Wholesalers: How to Find Cash Buyers on Zillow
So, you may have heard of a little company called Zillow.
And by may have, I mean definitely.
And by little, I mean ginormous.
Hey, Joe McCall here with something awesome and super helpful to share with you today:
I want to explain exactly how you can use Zillow to find active, cash buyers for your wholesale real estate deals.
That’s right, they’re just sitting there, hiding in plain sight, waiting for you to reach out to them about your next real estate deal in the area—if you know where and how to look for them.
And I’m not just going to tell you how to do it—I’ll demonstrate it for you.
What the what?!
Look, any real estate wholesaler who’s been at this for more than a hot minute knows that the lifeblood of your business is having a solid cash buyers list on tap that you can access when you find deals you want to flip as-is.
In fact, lots of wholesalers (myself included sometimes) take a buyers first approach to wholesaling properties—having built solid relationships with their top-shelf buyers before finding properties to wholesale them.
Today I’m letting you in on how you can find a whole pile of them on Zillow, no matter your target market. I’ll visibly show you how to search Zillow where to look and what to look for.
It’s an on-screen demo, so you’ll only see my mug for a second. And bonus! My good buddy JP Moses is along for the ride too.
Plus, I explain how to get the cash buyer prospect’s contact info and the type of letter I prefer sending them. What if you can’t find the owner’s info? I’ve got you covered there too. I’m sharing another easy way you can get the hook up on those hard-to-find owners who can become your cash buyers.
Grab and pen and paper, cause you might want to take some notes.
Watch and learn…
JP Moses: Zillow is the 8,000-pound gorilla in the real estate world. Right? But can real estate wholesalers find cash buyers on Zillow? Inquiring wholesalers want to know.
Mack Jr. asks:
What’s the best way to find cash buyers for my deals using Zillow? Can you please detail or demonstrate a process that you would use to find cash buyers for deals using Zillow?
Joe McCall: Good question. Let’s just keep it simple. Let’s say I want to sell this property. So I would go into the search bar here and paste that address in. Now, what I just done did was make this property in the center of the map.
Now, if I zoom out, I can see rental properties. So what I’m looking for, and let me just look for houses here… these are properties that are listed for rent. Guess who owns them? Typically, other investors, some high percentage of them are going to be investors, not just mom and pops. So, these are investors that own these properties.
And this may be a bad example, let’s do a better example. A lot of these will actually be homeowners that were trying to sell their house, but couldn’t, those are good lease option candidates.
So, let’s do a max price of $1,000. This is right in this area—the northeastern part of Huntsville is where all the investors are. These are definitely investor landlords that are buying these houses. So let’s look at this house for example, and if I copy this address and if I paste it here, then I closed this.
That house is in the center of the map and now I’m going to look at all the rentals here that our houses. And I’m going to zoom out here—there are 22 landlords that own rental properties in those areas and chances are they’re looking for another one. And then if I zoom out, guess what? I’m going to get 78.
One of the things you might even think about doing is every week go in and look for the new rentals and get the new landlords because once it’s rented, it’s usually taken off of Zillow.
But, there’s 78 properties here that are currently listed for rent and an owner owns it. So I might find out who the owner is of this property here—and you’re not going to get the owner on Zillow. Sometimes you will on RedFin.com, but probably not.
Go to the county records and get the owner’s information of owns that rental property, and I like to send what I call a desperate motivated buyer yellow letter. If I’ve got a property in that area, I’m going to handwrite this yellow letter, I like using red ink, and I’m going to write:
Desperate. I need to sell my property at 123 Main Street. I’ve had it on the market for some time now. I can’t wait any longer. I need this thing sold today! The taxes are paid, the title is clear. Drive by, take a look at it. Call me. I need this thing sold yesterday. Please help! I’m desperate.
Call me. Joe: XXX.XXX.XXXX
Take that letter, crumple it up, fold it back, put it in an invitation-sized envelope. Hand address the envelope with a live stamp, and you mail it to these 78 landlords that own these rental properties out there. I guarantee you’re gonna get calls from that.
I’ve gotten so many calls from that letter! They call me and say, “Man, I’ve got to tell you something. That’s the coolest letter ever. I know exactly what you’re doing, but I just wanted to tell you I’m going to use that letter!”
JP Moses: I love that hat tip to the marketing pro.
Joe McCall: It’s a great letter.
