If you’re looking for low and no-cost ways to find great real estate deals from motivated sellers, there is an OCEAN of opportunity at your fingertips if you know how to use the multitude of free ad posting directories online.

One of the most notable free ad posting directories is Craigslist, and as obvious as it should be, many people don’t realize there are real, legitimate deals waiting to be found on these free, publicly available websites like this (which bring in hundreds of millions of visitors each month).

If you have the luxury of time, you can start by searching these websites manually for motivated sellers and properties that show good potential for high equity.

Luckily, all of these platforms offer ways to narrow down your search.

For example, on Craigslist, you start by clicking on the “Housing” section (which will give you access to EVERYTHING related to housing), or if you want to get even more specific, click on the “real estate for sale” section and go from there.

On the next page, make liberal use of the filtering options available in the sidebar, and start searching for properties based on the keywords that reflect your desired outcome.

For example, I might start by specifying a price range, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and locations I consider acceptable.

You can also take it one step further by typing in some of the keywords commonly referred to in property listings that actually end up being good deals.

In the example above, I used the word “Fixer”, because if a listing includes this word, the owner or listing agent is probably using the words “fixer upper” (or something to that effect) to describe the condition of the property – which means there’s a better chance I’d actually be able to get the property for a price that is far below market value (because obviously, it needs work, and it’s less appealing to the typical retail buyer).

There are a TON of these types of keywords that can help you zero-in on the properties that appeal to investors who are looking to buy at a lower price.

Want some other common keywords that tend to return a more concentrated number of good deals? Here are some other examples that will help you root out the best opportunities:

ARV
As Is
Bank
Bank Owned
Cash Only
Cash Sale
Cheap
Code
Condemned
Desperate
Discount
Divorce
Equity
Estate Sale
Financing Available
Fire Sale
Fix
Fix and Flip
Fix Up
Fixer
Flexible
Flip
Flipper
Foreclosure

Note: This is just half of the keywords you can use to find deals. You can get the full list (and a lot of other stuff) along with the Ad Posting Kit… more info on that below.

Remember, if you’re going this route, you’ll have to be smart about it.

You can waste A LOT of time just looking line-by-line at every single listing (and the vast majority of these listings won’t be worth your while).

Use the search functionality to keep the fluff out of your searches and zero in on exactly what you’re looking for.

Craigslist Search Alerts

As you can probably imagine, searching through Craigslist every day (even when you’re filtering your searches the right way) can take a lot of time and attention.

Most of us have plenty of other things to do, so it’s never a bad idea to automate as much of the process as possible – right?

At one point in time, it was possible to automatically scan Craigslist and sort the data into a Google Sheet with a service called IFTTT. Unfortunately, the service no longer offers the ability to do this.

As an alternative, it is possible to save the search for whatever opportunities you’re looking for.

This allows you to create daily (and sometimes more frequent, depending on your level of specificity) email alerts that come directly to your inbox whenever something new hits the market that matches your search criteria.

While it’s not quite as organized as automatically plugging data into a tidy Google Spreadsheet, it’s still a feasible way to keep an eye on things from your inbox and simply clicking on the items that are of interest.

Don’t Forget…

If you’re going to search for deals like this, do it daily and stay on top of your leads. These listings are constantly turning over, with new opportunities showing up each day that weren’t there before. If you expect any success with this, you need to take the process seriously.

Develop a system (even if it’s just a spreadsheet) to keep track of which listings you’ve contacted – and try not to overcomplicate it!

Lastly, remember to follow-up. Don’t just take the one-and-done approach, contact people multiple two or three times before you move on.

Many sellers will ignore or overlook the first inquiry that comes in, but when it comes in, again and again, it becomes much harder to miss or ignore. The gold is in the follow-up.

Housing Wanted Ads

Another way to make motivated sellers come to you (rather than searching for them) is to start posting “housing wanted” ads.

This works great for sites like Craigslist and can even work on Facebook Marketplace and certain Facebook Groups (when the rules allow for it).

Posting ads is pretty easy. It’s just a matter of figuring out where these ads need to be posted on whichever platform you’re using, and then typing out a clear, compelling message explaining that you’re a real estate investor who can close quickly, can (preferably) pay cash and then let them know how to contact you and/or where to submit their property information if they want to receive an offer.

I’ve included a few examples you can work with below (all the images were created on Canva using free stock images from Unsplash).

These can be used both on Craigslist (post in the “Housing Wanted” section) and on Facebook (post a “HOUSES WANTED!” ad for a price of $1 in the Home Sales category, and include a picture and a short description of what you’re doing).

Think these images would be helpful in your ads? I’ve got a lot more of them you can use! You can get them all in the Ad Posting Kit.

Now, in terms of what to say in your ads and images, here’s one example to work with…

Example 1 (Long Version)

Title:

We Buy Houses FAST for CASH!

Description:

Do you own a house you don’t want or can’t afford?

