Are You Ready to be an Equity Bandit?

Real estate is cyclical.  Which means different buying techniques are called for depending on what part of the economic cycle real estate is in at that particular time.  5 years ago, before the Michigan foreclosure boom, one of the best ways to buy a house was from a seller who had equity and needed to sell fast.  There were many ways to find that particular buyer, direct mail, internet advertising, or most investor’s weapon of choice “We Buy Houses” signs.

As equity evaporated, less and less investors were going after private sellers and focusing on the brokers who controlled the foreclosures.  It was the general belief of Michigan real estate investors (yours truly included)-that your chance of finding a seller who has enough equity for you to be able to offer them a fair price while leaving meat on the bone for yourself was 100 times more difficult than offering on a bank owned home and getting it accepted.

It seems that this spring’s buying season has seen a rash of investors both new and old going back to the “We Buy Houses All Cash, Any Condition, Any Situation” bandit signs.  Sometimes you’ll see good signs and other times you’ll see something scribbled on the sign by some arrogant punk that gives all of us a bad name.   I’ve personally been using bandit signs for close to a decade and I caution you that BEFORE YOU PUT SIGNS OUT ON THE ROAD FOLLOW THESE 3 STEPS

1. Make sure you find out what the local ordinance is for each city/township-you can and will get tickets and have to appear in court if you do things wrong (trust me!)

2. Your “message” -what you write on the sign is super important
•keep it short-passers by have 5 to 10 seconds to read it understand it <–most important & write down the number or website
•the phone number on the sign should be as easy to remember as possible-if you’re buying in 248 than use a 248 number, 313, 586,517 etc
•if you have a website make sure the domain name is as short and easy to remember
•write big and simple-here’s an example of what successful investors are using

We Buy Houses
-all CASH-
586-263-XXXX
Don’t be afraid to test different messages, just don’t get too cute for 2 reasons;
1. the cities may be tougher on you if your message is too cocky
2. sellers will not respond favorably to what they perceive as unprofessional

3. Be ready to deal with people who may be in a tough situation or disgruntled sellers with a bad attitude
If you are not willing to speak directly with the general public I caution you again using bandit signs to buy houses.  People in all situations will respond to your signs.  Be prepared with some type of script.  Don’t just wing it.  That’s a recipe for disaster.

•You will get sellers calling you with NO equity in pre-foreclosure
•You will get sellers calling you with multiple homes in foreclosure
•You will get sellers calling you in estate situations
•You will get sellers calling you and asking you if you’re a scam or what’s the catch
You will get sellers calling you with 40 or 50 k in equity that need to sell in a week (those are the one’s that you’re waiting for)

Get out there and Make It Happen!
Dylan Tanaka-Founder