There’s nothing quite as refreshing as the smell of Washington’s pine forests. When I was starting to flip houses for the first time, I often wondered how much the state’s scenic vistas contributed to its property values. But what I really should have been wondering was how to get an edge over my competition by finding leads for off-market homes.
Going off-market is a great way to secure deals that you wouldn’t otherwise have any chance of benefiting from. Without a significant amount of reaching out to homeowners in my early days of investing in Tacoma and Spokane, I’d never have grown my business enough to start competing years later in the ritzier areas of Seattle. Still, off-market properties in Washington state aren’t exactly abundant, so you’ll need to know which strategies for approaching them work best. Let’s take a look at a few of the market’s most important factors and trends so that you can truly appreciate the versatility of off-market properties in Washington State.
Why The Washington Real Estate Market Is Unique
For real estate investors, the Washington market has a lot of opportunities, and many of its submarkets are becoming more vibrant over time. Most house flipping strategies are viable somewhere in the state, but some of its rural submarkets will be significantly more challenging to tackle with bargain-hunting strategies. So, experienced investors will feel right at home, and less-experienced investors will likely find enough room to get established—even if there aren’t many free lunches to find.
In general terms, current trends in the Washington real estate market include:
- Rising home prices and further construction and development of the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia corridor
- Rising market activity in Spokane
- Declining rural market activity and falling prices
- Slow development of rural coastal areas
Furthermore, the quality of Washington’s housing stock varies widely. The urbanized corridor running from Seattle to Olympia consists almost entirely of fresh properties which have been built recently. In contrast, the eastern basin over the mountain range is a mix of much older and a handful of somewhat newer constructions built in the last 50 years or so, with many of the older structures in either poor or dilapidated condition. The western coast is another unique area; it isn’t anywhere near as developed as the urban corridor, nor are its homes as new, but properties are in much better condition than the eastern rural areas on average.
Foreclosure activity is moderate throughout the state, with more foreclosures concentrated in the forested rural and mountainous areas away from the coast. The catch is that these areas are the least likely to be experiencing rising property prices, so gobbling up foreclosures can be a bit risky here.
Finding leads in suburban and exurban markets can be challenging in Washington. While the market is decently dynamic and there aren’t any shortages of buyers, attractive properties tend to be fiercely contested and sellers are becoming less abundant due to the threat posed by rising interest rates. As such, it can pay to scout for off-market leads so that you can get the scoop on potentially worthwhile homes before the public does.
Tricks For Finding Off-Market Properties In Washington State
The first rule of thumb for identifying leads for off-market properties in Washington State is to get creative. Some off-market homes are owned by discouraged sellers, but many are also owned by people who haven’t considered the idea that they could make a quick profit by selling their homes to a real estate investor. Therefore, reaching out directly to homeowners in an appealing neighborhood is the surest way to find off-market properties in Washington state.
Homeowner outreach can take a few forms, including:
- Mass mailers
- Cold calling
- Emailing campaigns
- Other digital advertising campaigns
To implement these tactics, you’ll need to abide by the second rule of thumb: It pays to get scrappy. The more persistent, targeted, and unique your outreach campaigns are, the more traction you’ll find. In other words, while I didn’t consider knocking on doors a preferred form of outreach, it might be your best bet for finding homes off-market in some neighborhoods. And if nobody else is willing to do it, you’ll have a major advantage.
It’s true that gathering leads for off-market properties in Washington state is time-intensive. But you can cut down on that time by narrowing your focus on areas that have undervalued yet quality properties. Still, be aware that going off-market for leads is an exercise in patience and persistence. It’s a numbers game no matter how aggressive you are or how carefully you tailor your approach to the local market’s conditions.
Scrounging For Leads Doesn’t Need To Be Difficult
Rather than spending all of your time devising marketing campaigns to generate leads for off-market properties in Washington state, I’ve found that it’s a huge help to team up with a nationwide investing franchise like HomeVestors® instead. Its platform leverages a variety of different techniques to help independently owned and operated franchise owners nab quality off-market homes, including via its nationally-trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign. Plus, when you franchise with HomeVestors®, you’ll also learn the real estate industry’s most advanced techniques for harvesting prospects from any market, including in Washington.
For me, franchising with HomeVestors® was my ticket to growing my business faster than ever. Doing so freed up a lot of the hours I had been spending on cold-calling homeowners in the outskirts of Tacoma. Once I started seeing that there was an easier way to access the opportunities present in the off-market flow of properties there, I couldn’t go back to traditional outreach methods.
With HomeVestors®, I was also able to make use of its hard money lending portal, which helped me get the financing I needed to close my off-market deals at a quick clip. At the same time, HomeVestors® trained me to flip houses more effectively than before, and it also added me to its massive network of other independent real estate investors. Without them, my house-flipping business in Washington wouldn’t have been able to get off the ground. And that’s why I think it’s a great way to break into the industry.
Want to learn more about how to find leads for off-market properties in Washington state or practically anywhere else? Request information about becoming a HomeVestors® franchise owner today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.