JP Moses: It’s brilliant because that’s like the modern-day version of what I used to do early in my career back in the early 2000s, right before the internet was even really viable. I would drive around neighborhoods where I had a wholesale deal under contract and look for For Rent signs. Because those are the landlords. As soon as I drove by, I’d call up and say:
“Hey, I see your house for rent, I got another one for sale in the area. I really need to sell quickly. And I usually sell them pretty cheap. Are you interested?”
And you said earlier, Joe, they’re looking for another deal. They may not be looking for another deal, but they may be interested in another deal if they know you have one that’s in proximity to one they already own, because controlling the quality of the neighborhood can make a big difference to a current landlord who maybe isn’t interested in just going out and buying more deals aggressively. It’s kind of like looking for gold—you can sift those buyers that aren’t really looking exactly.
Joe McCall: One other thing I’ll show you… so, maybe you can’t find who the actual buyers are, but guess what? You can find the Realtors who know who the buyers are. There’s a couple ways you can do that.
Like this house here, I guarantee you a Realtor is listed. This guy Adam Stultz. I’m surprised he works for Sotheby’s. Usually Sotheby’s is a premier real estate agent, but usually a Realtor that lists a property like this is working with other investors. He or she might know other investors or they know these neighborhoods and chances are they’re working with other investors. So I would contact these agents and say:
“Hey, I know you’ve got this property listed on Fairway Drive. I’m an investor. I’ve got another property. I’m looking for a buyer. Do you know any investors that might be looking to buy a property in this area?”
And, I just did a search for up to $75 grand. So, I’m looking for cheaper rundown properties that only an investor would want to buy. Only an investor would want to buy this house. And a lot of times, these are a newer agents. The more experienced top producers are probably not going to list a house like this. So the ones that are just getting started in the business, they’re hungry, they’re hustling, they’re probably gonna work these kinds of properties.
Call them and say:
“Hey, I’m looking for somebody that can help me, that may want to buy my property. It’s in the same neighborhood as yours.”
The other thing I’ll show you here is this. You can go to “Solds.” There’s obviously a ton of them here, and I’m going to go “sold in the last 6 months.” These are all the houses under $75,000—and if there’s too many, there’s 234 here, maybe I’ll just zoom in because that house is still in the center where I was. Maybe I can make this $100,000 instead… all right, here’s 21 properties. This one sold for $27 grand. Who was the Realtor that represented the seller and the buyer? I don’t know if you can find it here. I don’t think you can find it here…
But, a lot of times you can find these older properties in Google somewhere. If you have access to the MLS, you can find out who the listing agent was and who the buyer’s agent was—and contact that buyer’s agent and say:
“Hey, I see that you sold a house recently to somebody on Oakwood Avenue. I have another property that’s similar to this one that I think your client might be interested in. Can I tell you a little bit about it? Would you have any interest in it? Or, do you know anybody who might be interested in it?
And you have to approach that Realtor with this:
“You can represent me and get both sides of the commission. Just make sure that commission is built into your price, into your profit.”
So, if you can get Realtors to bring you buyers, you tell the Realtor: “I’m selling this thing. I want to make at least $60 grand, and anything above that you can keep as your commission.”
So, we contact the listing agents and the buyers’ agents of these houses that are active and sold. These Realtors know the investors that are out buying properties in these neighborhoods.
We talked about 3 things.
#1: Contacting the landlords, contacting the property managers that are listing those properties as well. Ask them: Do you have any other clients that are looking for homes in this area? You can represent me and get both sides of the commission. If you bring me a buyer, just add your commission on top of my price.
#2: Go look for the sold properties in that neighborhood that are kind of the rundown properties that only investor-friendly Realtors typically would list.
#3: And then looking for the Solds. Look for the listing agents and the buyers’ agents of those sold properties.
JP Moses: Man, finding cash buyers on Zillow fast, easy and awesome.
Joe McCall: There’s a lot of them. And I guarantee you the guy who bought this house here for $18,500 used cash. So how do you find out who bought it? Well, just take this property, go look in county records. Find out who it is and find their phone number. Send them a letters, give them a call.
JP Moses: Awesome.
Did you ever think it could be so easy? And what’s cool is that Zillow updates and changes constantly as the inventory changes. So, this strategy will never run out of new cash buyers.
What are you waiting for? Go find some cash buyers hiding in plain sight in your target market!
(FYI AWESOME PEOPLE: Want to learn even more from Joe and his awesome Zillow hacks? Take a look at our “deep dive” sessions (just 4 ninja videos) to see exactly how he does it.)