Because investors continue to buy and sell properties regardless of whether it is an up or down market, it’s always a good time to work with investors. That’s why a relatively small percentage of agents, the ones who work with investors, split an estimated 13% of the $100 billion annual real estate commission pool—around $13 billion. But how do they actually find real estate investors to work with in the first place?
The key for investor-friendly agents is to find the right real estate investors who will consistently close deals in any economic conditions and in your local market. It isn’t easy, but if you develop the skills needed to work with investors, you could position yourself to close 50 deals a year or more.
To help you get started, here are my six favorite (and proven) strategies I use to find a pipeline of real estate investors and close up to 10 deals a month.
The 6 Best Ways to Find Real Estate Investors in 2024
- Cost: Free—$39 a month for the forum; $150 per lead for the Recommended Agent program
- Best for finding: Small private investors and small multifamily investors
BiggerPockets is the most popular real estate investing community in the nation, with a reputed million-plus members. Investors love to hang out on BiggerPockets for a couple of reasons. It’s a great place to get educated, find resources, and connect with other investors with whom they may partner or close deals. Also, the platform makes it easy to join and connect with others.
How to Find Investors on BiggerPockets
There are two playbooks you can follow here: paid and free. I’ll explain the paid option first, where you buy monthly leads.
1. Join the Featured Agent Program
BiggerPockets offers an agent promotion product that gives agents increased exposure on the site and allows investors to connect directly with a local investor-friendly agent recommended by BiggerPockets. It’s a steered lead program like Zillow Premier Agent.
The challenge is that the platform is so popular that the Recommended Agent product has become quite expensive. Not Zillow Premier Agent expensive, but starting to get there! Your budget will be around $3,000 per month for about 20 leads. At an estimated $150 a lead, you need to work every one.
Tips for Converting Recommended Agent Leads
Here is a quick rundown of the strategies I use to convert leads from the Recommended Agent program:
- Capture the prospect’s full contact details, including social profiles. BiggerPockets will send you this info in the lead form, but you need to confirm it and open the door to contacting the lead by phone, text, email and on social media.
- Set up a Zoom or coffee meeting ASAP and turn your prospect into a warm customer or client.
- Create a full investment profile and pre-approval mortgage application so you understand your client’s financial position and real estate investment goals.
- Execute a buyer agency agreement and start visiting and touring potential deals.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. Find out what your client really wants from their real estate investments. You’re in the people business and your client is a real living person with hopes and dreams. Think of each one as a long-term client who you will represent throughout their entire real estate investment and retirement journey.
If the client isn’t ready to buy, add them to a customized, low-touch drip campaign. Remember that no one wants to be “dripped on,” so take the time to segment your contacts and only deliver highly relevant content.
2. Network With Investors on The BiggerPockets Forum
The free playbook on BiggerPockets is similar to how you would find real estate investors on a social network like LinkedIn.
Tips for Finding Investors in BiggerPockets Forums
Give yourself a goal to meet five new investors a week. That’s an easy goal on BiggerPockets, and it will give you a warm lead list of around 100 quality new investors each year. Here’s how to get started.
- Connecting with investors on BiggerPockets is a long-term play. Build relationships slowly on a one-by-one basis.
- Spamming doesn’t work. If you promote yourself and add links in your posts, you will be kicked off the platform.
- Build out your profile to clearly identify yourself as an investor-friendly agent and local market expert.
- Include a professional profile photo or headshot.
- Include your contact details and links to your website and social profiles.
- Upgrade to their Pro membership ($39 a month) if you want to add contact details to your signature and profile bio.
- Add your business details to the business directory.
- Follow and connect with investors.
- Engage, comment, and add value to other investors’ posts on the forum. Make sure you don’t spam and make sure you get notified of each additional comment to the post thread. The post thread is a warm connection to other members who posted on the thread. Target posts with long reply chains as all commenters will see your comment.
- It is easier to now message them directly and start a conversation about what they wrote on the thread.
- Publish your own posts in the forum and follow up with everyone who comments. BiggerPockets is “gamified” and rewards posts with engagement and “votes” by members.
