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Eagle Eye: How to Spot Great Real Estate Deals a Mile Away

real estate deals in Westminster, MarylandMaking great real estate deals is essential to your success as a real estate investor.

Still, while some people think that others are just born with an eagle eye for a great deal, the truth is that anybody can learn to make great real estate deals.

To do this you simply need to learn to ask the right questions to prescreen every daily comes across your table.

This is important because if you happen to buy a property for too much money, you can find yourself stuck with a property that yields little to no net profit when you sell.

Finding Sellers

Before we go on to talk more about pre-screening properties so that you can spot great deals, let’s quickly take a look at how to find the right sellers of properties.

In particular, the strategies will help you find motivated sellers of properties that may even be vacant.

Searching the County Tax Assessor’s Website

on the first and most common ways of finding out who owns property is by going to the counties tax assessor’s website to search. Everything you need to know usually listed on the website in most cities and counties around the country.

You can always make a phone call local tax assessor to ask for help.

Finding out the owner of the property is critical, there are other benefits to checking out the property on this website.

You not only learn more about the actual property – in terms of its square footage, bedrooms and baths – but you also get to see how much the taxes on this property are per year.

Mail a Yellow Letter

Mailing yellow letters and postcards are one the tried-and-true ways real estate investors generate leads of motivated sellers day in day out.

Mailing out hand written yellow letters and/or postcards have proven to be at high converting strategy of bringing in leads.

Make a Phone Call

It’s always a good idea to pick up the phone and call potential sellers – or have someone else do it for you.

There are any number of ways you can go about finding the phone number, including,, etc.

Hire a Skip Tracer

when all else fails you can always reach out to a Skip Tracer to help you find a property owner who’s gone rogue.

Lean on Your Realtor

You should also consider asking your realtor for help. Actually, this may be where you want to start your search for property owners.

Prescreening Deals

We have finally reached a place where you have found your seller, or they have contacted you. “What now?”, you ask.

The best deal will most always come from highly motivated sellers. This means that selling the property address deeply discounted price is more important than holding out for top dollar.

Real estate investors don’t have much bargaining power unless they are speaking to a highly motivated seller.

Once you get a home owner on the phone you need to prescreen them so you know what type of deal you’re looking at.

Just like with anything new, when you first start talking to sellers, you may be a little bit intimidating.

However, you will certainly get more comfortable with this after just a few calls. Plus, using a simple script and having a list of questions in front of you will help you get into the swing of things. The questions that you ask will reveal whether you have a great deal before you are a complete dud.

When you get to the point of generating 20, 40, 80 or more leads per month, you will see the importance of quickly being able to evaluate the deal to determine whether it’s a winner or loser.

The prescreening questions I share with you will give you an “Eagle eye” for real estate deals.

Connecting with Sellers

When a seller gives you a call, they will likely want to know a few general things:

  • how you got a hold of their information to mail them a letter?
  • What’s the process for buying their home?
  • What condition should your house being in order to buy from them?

The best thing to do in response to these questions is to be honest. Let them know that you buy houses, you determine what you can pay people for their properties regardless of the condition of the properties, and that you fix them up and sell them and/or rent them out.

They asked they got their information, again, tell the truth.

But you know that you or someone on your team draws around looking for vacant homes, that you then write down the address and information about some, and research the owner of these properties on the tax assessor’s website.

Pre-screening Questions

Let’s get into some of the questions you need to ask to determine whether you look in that a great deal or a bad one.

Contact information: ask who’s name is on the title and if more than one person’s name is on-site.

Phone number: ask where the best phone number to reach him at is.

E-mail and physical address: passive for the e-mail or you can send the contract to as well as their personal address, city and zip code.

House facts: Square footage, beds, baths: ask about the numbers of each of these.

Property type: single family? Multifamily? Condo? Mobile? Commercial?

Construction type: concrete slab or frame built?

Garage: ask if there is one, whether it’s attached or not, and how many cars does it fit.

Unique features: ask whether there are any special features such as five to, who, deck, whirlpool tubs.

Reason for selling: this is one of the most important questions to ask because it feels whether we are talking to a motivated seller or not.

Repairs needed: let’s face it, most sellers will not feel the true or the extent peers needed for the house they’re selling.

So you should estimate that you will have to spend $15-$20,000 to rehab the property and get it move-in ready.

Occupancy: you want to know whether or not the house is currently occupied, by whom and what are the conditions of the activity (i.e. if it’s being rented to a tenant when does the lease expired and what is the current rent)

How fast do you need to sell: again, you’re looking at the level of motivation here.

Current loan on the property: some sellers may feel like this is too big of an ask when they first meet you, however, remind them that you simply cannot make an offer that you have this information.

Asked them about payments: are your payments current, how far behind are you, who is your loan with, has a foreclosure been filed against you. Of course, you only asked the foreclosure question if they are behind on payments.

What amount will they accept: ask them what the least amount they can accept if you offer them cash deal and pay all their closing costs. This is a hard question to ask, but you have to get really good at asking it and you must always ask.


when you just start off as a real estate investor this is something that you should do on your own so you know what this process feels like, how long it takes to get really comfortable with this aspect of the business.

Once you’re comfortable, you should then delegate this step in the process out to someone else, especially as you start to get 100 or more calls per month coming your way.


Armed with, you can prescreen real estate deals like a pro. From this one questionnaire you’ll know whether or not you have a winning real estate deal are losing proposition.

Of into a document and use them religiously when talking to potential sellers. When you find that you have a motivated seller you should double down and make a great real estate deal with them.

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