If you want to find success with real estate, the number one priority is for you to find motivated sellers and lots of them.

If you can’t do this, the rest of the process isn’t even worth talking about because it all starts with having a seller who is willing the play by your terms.

So, what can you start doing TODAY to find motivated sellers? There are actually a lot of ways to do this. Here is a quick list of 50 ways you can find motivated sellers right now (special props go out to Kenneth E. of the BiggerPockets forum for compiling the bulk of this list):

  1. Send mailers to out-of-state landlords of multifamily houses
  2. Send mailers to absentee owners of single-family houses
  3. Send mailers to vacant landowners (only in specific areas in the path of growth)
  4. Place “We Buy houses” flyers/business cards at unemployment offices….a lot of people there could be having trouble with their homes and may need a solution
  5. One-page flyers posted on bulletin boards at large stores
  6. Post ads on craigslist stating, “We Buy houses”
  7. Send emails to craigslist ads with properties for rent (the emails will go to landlords who may be looking to sell, or buying more properties)
  8. Mailers to specific zip codes, asking if they want to sell or know someone who does
  9. Mailers to divorce attorneys who can refer clients
  10. Mailers/emails to FSBOs
  11. Buy a “leads list” of landlords from DataTree, AgentPro247 or RealQuest
  12. Post ads on Backpage stating “We Want To Buy Your Property” (Note: Backpage has since been shut down, but you can do this same thing in various Facebook Groups)
  13. Send mailers to properties purchased between 3k-20k within last five years (the owner might be a novice flipper who never did anything with the property)
  14. Send mailers to Estate/Probate Attorneys (if you have an attorney, consider having them send the letter because attorneys tend to open mail from other attorneys)
  15. Bandit signs: “We Buy Houses”
  16. Send mailers to owners who have owned for 15 years or more (these properties tend to be owned free and clear, which means they could be much more flexible with their sales price)
  17. Send mailers to people facing foreclosure
  18. Target people who own vacant homes – these are almost always ripe for purchasing at a discount
  19. Target people who are dealing with financial chaos of any sort
  20. Send ads/mailers/business cards to Credit Repair Agencies & Credit Counselors
  21. Target HUD/VA Foreclosures
  22. Purchase leads lists of folks who inherited homes
  23. Send mailers to people arrested for violent crimes (going to prison for a long time)
  24. Send Mailers/ads/business cards to Realtors
  25. Send mailers to employees who have been laid off (ie “corporate downsizing” in the news)
  26. Networking with other investors
  27. Locate list of section 8 approved properties—send mailers to the owners
  28. Post Newspaper classified ads: We Buys houses
  29. Send mailers to Properties with liens: Mechanics Liens, HOA Liens, Tax Liens
  30. Contact salespeople at new home subdivisions (their clients will want to sell their OLD houses) or place a sign near a new home subdivisions that say “Sell Your House Fast” with your phone number. Often times, these new owners will be desperate to sell their old houses ASAP.
  31. Contact mortgage companies; they may know of people wanting to sell their old house/last house
  32. Hire bird dogs (sometimes even through craigslist “help wanted” ads)
  33. Send mailers to Bankruptcy court listings
  34. Send advertisements, business cards to Accountants and CPA Firms: They have clients with financial problems where an investor can be of help.
  35. Send ads, mailers, business cards to real estate attorneys
  36. Advertise “We Buy Houses” using Apparel with Logos: Hats, T-Shirts, Golf Shirts,
  37. Send to anyone getting their car repossessed: If the car is going the house isn’t far behind.
  38. Send ads, business cards to carpet cleaners: Many of their customers are preparing a house for sale.
  39. Send mailers to charitable groups/churches: They frequently receive gifts of real estate, but they’d rather have the cash.
  40. Send ads, business cards to City & County Inspectors: Code violations, and red tags. (If you develop a reputation of buying distressed properties and improving them, you become an asset to the community)
  41. Place ads on boards at Nursing & Retirement Homes: Frequently residents need to sell a house.
  42. Consider placing Door Hangers on target properties: You can also use pre-printed post-it notes to leave messages at target properties. Be sure to advertise on both sides, you can even sell the backside and recover your advertising cost!
  43. Send mailers to addresses of people having Garage Sales: Are they moving?
  44. Send mailers to Hair Salons/Barbers: These places are social hubs – lots of talking going on during haircuts
  45. Send mailers, ads, business cards to Insurance Brokers: Policy changes from owner occupant to the landlord or vacant house coverage.
  46. Recruit Mail Carriers to notify you of vacant properties
  47. Send mailers to owners of multiple properties (target them to offload portfolios)
  48. Post advertisement in PennySaver type papers: “We Want to Buy Your Property”
  49. Send mailers to water, gas, and electric company shut off lists
  50. Or, just buy leads from:

RELATED: Are You Using the Best Real Estate Data?

There are actually many, many more ways to find motivated sellers beyond this list. The idea here is just to help you realize that there are no excuses for you to sit on the sidelines and wonder how the “successful people” do it.

THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE.

I am very serious when I tell you that there are thousands of sellers in every area of the country who NEED YOU.  They want to sell their property now and they are willing to play by your terms.

Pick one or two of the options above and pursue them with a vengeance.  With a little bit of hunting, you’re sure to find them.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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