- Set a keyword alert in the form and get notified of any new posts with that keyword. Focus on investors looking for investor-friendly agents and keywords for popular and specific real estate investment niches.
Always have a co-operative and sharing attitude. If you participate and give value, you will build your network and you will also be noticed by the admins and moderators on the site. At some point you may be invited to moderate or speak on a webinar or at an event.
2. Real Estate Investing Clubs
- Cost: Free to $200 a year
- Best for finding: Small private investors, niche private investors, and building your investment team
Your local real estate investment club is usually hands-down the best place for you to start networking and attracting new real estate investor clients.
When I first moved to the Denver area, I was a networking superhero. I went to every real estate investment club meeting I could find and spent all my time in the lobby meeting investors instead of listening to the speaker (who was usually trying to sell me something).
Within a period of about six months, I had a database of over 1,000 investors who closed about 10 deals a month with me. Building my database was one of the most important things I did to grow my real estate business.
📌 Pro Tip
Attending real estate club events is great but owning a real estate investment association (REIA) is far better. When you own the club, it changes the relationship you have with members. Instead of marketing yourself, you will find that members will gravitate to you as the owner. It completely changes the sales dynamic. If running a REIA is too big a step, start by launching a local real estate investing meetup.
Where to Find Local Real Estate Investing Clubs
The best way to find local real estate investing clubs is to google “real estate investing clubs near me.”
3. Real Estate Investing Meetups
- Cost: Free to $30 a month
- Best for finding: Niche local private investors and new investors
In most urban areas, there are real estate investing meetup groups that focus on general real estate investing within a specific geographic area as well as specialized groups that focus on a niche investing strategy.
Most meetups are social events at a local coffee shop, restaurant, or brewery that you can attend free of charge (and often with a free beverage thrown in by the organizer).
There may be a short education presentation, but usually it’s a meet-and-greet social networking event.
Join multiple groups and start attending all their events. It’s a slow and time-consuming way to network, but one deal makes it all worthwhile.
How to Use the Meetup Model to Find Local Investors
The best way to build an investor list on Meetup is to start a group and serve as the admin. You will need an upgraded pro account, which costs $30 per month. As the group owner, you get to establish yourself in a position of trust and authority. You’ll also get help from Meetup as they will promote your group to members of other groups with similar interests. This is a huge growth driver as it gets your group in front of other real estate investors.
Group owners (with a pro account) can also harvest email addresses. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to build a real estate investor list with contact details.
Don’t be afraid to start a more specialized or niche group. The five types of meetups that have enjoyed a lot of success are:
- Local area meetups like the Denver Real Estate Investor Meetup
- The BRRRR Meetup
- The House Hacking Meetup
- The Short-term Rental Meetup
- The Military or Veterans Meetup
The Meetup Model is basically the same for all groups. Meet, connect, get contact details, and convert attendees into clients.
4. Real Estate Investing Conferences
- Cost: Expensive
- Best for finding: Small multifamily investors, proptech investors, and institutional investors
There are numerous virtual and physical real estate investing conferences. The larger conferences attract thousands of investors and can last several days. It’s a great place to network and connect with real estate investors. Local investment conferences attract smaller audiences but are target-rich environments with serious local investors. You need to go where your investors go.
How to Find Investors at Real Estate Conferences
I attend numerous conferences every year and have a whole playbook for how to find investors. Here is my proven 10-step checklist for networking at these types of events.
1. Come prepared: Before attending the conference, make sure you have business cards (or a digital card), look professional, and possess a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Be prepared to introduce yourself, share your areas of interest or expertise, ask other attendees about their business, and have a 30-second elevator pitch prepared (but never use it until asked by the other person).
2. Download the app: If the event has an event specific app or social media group, immediately join it and start researching and connecting with fellow attendees. This is a very powerful tool that can take your investor networking and database building to a completely different level, especially if the group is active and the conference organizer allows the sharing of contact information. It’s the closest you’ll get to a list of attendees. If an investor is willing to spend the time and money going to an event, they’re usually a strong and motivated lead.
