A few of you have asked how we found our first flip. Finding a suitable property is pretty easy; that hard part is seeing it before another investor has already placed a bid on the property.
To actually find the homes, we use both Zillow and the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). While Zillow is a powerful tool, it usually updates a day or two after the MLS. As an investor, timing is key because some of the most desirable properties will have multiple bids within the first several days.
The MLS system sends us an automated email each morning with newly active listings in our target market. These listings are filtered based on our criteria, like the city, number of beds/baths and square footage. While important, I look at those later in the process. The first metric I look at is price (can I make a profit?) and the description (does it read: TLC-needed, DIY special, updates needed, foreclosure, etc). Oh, and the pictures. I look at the pictures. The uglier, the better. From there, I build my list of potential investments. It’s time consuming, but I typically do it over a glass of wine.
Once we have a list of properties we’d like to see, our Realtor schedules a marathon showing session. We spend less than 30 minutes in each home, mostly because touring foreclosures (no power / no heat) in the Cleveland winter is miserable. Check out a few of the properties we’ve toured and bid on, but ultimately lost to other investors:
The kitchen in my college house was nicer
Not bad, but it still needed some love