you sign with an agent, understand the pros and cons of renting vs. buying (Blog Post – To Rent or To Buyer…That is the Question) and as you talk to real estate agents, make sure you create a must-have list (Blog Post – House Hunting Checklist). Finding a home is a partnership between the Real Estate Agent and the Buyer. Together, we can cover a lot of ground and in a seller’s market, this partnership can be the difference between finding your dream home or missing out on it. 

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