If you’re looking to get into buying and flipping houses, you’ll likely find that there is a lot of competition in the market right now. That doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea, though. Instead, focus on a niche. Fire damaged property is an excellent example. Buying a fire-damaged house is generally more affordable, provides remodeling opportunities, gives you negotiating power, and is less competitive than other property types.
Network with insurance companies
Get in good with your local insurance agents and claims adjusters. They can often connect you with the seller of a fire damaged house or owners who didn’t initially think about selling. Sometimes a seller doesn’t want to put in the work to fix the property. Other times the insurance company won’t want to pay the claim on the property for various reasons. In these situations, getting in touch with the owner allows you to accurately assess the situation and determine if you want to make an offer. Remember to be compassionate if you’re approaching the owner. Chances are they are stressed and may still be navigating the financial and emotional turmoil. Being too business-like may be off putting for someone dealing with a personal tragedy.
Contact first responders
Building friendships with firefighters and other first responders can also be beneficial. Most counties in the United States keep a list of fire damaged property. Sometimes firefighters or others who have access to the list can give you a heads up about properties in the area. You might also consider joining a volunteer group or creating an organization to help build credibility as someone who buys and restores homes in communities.
Set up a search alert
If you cannot network with insurance agents or first responders, another good way to find out about local fire damaged properties is to set up search alerts. Google Alerts is a free and excellent choice. Use an email account to keep tabs on specific geographic areas and keywords to help you receive news alerts about fire damaged property. You’ll receive alerts as soon as fires are reported and they will likely include the address.
Monitor social media
Social media is another excellent way to look for fire damaged houses. On Twitter you can follow news channels, fire and sheriff’s departments, and even specific hashtags. In addition to finding out about fires in near real-time, you’ll receive access to addresses and may even learn about local auction events.
Network in your community
People are fascinated by unexpected disasters like fires and are often itching to talk about them when they see or learn about one. This means that your family, friends, and neighbors are often an excellent source of information. Tell them what you intend to do and ask them to let you know if they see a fire damaged house or have heard about any fires in their neighborhoods. This could give you an advantage over people who don’t think to talk to their friends and neighbors first.
Buying a fire damaged house and flipping it or adding it to a rental portfolio can be an excellent real estate investment. Networking with insurance agencies, building relationships with first responders, taking advantage of internet alerts, using social media to your advantage, and talking to your neighbors will help you keep tabs on when properties become available. When you find one, speak to the owner with compassion and make a fair offer to close the deal.