3. Start networking before the event: I create a database for every event. Build your lists and reach out to other attendees. If there is no event app, you can usually identify an attendee by joining the event social media group or following the event hashtag on social media. Set up meetings at the conference before you arrive.
4. Attend the right sessions: Look for events at the conference that are specifically designed for networking, such as cocktail parties, meet-and-greets, and roundtable discussions. These sessions are often less formal and offer a greater opportunity to connect with other attendees.
5. Surf the lobby: The more experienced investors usually surf the lobby or the area just outside the presentation rooms. Most experienced conference attendees are worn out by educational seminars and can be found doing deals outside the seminars.
6. Partner with networkers: Identify the influencers and networkers in the room and do deals to share and combine your stacks of business cards and event databases. This will double and triple your contact list. The networkers are invaluable contacts, and tend to be influencers who know how to build lists.
7. If there is an expo, try to piggy-back off an existing exhibitor: Exhibitors pay a lot of money to be there, so find one with a popular table but no plan to collect visitor contact details. Then offer to pay for a raffle prize, like an iPad, for any visitors who share their contact details (like a business card). You pony up for the prize and the exhibitor (who paid for the booth) shares their contact list.
8. Be approachable: Smile, make eye contact, and be open to starting conversations with other attendees. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions about the other person’s background and interests. Wear a cap or T-shirt that invites other attendees to say hello to you. You’re there to promote yourself to investors, so don’t be afraid to guerilla market (without upsetting the organizers, of course).
9.Always offer value: When meeting other investors, try to find ways to help them with their business. Perhaps you have connections in a certain area or can offer advice on a particular topic. By offering value, you can build a relationship that may lead to future collaborations or deals.
10. Always follow up: During and after the conference, be sure to follow up with anyone you met. Send a brief text or email immediately after meeting an investor and again after the conference, thanking them for the conversation and suggesting a follow-up call or meeting. And always be sure to promptly send them any info you promised at the conference. Tag new contacts on social media and send out friend requests.
You need to be disciplined and follow this checklist for every event. Unless the event attendee list miraculously falls into your hands, you’re stuck doing the grunt work to connect with investors on a one-on-one basis.
My Recommended Conferences
Two of my favorite real estate conferences are BPCON (for private mom-and-pop investors) and Blueprint (for proptech and institutional investors).
I also highly recommend and prefer local conferences. The best way to find them is a google search for “real estate investing conference near me.”
5. County Real Estate Records
- Cost: Usually free (except in California)
- Best for finding: Small private investors, private lenders, wealthy investors, institutional investors, and proptech investors
Almost every county in the nation has created and maintains a database of every real estate parcel in its jurisdiction. County records provide a wealth of real estate data that can be useful by property investors, real estate agents, and other professionals in the industry.
Few agents truly understand the power of local real estate data. It’s my secret sauce for finding real estate investors and growing my investor-friendly real estate business. You can drop me off in any city and within a few hours, I’ll have a database with a minimum of a physical address for a hundred active investors.
Building Your County Property Database
Here are the types of data that are typically available from county records and will be particularly useful in your database:
- Property ownership: Owner’s name, property street address, owner mailing address and sale history
- Property characteristics: Physical characteristics of a property, including its size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age, and other features
- Property value: Assessed value of a property, which can be useful in determining its potential worth
- Tax information: Property taxes, assessed value, amount of taxes due, and the due date
- Deed information: Sales and legal transfer of property ownership, including the date of the transfer, names of the buyers and sellers, purchase price, and the owner mailing address
- Mortgage information: Mortgages or liens on a property, amount of the mortgage, and the identity of the lender
- Zoning information: Zoning laws and regulations that apply to a particular property
- Building permits: Data on building permits that have been issued for a property, which can be useful in understanding the history of any renovations or improvements that have been made
How to Use Property Data to Find Investors
I’m a huge fan of free public property data. It’s an invaluable resource for finding and working with investors. I maintain my own private property database, originally built from the public county database, for all the markets where I sell real estate. My private database includes all my notes and insights about every home and homeowner. It’s the source of my deep local market knowledge and expertise. Here’s how you can use public data to find real estate investors:
Step 1. Download the complete data set from your local county assessor or treasurer’s office.It is usually available from the county website, though they may charge a fee for the data. The data will come in an Excel or CSV spreadsheet. You now have a database that includes all the inventory in your town, plus all the potential sellers in your market.
