I’ve always enjoyed attending local meetups for entrepreneurs. Not only is it a great networking opportunity, but many young investors are looking for new information. But in the last few years, the real estate market has changed—a lot. And sometimes I find that newer investors have an easier time keeping pace with those changes than their more seasoned counterparts.
A former coworker of mine had been a commercial real estate professional for decades, but she was just breaking into investing on her own. “Everyone always says look for off-market properties,” she said. “But is there even such a thing as an off-market property in Seattle?”
The question gave me pause.
I strictly deal in off-market properties. In Seattle, you have to. But the best lead generation strategies for off-market properties in Seattle have shifted dramatically. It used to be that you could just cold-call people in a given zip code or look up distressed properties. Now, you’re competing with an extraordinary number of other investors and professionals.
The competition in Seattle has become aggressive, and that does complicate issues for fix-and-flip buyers.
According to Redfin, homes in Seattle sell in a lightning-fast six days. During those six days, homes receive five offers on average. The average sales price in Seattle is currently $860k and rising.
What Makes the Seattle Real Estate Market Unique?
It’s fast. The second a house hits the market, offers are already chasing it—and sometimes sight unseen. People also just want to live in Seattle. The culture is booming, there are jobs everywhere, and there’s a little something for everyone.
About a decade ago, Seattle was primarily attractive because it was considered less expensive than many of the A-tier cities like Los Angeles or New York City. Now, it’s directly competing with them in terms of amenities and cost.
Home prices in Seattle. (Source: Redfin)
If you want temperate (albeit rainy) weather, beautiful homes, and a booming tech industry, Seattle is the place to be.
But that desirability can cause problems in and of itself. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you won’t have any problems finding agents to work with. But finding affordable properties to invest in within Seattle has become incredibly difficult. Most people need a little bit of help.
Lead Generation Strategies for Finding Off-Market Properties in Seattle
So let’s talk about leads. During my tenure in Seattle, I tried just about everything. Some things worked a little better than others, but nothing worked as well as getting leads to come directly to you, which I’ll discuss in a bit. Here are some other effective strategies to consider in the meantime:
Look For Expired or Withdrawn Listings
An expired listing is a property that was unsuccessfully marketed for sale and has now been removed from the MLS. Withdrawn listings are properties taken off the market by the seller, typically because they received no offers or an offer they couldn’t agree on with the prospective buyer.
These sellers are often still interested in selling their property, but they’re fed up with the traditional real estate process. They may be willing to accept a lower offer or work with an investor. In Seattle, though, a property that doesn’t sell is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Either they’re asking way too much for the property, or the property itself is a tear-down.
Call For-Sale-by-Owner Properties
A For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) property is a piece of real estate sold by the owner without the help of a real estate agent. Homeowners selling their property without an agent are typically motivated to do so because they want to save on commission fees. They may be more open to working with an investor who can offer a quick, hassle-free sale.
But again, these homeowners are already getting dozens of daily calls. They don’t need to work hard to sell their houses quickly.
Search for Distressed Properties
A distressed property is a piece of real estate in poor condition or facing foreclosure.
These properties are often sold below market value, making them a great investment opportunity for investors. Additionally, the owners of these properties may be more willing to work with an investor to avoid foreclosure.
In lower-volume regions, distressed properties are great. But connecting with a property that isn’t already being pursued in high-volume areas like Seattle is almost impossible. Once again, the problem is that if you can find a property, someone else can too.
Attend Foreclosure Auctions
A foreclosure auction is a public sale of a property that’s being foreclosed on. These auctions are often the last stop for a property as they are sold at a significant discount. Before being auctioned, properties are vacant and you have a limited amount of time to inspect them. You’ll also need to close the deal with cash within a very tight timeframe.
In Seattle, most properties will still go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the question remains: Do you actually have that much in cash to offer?
Go to a Property Wholesaler
A property wholesaler is a real estate investor who finds deeply discounted properties and sells them to other investors. Wholesalers have access to a large network of distressed sellers and motivated buyers, making them a great source for off-market properties.
These properties are often sold at a significant discount, making them a great investment opportunity. But in Seattle, wholesalers operate on much higher profit margins; you’ll lose at least some of your potential profit because you’re working with a middleman.
While all of the above strategies are great, what really worked for me was teaming up with an established franchise that did most of the lead gen legwork for me.
Get Marketing Leads Can Come to You Instead
HomeVestors® is a nationally recognized and trusted real estate investing franchise. When you become an independently owned and operated franchise owner, you’ll get leads coming directly to you. And when someone wants to sell their property in Seattle, they’ll give you a call—not the other way around. HomeVestors® has a proven marketing system that helps members generate a consistent flow of leads while providing the mentorship, training, and tools they need to work smarter, not harder.
When you work with HomeVestors®, you benefit from:
- A national advertising campaign that generates direct leads from motivated sellers
- Proprietary software and tools that qualify leads and identify the best investment deals
- Mentorship, training, and networking from other real investors across the entire nation
HomeVestors® gives you what you need to grow in the real estate business without the hassle. And in a market where timing and convenience are everything, that matters.
Off-market properties in Seattle can be hard to come by. But with the right help and technology at your side, it doesn’t have to be. Contact HomeVestors® to learn more about becoming a franchise owner.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.