How to find deals [no short-cuts]

Let's get one one unpleasant truth out of the way, before we go any further…

Nothing I'm about to tell you is “easy”. Nor will you necessarily get results quickly.

It might help if you can imagine “effort” and “money” being on a see-saw.

If you have plenty of money, you can kick back and take it easy: you can buy “off the shelf”, without getting a particularly good deal, and you'll still be able to build up a portfolio that does very nicely for you indeed.

But if you don't have a lot of money, the only way to build a portfolio is to compensate with a helluva lot of effort.

(Because, well…if there was a method that involved no cash and no effort, don't you think everyone would be doing it?)

There's no point fighting it, getting angry about it, or buying into the latest “quick fix” solution. There is no solution: if you don't have the cash, you have to do the work.

So bearing in mind that every method will involve a good amount of hard work (and persistence, and experimentation)…how do you actually find these deals?

Like I said earlier, I'm aware of at least 20 different ways. Each has its own pros and cons, and will suit a different type of person – based on your skills, the amount of time you have to invest, and what type of thing you like doing.

For now, let's pick three of the most common routes to property deals:

1: Estate agents and letting agents

This is the easiest way of finding a large number of properties quickly: after all, estate and letting agents already spend lots of time and money attracting property owners, and they conveniently list all their available properties online.

Just one obstacle: they have no particular interest in working with you. They’re in the business of finding tenants or buyers the normal way, so at best you’re giving them extra work to do by understanding your model and presenting it to their clients – and at worst, they’ll resist because they think you’re trying to cut them out and they won’t get their fee.

Making this method work is an exercise in relationship-building. Many agents just flat-out won’t get it, and that’s fine – but if you spend time building rapport with the few that do, there’s a possibility that they’ll be willing to put your offer forward.

Like anyone, agents are interested in what’s in it for them. So, you’ll need to explain from the start that you’ll make sure they get their fee as usual. “Get paid the same for doing less work” is a compelling pitch, if you can get them to understand the benefits of your model.

2: Direct mail

Putting letters and leaflets through the letter box works for letting agents, and they can work for you too.

Assuming you can explain the benefits of your offer in a concise and compelling way, the main obstacle then becomes: whose doors do you put them through?

Depending on what you're trying to achieve, there are various ways of getting smarter than just blasting every house within a certain radius. Those include:

  • Getting a list from the council of who owns all the HMOs in the area, and writing to them to see if the management is getting too much for them
  • Finding properties listed for rent on Rightmove and Zoopla, and sending letters to the properties offering to take the property on a long-term let
  • Finding roads that you know would work well for your strategy, and just targeting every house on those streets

3: Online adverts

Google and Facebook are by far the most popular places to advertise online. It's a rare person above the age of 10 and below the age of 70 who doesn't use at least one of them on a regular basis. That means they present an opportunity to reach the people who have the property problems you can solve.

There’s a learning curve to figuring out how each platform works from a technical point-of-view, but the basic task for you as a marketer is the same: figure out who you’re targeting, then put the right message in front of them to pique their interest and start a conversation.

Depending on how naturally “techy” you are this might be something where you just wouldn’t know where to start, or it might sound like by far the best option in the list. Point is, these are just three examples: whatever your particular skills, there will be a marketing method that suits you perfectly.

Now…it's decision time

Believe it or not, you've now read over 3,500 words about this topic. If you read at an average speed, that means you're about 12 minutes in.

(If you read slowly, quickly think about whether you have any pets or children who you haven't fed in a while.)

Enough reading. Time to make a decision.

Now you've got this far, you understand the truth that most property education hides from you: if you don't have the cash to build up your property portfolio, you'll need to invest a whole load of time and effort – and learn new skills – to compensate.

There are two ways you could react to this:

Possibility 1: This all sounds like far too much hard work. Owning a property portfolio and making passive income is a nice dream, but realistically you're just not going to do it. Back to the day job it is!

Chances are, if you're thinking this way you would've stopped reading a page or two ago. But just in case you're reading on, expecting me to get to the end and say “Only kidding – it's easy! Here's how…”

…No, not going to happen. This is your cue to click away to something more interesting.

Still here?

Then you must fall into the second category.

Possibility 2: You finally believe that there is a way you can build a portfolio. You know it's not going to be easy…but you're excited to finally have the beginnings of a vision.

Don't underestimate the importance of having reached this stage.

Without belief that something is possible, you'll never be able to achieve it.

Without understanding the challenges (and knowing that the end result will be worth it), you'll never make it past the inevitable frustrations and setbacks.

So, you've come a long way…but you're not there just yet.

You understand the general concept, but there's still a lot more detail you need to know before you can get started.

So pop in your email address below, and we'll get on with that right now…