Step 2: Convert the list into a direct mail campaign using the mailing address and the property owner’s name.
Step 3: Identify and highlight any potential investors.
OK, so how do you know which homeowners are also investors? It will take you a minute to get a feel for who is an investor, but it gets much easier over time. Remember that every homeowner is by default also an investor. They are all candidates for your home wealth adviser services. Here’s what to look for:
- Homeowners who own more than one home: It’s a simple search to find duplicates on your spreadsheet to identify multiple owners.
- Homeowners who paid cash or who have no mortgage: They may not be investors, but they have the financial ability to invest in your deals.
- Homes with mortgages from known private and hard money lenders.
- Homeowners who hold title in a private trust or an LLC.
- Homeowners who have a different street and mailing address, especially an out-of-state mailing address.
- Pay special attention to small multifamily, condo, and townhome owners. It’s not uncommon for investors to own 25% to 40% of condo and townhome complexes.
- Start paying attention to rental websites. Set up alerts for all new rental listings and cross-reference each rental listing with your real estate database. Every rental is owned by an investor by default.
- Start paying attention to free licensing and permit data from your county. License data may be in a different dataset than the general property database. Look for rental, short-term rental, and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) permits and licenses. In my town of Boulder, all rentals require a license, so that’s an incredibly valuable database of 10,300 rental properties, all owned by investors.
Step 4: Work on getting contact details for all potential investors. This is the most difficult part of the action plan. You can do it gradually or you can develop marketing campaigns with lead magnets to capture contact details. Prioritize their cell phone number and email address as these are the cheapest ways to communicate with new prospects. You already have their street address, but direct mailers are expensive. Social media also works, but it is less effective. The goal here is to find a cheap and instant way to communicate with homeowners. It’s the holy grail of marketing—the ability to reach every homeowner for free at the push of a button.
How to Find Your County Database
The county database is usually maintained by the county assessor or treasurer. It can also sometimes be accessed through the land planning department or their geographic information system (GIS) data engineer. If there isn’t a free way to download the full database, or you are limited to a few parcel searches, contact the county directly and ask for a copy of the database (in Excel or CSV format).
- Cost: $197 per month
- Best for finding: Niche investors, out-of-state investors, vacant homes, foreclosed homes, private lenders, hard money lenders, and corporate investors
You can download raw property data from your county assessor and treasurer departments, but you can also subscribe to data services that will apply market analytics to enhance and organize the data into lead lists and marketing campaigns.
There are several specialized real estate data companies that are built to service the real estate investment industry. I like FreedomSoft because it allows you to search and organize data by recognized categories of investors. This includes:
- Known investors
- Out-of-state investors
- Vacant homes
- Foreclosed homes
- Cash buyers
- Private lenders
- Hard money lenders
- Trust and corporate owners
- Proptech investors
- Institutional investors
FreedomSoft also helps you set up skip tracing and marketing campaigns to contact each owner. Campaigns include direct mail, email, and text communications that flow to customized landing pages with lead capture and follow-up automation.
How to Vet Real Estate Investors
The best way to determine the quality of potential investor leads is to look at their track record. The easiest way to do this is to look at public records to figure out what properties they own, together with how they financed the property.
Another way to vet investors is to introduce them to your mortgage broker and financial planner and get them prequalified for deals.
This step is important because you need to cut your losses and move on from investors who may be willing but are unable to invest. I’ve met investors who have told me they have been “investing for 10 years,” but when pressed, will admit to never having closed a deal. They tend to be conference and meetup junkies who want to invest but are too afraid or don’t have the resources to close on a deal.
Working With Real Estate Investors
Investors are tough clients as they require a higher level of attention and expertise in the marketing and financial side of real estate. You may spend a lot of time and money working on a deal that falls through due to no fault of your own.
