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  • Writer's pictureChris Goff

Driving for Dollars: A Proven Strategy for Real Estate Success

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

In the competitive world of real estate investing, finding off-market properties with untapped potential is the key to success. One proven method for uncovering hidden gems is "driving for dollars" – a hands-on approach that involves driving through neighborhoods in search of distressed or vacant properties. In this blog post, we'll discuss the benefits of driving for dollars, share tips for maximizing your efforts, and explain how this strategy can lead to lucrative investment opportunities.

What are the Benefits of Driving for Dollars?

Driving for dollars offers several advantages over traditional property searching methods:

Discover Off-Market Properties: By physically exploring neighborhoods, you can identify properties that may not be listed on the MLS or online platforms, giving you a competitive edge in finding deals.

Gain Local Insight: Observing the neighborhood firsthand allows you to better understand the area's dynamics, including property values, local amenities, and future developments that could impact your investment.

Save Time and Money: Rather than spending hours scouring online listings, driving for dollars lets you quickly identify potential investment properties, saving you valuable time and resources.

Factors to Consider when Choosing an Area to Drive

There are several factors to consider when choosing an area to start in. Let’s review some of those factors:

  • Price range

  • Types of properties

  • Investment Methods

  • State and local laws

  • Growth

  • Rents

  • Exit strategies

  • Desirability

  • Proximity to where you live

  • Types of neighborhoods

Which Neighborhoods Should I Drive for Dollars?

Your initial objective is to determine the type of real estate market that aligns with your investment preferences. Real estate investors commonly categorize neighborhoods into A, B, C, and D markets. The A markets represent affluent areas characterized by gated communities and high-value properties, often exceeding a million dollars. On the opposite side of the spectrum lie the D markets, encompassing economically disadvantaged neighborhoods that may face various challenges.

You can find real estate opportunities in every market, so it’s up to you to decide where to focus. We encourage you to give special attention to ‘C’ neighborhoods. These are the middle-priced areas where the majority of homes are located. You are likely to find a high percentage of potential deals here.

There are four basic types of neighborhoods in every market.

“A” Neighborhoods – High-Priced Homes

  • High price point

  • Large homes

  • Historic areas

  • Gated communities

  • Highly desirable location

“B” Neighborhoods – Middle to High-Priced Homes

  • One step down from the “A” neighborhood

  • Nearby shopping, which includes chain stores

  • Mostly owner-occupied

  • Vacant homes stand out

  • Fewer rentals

“C” Neighborhoods – Middle-Priced Homes

  • Small businesses nearby

  • A mix of older and newer homes

  • A mix of owner-occupied and rentals

  • More flexible sellers

  • Good cash flow properties

“D” Neighborhoods – Low-Priced Homes

  • Depreciation

  • Good cash flow

How Do You Determine the Middle-Priced Markets?

REIPro Software is a great place to determine the medium-priced markets.

Step 1: Enter a County, City or Zip Code to see market trends and Median Home Price.

REIPro Real Estate Market Trends
REIPro Market Trends

Step 2: Pinpoint Median Home Price (Middle-Priced).

Median Home Values and Market Trends in REIPro Software
REIPro Home Values

Step 3: Search and Filter Market Based on Median Price.

Filtering a list of real estate leads in REIPro Software
REIPro Lead Gen Filter

Step 4: Determine Neighborhoods to Drive

Neighborhood map of real estate leads in REIPro Software.
REIPro Neighborhoods

5 Tips for Successful Driving for Dollars

Plan Your Route: Before hitting the road, research local market trends (REIPro), property values, and upcoming developments to identify neighborhoods with high investment potential. Plan a strategic route that covers these areas efficiently.

Look for Visual Cues: Keep an eye out for signs that indicate a property is vacant or distressed, such as overgrown yards, boarded-up windows, peeling paint, and piled-up mail. Also, check for personal items that someone would have around the home, like a hose, a potted plant, curtains in the windows, kids' toys, and other personal items. If these items are not there, the home could be vacant. These properties may present opportunities for negotiation and profit.

Take Detailed Notes: Document each promising property by noting the address, property condition, and any other relevant observations. Snap photos to help you remember the property's features and make it easier to research later.

Verify Ownership Information: After identifying potential investment properties, obtain ownership information using REIPro Software by entering in the address. This will give you the owner's name and mailing address, which is essential for reaching out.

Reach Out to Property Owners: Either call owner directly by running a skip trace to determine the owner's contact info or add the property to a direct mail campaign all inside REIPro. Be professional, concise, and genuine in your approach. If possible, follow up with a phone call, as building rapport with property owners can increase your chances of securing a deal.

Turning Driving for Dollars into Profitable Investments

Once you've identified and contacted property owners, the next step is to negotiate and close deals. Here are a few tips for turning your driving-for-dollars efforts into profits:

Understand Your Numbers: Thoroughly analyze each property's potential value and renovation costs before entering negotiations. This will help you determine a fair offer that aligns with your investment goals.

Be Prepared to Act Quickly: In competitive markets, being able to move fast can make all the difference. Have financing options in place and be ready to submit offers promptly when opportunities arise.

In conclusion, driving for dollars is a proven strategy for finding off-market properties and gaining valuable local insights in the ever-changing world of real estate investing. By following the tips outlined in this blog post and staying persistent in your efforts, you can uncover hidden gems and turn them into profitable investments. Happy hunting!

Learn More about REIPro Software and How it Can Change the Way you Invest in Real Estate:


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