A good way to find investment deals is by contacting sellers in financial hardship before they list with an agent. I am currently in the process of finding an investment property, so I am working on building a list of potential properties in Northern VA that may be worth pursuing.
This past Friday, my investment group and I went to the Fairfax County courthouse to find homeowners in the pre-foreclosure stage. This is a good stage to catch the owner at, because you have a shot of closing a good deal being that they are on the verge of foreclosure and would embrace an offer to get them out of that bind.
To obtain addresses of these homeowners we looked for "Substitution of Trustee" documents.
I'll try to keep this simple.. In the state of Virginia, there are three parties involved in lending situations: Borrower (homeowner), Lender (bank), and a third party trustee. The trustee is responsible for holding legal ownership (title) of the property while the borrower makes payments to the lender. If the borrower completes all of the payments, ownership is transferred from the trustee to the borrower. If the borrower does not make payments, the lender can force the trustee to foreclose on the property to collect money owed. At this point, the lender replaces the existing trustee with a foreclosure company. The lender completes a form called the "Substitution of Trustee" which basically makes the foreclosure company the new trustee. This form is recorded in the county courthouse and is an indication that a foreclosure is imminent.
Bottom line, when the "Substitution of Trustee" form is recorded, it is an indication to us, as investors, that a house is going to be foreclosed on. After finding the addresses, you can reach out directly to these owners to make a deal.
Going to the courthouse during the week to find this information can be a hassel. However, I am working on developing these lists on a weekly basis. If you would like to subscribe to receive these lists of potential investment properties please send me an e-mail and we'll get you set up.
One more thing...
In addition to searching the courthouse for "Substitution of Trustee" documents, looking for tax sales can be a lucrative strategy. There is a VA law firm called Taxing Authority Consulting Services (TACS). If you visit their website, you will be able to sign up for a newsletter that notifies you of tax sales and auctions in various parts of VA.
Let me know how I can be of assistance in your search for an investment property!