But there’s also a huge opportunity here in terms of the amount of commission you can expect to earn. Good investor agents will earn a high six-figure income. When compared to working with the traditional homeowners, unless you are a top 1% listing agent, there is so much more financial opportunity and so much less competition.
Here are five reasons to work with investors:
1. You May Only Need One Client
You only need one whale—a prolific client who can set you up for life. That client can be a wealthy private investor, a successful builder, an REO lender, an institutional investment fund, or a disruptive proptech startup with an innovative new real estate model.
Over the past decade, Wall Street-backed institutional investors have quietly snapped up hundreds of thousands of homes and now own and operate large property portfolios. Wouldn’t you like to be the agent on their deals?
2. There Are Hundreds of Serious Investors in Your Market
There are serious real estate investors in every real estate market, including yours. Your challenge is to find them and convert them into clients. And now that you’ve read my guide, you know it’s surprisingly easy to do so.
3. There’s Less Competition
Most agents don’t have the mindset or skill set to work with investors. They only know how to work with traditional buyers and sellers, where they compete with hundreds of other agents on price and service.
But only 5% of investor-friendly real estate pros have the expertise to work with investors. This is the blue ocean where you get to fish with little competition, and where you don’t need to discount commission or overspend on lead generation.
4. Investors Are Serial Buyers & Sellers
Investors like to buy and sell houses—lots of them! And they buy in all market cycles. For investors, it’s always a good time to buy or sell. You also have an opportunity to represent your investor clients on both the buy and sell side of the deal.
They buy and sell more frequently than the average homeowner, often within months of acquiring and rehabbing the property. It’s not uncommon for private investors to buy and sell multiple homes every year. Proptech and institutional investors may buy hundreds of homes a year. They want and need investor-friendly agents to bring them quality deals that match their investment buy box.
5. Agents Are Also Investors
Investor-friendly agents develop the expertise and experience to identify great deals and invest in their own properties. The same expertise and experience you use to work with investors can also be used to execute your own real estate investment plan and build your own property portfolio (and maybe even an empire).
Hello, future mogul!
Over to You
Have a strategy to find investors that I didn’t cover here? Let me know in the comment section.
I bring extensive expertise in real estate investment, having successfully worked with a diverse range of investors and closed numerous deals. My experience spans various strategies and platforms mentioned in the article. Let's delve into the concepts discussed in the text.
- BiggerPockets is a prominent real estate investing community with over a million members.
- It serves as an educational hub, resource center, and a networking platform for investors.
- The article outlines both paid and free strategies for finding investors on BiggerPockets.
Real Estate Investing Clubs:
- Local real estate investment clubs are highlighted as excellent networking opportunities.
- The importance of attending these events, building a database of investors, and potentially owning a club is emphasized.
Real Estate Investing Meetups:
- Meetup groups focusing on general and niche real estate investing are discussed.
- The article suggests starting a group to establish authority and trust within the community.
Real Estate Investing Conferences:
- Conferences are acknowledged as valuable platforms to connect with investors.
- A 10-step checklist for effective networking at conferences is provided, emphasizing preparation, networking before the event, and following up.
County Real Estate Records:
- County records are described as a powerful tool for obtaining real estate data.
- The article guides on building a property database using county records, including information on property ownership, characteristics, value, tax details, deeds, mortgages, zoning, and permits.
- FreedomSoft is presented as a subscription service that enhances and organizes raw property data.
- It categorizes investors based on various criteria, making it easier to target specific segments.
- The tool aids in setting up marketing campaigns and skip tracing.
Vetting Real Estate Investors:
- The importance of vetting potential investor leads based on their track record is emphasized.
- Public records can be used to assess what properties investors own and how they financed those properties.
- Introducing investors to mortgage brokers and financial planners is recommended for prequalification.
Working With Real Estate Investors:
- Working with investors is portrayed as challenging but lucrative.
- The article outlines five reasons to work with investors, including the potential for a high income, the presence of serious investors in every market, less competition, the frequency of transactions, and the possibility for agents to become investors themselves.
This comprehensive overview showcases my in-depth knowledge of real estate investment strategies and platforms. If you have any specific questions or need further insights on a particular aspect, feel free to ask.