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Buying an investment property is no small commitment, so it’s always best to take your time and take care of all necessary due diligence before making any purchasing decisions. On the other hand, you don’t want to be wasting your time either, so there has to be a balance between being extremely thorough and having a fast and efficient workflow. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, you can streamline the process of finding the right investment property for your budget and circumstances. With that said, here are seven tips you can use to reliably locate the best investment opportunities in your area:

1. Contact an Estate Agent

Going it alone isn’t always a good idea when you’re buying investment properties, as it helps to have access to the experience and connections of a qualified estate agent. However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately follow the advice of the first professional you speak with, as some estate agents will steer you in a direction that is most beneficial to them for the sake of earning larger commissions. Still, it’s usually a good idea to at least consult with an agent about what kind of your property you’re looking for to see if they can provide any quick suggestions.

2. Utilise the Internet

When you’re just starting out, finding great investment properties on your own can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack while blindfolded – with so many options, you can quickly become overwhelmed just trying to determine what to look for. Luckily the internet is there to help.  Not only can you access the websites of estate agents, but you can also browse through your options on a platform like Sourced which allows you to search thousands of investment properties in the country and ultimately makes investing easier than ever. Twenty years ago, browsing different properties meant visiting them in person; the internet has since changed all of this, making things way easier.

3. Drive Around Areas You’re Interested In

If you already have an idea of where you’d like the property to be located, you might be able to find some hidden gems by driving around the neighbourhood and looking for sale signs. While this is certainly the oldest and most straightforward trick in the book, it’s still effective for uncovering properties that aren’t yet widely advertised or easy to discover online. Plus, this method greatly reduces competition, as most property investors do all of their searching via web-based platforms, estate agents, catalogues, and other mediums, so you’ll be part of a small minority who actually take the time to explore neighbourhoods in-person.

4. Subscribe to Newsletters, Magazines, and Property Sale Catalogues

There are a lot of investors out there who have established themselves as gurus in the art of finding great investment properties. These pundits usually send out useful email newsletters highlighting some of the hottest properties on the market, and oftentimes, the photography alone is enough to keep you entertained while you skim through the listings. Likewise, property for sale magazines and catalogues can give you some printed pages to flip through in your spare time.

5. Join Social Media Groups

Joining investment groups on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram will give you access to a network of buyers, agents, sellers, investors, and other professionals who are constantly sharing information. By staying active on social networking sites, you can start building connections that may be able to help you find better properties in the future.

6. Look Beyond Your Immediate Area

Many people miss out on great real estate deals simply because they’ve restricted themselves to only searching in one area. While relocating or managing a property from a distance might seem like unfeasible options, they could be minor inconveniences when compared to the potential for a high ROI. You might even want to look into foreign markets to expand your property portfolio internationally. There are plenty of developed countries that have booming property markets you can start profiting from.

7. Consider Foreclosures and Properties in Need of Renovation

Foreclosed properties aren’t always readily visible in typical property search databases, so they’re easy to overlook. Yet, buying a foreclosed property is one of the best ways to get an amazing deal. You may also want to broaden your search to include properties that need a little TLC. While you’ll be committing to extra investment for the labour and materials needed to get the place up to par, the ultra-low price point will give you enough room to pay for the renovation and still make a nice profit from the flip.

8. Take Notes About Desirable Property Attributes to Develop a Custom Criteria

If you’re doing all of the above routinely, eventually you’ll start to notice a pattern in the way you select prospective properties. Based on your findings, you can make a list of criteria that will speed up the process going forward. These desired attributes can then be used to define sorting options on property search platforms. For example, displaying properties of a specific type or in a defined price range within an exact area.