Does selling it sound like a hassle?

WE CAN HELP!

Our company offers fast cash for houses and multi-family properties throughout <<State, County or City>> – including (but not limited to) these areas:

– Area 1

– Area 2

– Area 3

If you need help selling your real estate quickly, WE WANT TO BUY IT NOW AND WE’RE PREPARED TO PAY CASH FOR IT.

Our firm has been in business for over ten years and we have many happy clients who were happy to have cash instead of the burden of an unwanted property.

If this sounds like you, reach out and let us know!

Once we hear from you, we’ll send you a link to this page: <<your website>>, where you can submit your property information. Once we have a look at your property, we will send you a cash offer within 48 hours.

Alternatively, you can call our office at: <<your phone number>> to speak with someone directly about the property you’d like to sell.

Advantages of working with us:

– You won’t pay for any agents or commissions

– We will cover the cost of all repairs. We buy AS-IS

– Back due property taxes or liens? Let us pay for them!

– Don’t worry about cleaning your property.

– Simple, fast and straightforward process

– We will close on YOUR timeline!

We hope to hear from you!

Note: If you think this kind of ad copy is helpful, I’ve got several more examples you can have access to with the Ad Posting Kit.

You can obviously use this example above – but honestly, writing your own ad isn’t that difficult – it just requires a little bit of thought and creativity about the service you have to offer in your market.

Tip: I usually try to include at least one image with these posts, because it helps with SEO and will make your ads appear in more search results.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Even though these ads can result in some new leads coming your way, don’t expect the floodgates to open when you post ads like this.

If you have no existing stream of leads coming your way, I think this kind of ad posting strategy is worth doing (simply because it’s free and it’s easy), but it’s also not the most high-impact.

A lot of motivated sellers AREN’T actively searching for these kinds of ads on Craiglist and Facebook, and you’ll probably encounter plenty of other investors posting similar ads in your market… so it can be a challenge to stand out, so don’t be surprised if you only get a few legitimate responses to these kinds of ads each month.

And remember – wherever you’re sending these people, make sure you (or someone) is actually paying attention to that channel. As obvious as it may sound, there are a ton of people who spend time on this kind of free advertising and then don’t follow up with people who respond to it (it’s a total waste).

If you’re going to do the first half of the process (by posting an ad), make sure you’re also doing the second half (by following up).

Want to Use My Real Life Examples?

Believe me, I know how much time, effort and creativity it takes to do things like:

  • Writing a listing that actually motivates people to respond.
  • Coming up with eye-catching titles that people will click on in the first place.
  • Find high-quality images that will help your listings stand out and give viewers something to look at.
  • Knowing how to engage with other “real estate for sale” ads in your market.

If you’re looking for an easy way to figure this stuff out FAST, I’ve got something that can help.

Get the Ad Posting Kit!

I spent a long time putting together some of the actual ads I’ve posted on various websites like Craigslist, Facebook and other similar websites, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time doing this work on your own.

Note: When you sign up as a REtipster Email Subscriber, I’ll send you an instant $20 off “Discount Code” for this item. There’s no pressure of course – just want to make sure you’re aware.

This package comes with the following:

  • 50 Proven Keywords to help in your search for motivated sellers. Use these to waste less time and zero-in on the property owners who are more likely to sell at a discount.
  • 6 Ad Templates to use in the “Real Estate Wanted” section of any real estate ad posting directory. These are great for finding deals in your target market.
  • 2 Sample Scripts you can use via phone or email to contact other real estate sellers in your market. These are great for starting conversations and building new connections with other sellers, wholesalers, and investors in your area!
  • 30+ High-Quality Images you can use to post with your ads. These are great for attracting more traffic, standing out among the other ads in your market and giving viewers something to look at as they’re reading through your listing.

Now, do you NEED this information in order to start finding deals online? Absolutely not.

I am 100% confident that if you’re willing to spend the time and put in the work, you can come up with a formula that will work for you.

However, if you want to save the many hours of work it’ll take to get there, I’ve already done the work for you. You can download my stuff right here, and get to work right now.

Get the Ad Posting Kit!

Whichever path you decide to go, I wish you all the best in the search for your next great deal!

The Best Real Estate Investing Strategy I’ve Found

I'll be completely honest with you. The most powerful strategy I've used to build my real estate investing career is probably NOT what you might guess.

Land investing (that's right, buying and selling vacant land) is a massive opportunity that most investors aren't paying attention to. For the few land investors who know how to pursue this business with the right acquisition strategy, it's an extremely lucrative and low-risk way to build serious wealth from real estate.

If you want to get the inside scoop on how to start and run your own land investing business, come and check out the REtipster Club – where I've put together a full 12-module course with dozens of videos, bonuses, downloads, group coaching sessions and a members-only forum (where we spend time answering questions every week). There is no better place to learn this business from the inside out!

About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor and residential income property owner, with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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