In all three of the above examples, you can gain short- or sometimes long-term control of a property without having to invest a great deal of your own capital. In fact, in some cases, you can begin investing in real estate using none of your own capital, although you will trade off in time and “sweat equity.” On the other hand, if your version of real estate “spring fever” has you itching to switch strategies and try your hand at something new, you may have a little more flexibility in terms of both strategy and messaging. For example, if you are considering moving out of flipping and into acquiring long-term rentals, you may want to tailor your messaging to fit the types of properties that you are likely to be able to acquire without entering into a bidding war, such as those belonging to frustrated landlords, often referred to as “burned-out” landlords. Because of your existing familiarity with real estate investing already, these indi- viduals may be your ideal audience. These landlords are particularly prone to selling at certain times in the rental cycle, including:

Every spring, I see the increased competition to buy properties lead every buyer, not just investors, to agree to increasingly aggressive contract terms.


compete in the open market. For example, you might customize your marketing to address spring-relat- ed issues such as insect problems, moisture damage, and weather-re- lated delays that affect repair and maintenance timelines (see sidebar). FIND YOUR EDGE AND KEEP IT Every investor can offer something “special” for sellers that may elicit a lower price in a competitive market. This strategy can be hugely success- ful, but only if you take the time to listen to your target selling audience and are very careful when you make your offers. “Every spring, I see the increased competition to buy properties lead every buyer, not just investors, to agree to increasingly aggressive con- tract terms,” said Lorraine Beato, an Atlanta-based real estate investor and realtor with PalmerHouse Properties. “Unforeseen repairs [for any owner or seller] can create a situation where they just want to be done with the property, and spring is prime time for issues behind drywall and in crawl spaces. Sometimes, the issues do not even stay hidden,” she added. “I just completed a flip where carpenter ants had eaten right through two-by- four’s and into the foundation! That

is the kind of issue that can send an already-frustrated seller over the edge and encourage them to make the decision to sell fast rather than fix the property and try to sell high.” The key is reaching the seller when they reach the point they are willing to compromise on price in order to gain another benefit, such as a fast sale or another convenience. “It is so important for buyers, both investors and owner-occupants, to understand the seller’s motivation,” agreed Weekley. “You might be able to get a much more competitive price on a property if you are willing to do something for the buyer, such as provide a place to stay while they are finding another home,” she said. If this type of arrangement, which generally involves rent for the time after closing before the seller moves out, is agreeable to you, then targeting these homeowners could be a great way for you to get started in real estate investing and even generate some rental income before you have to find a new tenant or start the process of flipping the property. These individuals may not necessarily be listing their homes at present because they believe they will not have time to find a new house before they close. Offering this type of option could incentivize a seller (who likely also has spring home-fe-

• During or immediately after the eviction process

• When a unit is vacant

• After a natural disaster

• Following the departure of a par- ticularly troublesome or, interest- ingly, particularly reliable long- term tenant These pain or pressure points for a landlord exist regardless of season, but you may use them to tailor a mes- sage to reach a landlord who might be a perfect fit for your desire to buy a rental property without having to

54 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

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