Great investment property deals in Chicago can be hard to find. When I first started my real estate investing business, most of my time was spent tracking down leads. And, often, they turned out to be a dud. I spent so much of my time putting together a credibility kit and trying to find mentors who had been there, done that. I also spent a good chunk of money buying lead lists and putting together marketing materials, including packaged drip email campaign services. Every now and again, a distressed homeowner facing foreclosure would get in touch, but then I was faced with how to manage the sensitive communications to get the deal closed. Along the way, I learned a thing—or three—about how to avoid all that and still find a good investment property opportunity in Chicago. Let me share the top lead resources that I’ve found.
Cheap Investment Property Leads in Chicago
There are some unique investment opportunities still available as a result of the housing bubble, and one of them is the Chicago Forfeiture Program. The program is powered by federal monies that are distributed through the city to clean up blighted neighborhoods. Investors can locate decrepit or distressed properties that they would like to rehab, then apply for the city to help them gain ownership. If you have the funds to see the renovation project through and can do it in a timely fashion, the city’s legal team will help you bring the case to court and petition for a judicial deed.
Sounds pretty simple, right? But you should go into it with your eyes wide open as there are a few disadvantages to Chicago’s forfeiture program. The biggest downside is simply how time-consuming the process can be. After you complete the application, you need to wait for a court date—which can take up to a year! Even then, it’s not a sure bet that the court will award you the property. If, during the course of the legal proceedings, another party with interest in the property is discovered, the court will either halt or prolong your case. I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend my time actually acquiring a property.
Another option is to purchase a property from the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA). Like the forfeiture program, the CCLBA was formed to address the overwhelming inventory of vacant and deteriorating houses Chicago was left with after the housing crisis. Using grants, donations, and sale revenues, the program focuses specific neighborhoods across the metropolitan area and sells properties—with clear titles!—to investors for renovation. The biggest benefit of buying a CCLBA property is that you can save thousands in transactional and legal fees, and even close in as little as five days.
That said, of course there’s a hitch—it’s the “soft mortgage” that comes with the deal. First, the deed transfer comes with a “right of reentry” for the organization. In simple terms, that means CCLBA can take the property back if you do not follow through on the renovations according to their terms. Next, you are required to have the rehab complete within 12 months. If you’ve ever rehabbed a distressed house before, you know that these projects can come with all kinds of unexpected setbacks, from finding more damage than expected to emptying your bank account too fast.
Find Fixer-Uppers—Without the Hassle
While both the forfeiture program and the land bank hold the potential for you to acquire cheap property, I’ve found a less time-consuming way to find and convert leads. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted my business to grow. To do that, I needed to be positioned to purchase even more fixer-uppers—regardless of market conditions—per year than I was doing on my own. So, after doing some thoughtful research, I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Lead generation for investment opportunities is almost effortless with HomeVestors’ well recognized national brand, “We Buy Ugly Houses®,” and its strategic marketing tools.
If you too would like to short-circuit the frustrating process of bringing in leads, get in touch with HomeVestors today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.
I first became a Homevestors Franchisee in October of 1999 when my cousin and I bought a Franchise in Dallas in the great state of Texas. We did well and were ‘Rookies of the Year.
In 2003 Homevestors opened up in the Chicago market and along with my daughter, son and wife moved back ‘home’ to open the first Franchise in the greatest city on earth.
In 2010 I became a Development Agent to help mentor and teach new franchisees this incredible business and to this day I still love the career path I chose and the opportunities that continue to be available.