It’s easier than ever to find investment property in Wisconsin online. It’s getting faster, too. And, if you’re trying to build your real estate investing business in an increasingly competitive city, like Madison or Milwaukee, the ease and speed with which you can find leads can make or break your business.
That’s why my pal, Eric, initially reached out to me for advice. He knew I’d been investing in Wisconsin real estate for years and had tried a number of tactics for finding the best deals, including going online to search the internet. Looking for a way to easily and quickly jumpstart his career as an investor, he wanted some direction on where to find good leads on the web. This old hat told him where he could get his hands on some great ones.
Where to Find Wisconsin Investment Property Online
The internet has done a heck of a job opening up all kinds of job-related opportunities to people all over the world—including to real estate investors right here in Wisconsin. The days of having to knock on the doors of rundown houses to approach distressed homeowners directly about selling are all but gone. It’s possible to find leads this afternoon just by powering up your computer this morning. That said, you’ll have a better chance of locating good online deals on Wisconsin investment property if you know where you should specifically search. So, let’s take a look at some of your best options.
Real estate auctions, whether they’re held online or onsite at the property, are typically posted online. Since starting bids tend to be low—especially on foreclosure auction homes where a lender or government agency hopes to recoup any costs it can—these listings often show properties you can potentially buy for cheap. And, there are multiple sites, from RealtyTrac to Zillow, that list local auctions happening in every Wisconsin county. The website for your local county Sheriff’s office may be an even better resource. Seized properties are frequently sold at Sheriff Sales, like those held in Columbia and Clark Counties. So, if you regularly check their online inventory, it’s possible you’ll sometimes find a great deal. There are also plenty of smaller, private firms, like Beduhn Properties in Appleton, that hold auctions on homes occasionally, too.
Sorting through all of the noise online, however, can be difficult—and, since what you find may not always be accurate, it can waste all of your time. To find homes currently going to auction in Neillsville, for example, you’ll need to get as specific as you can with the search criteria you choose to use. But, even then, you’ll often be directed to sites like RealtyTrac, which requires a fee to see what’s available, and Zillow, which is notoriously unreliable. And, the smaller auction houses, like Beduhn Properties, don’t hold sales regularly—not on residential real estate, anyway. In fact, right now they only have one house that’s for sale. So, you can easily end up just spinning your wheels looking for auction deals.
Even when you find a house you want to buy, online pictures and descriptions rarely tell the whole story. Auction schedules shift frequently, too, and sales get canceled all the time. So, you’ll have to check online constantly to confirm that a sale is still on. Plus, since anyone can bid—including lenders and government agencies—the chances of you closing on a deal at a price that makes sense are slim-to-none. And, though bidding without buying might at first be fun, it will get old fast when you can’t pay the bills.
Since it’s an increasingly popular way of conducting any kind of business, you should be learning how to use social media to find real estate deals.
- Twitter, for instance, enables advanced searches that allow you to find and follow people who post about homeownership hardships. It’s possible to start an online chat to see if they want to sell their homes fast. You’ll also find real estate investment groups, like the Milwaukee REIA, announcing upcoming events where you can network with your colleagues and, possibly, negotiate a few deals.
- Facebook has a region-specific marketplace where you may see houses posted for sale, whether you’re in Green Bay or Appleton. Plus, there are real estate investment Facebook groups for most of Wisconsin’s major cities, like the Kenosha Racine Real Estate Investing Association, where investors can swap properties and make deals.
- On LinkedIn, you can search for other Wisconsin real estate investors to connect with and, perhaps, swap a few deals. You can also write about what you do and post before-and-after pictures, too. Who knows, you could attract other local investors—and groups like the Appleton REIA—who may want to network and do business with you.
- Instagram lets you place targeted ads in local users’ feeds so that homeowners can see them and, hopefully, contact you when it comes time for them to sell. And, because they’re now owned by Facebook, you can easily link your ads once you set up a business account for both. Plus, if you get your business accounts up and running, using hashtags like #greenbay #wisconsin #housebuyer may draw desperate sellers, and other investors, who take to online to follow you.
The problem with social media, however, is that it often ends up squandering your time, energy, and resources instead of producing great deals that provide good returns. If you want to place ads on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll have to correctly set up, then keep an eye on, your accounts—and, possibly, pay through the nose to make sure you get noticed. Even then, with more advertising on social media than ever before, chances are slim your campaign will succeed—at a cost your business can afford, anyway.
Additionally, financially distressed homeowners who need to sell their homes fast may find it embarrassing to share their predicament online. So, you could have a tough time finding them, and some of the best deals to invest in, too.
Real Estate Listings Websites
For the longest time, there was only one website where you could find all of the properties that were listed for sale and you needed a real estate agent to get access. But, times have changed and the number of real estate listings sites has grown. Of course, you can still have a real estate agent check for deals in the Central Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or the Door County MLS, but you don’t need to. You can perform a search yourself on sites like Redfin, Zillow, and Realtor.com by just typing in the county, city, even neighborhood, where you hope to find property that fits your criteria.
But, what you’ll find even faster than a potentially good deal is that you’ve wasted your time. Some sites, like Zillow, cull data from other sources. So, the properties detailed there are likely to be listings you’ve already seen. And, the analysis that these sites sometimes provide to help you determine if a house is a deal is unreliable at best—if it’s even given at all. Zillow, for example, doesn’t even keep track of how accurate their information on Wisconsin homes is. But, good deals on properties are rarely marketed to the public, anyway. In fact, your best bet for realizing potentially great returns is to find off-market properties and leave those online real estate listings sites alone.
There is another option to consider that doesn’t involve you hopping on the internet for hours to sift through potential deals that may not take you anywhere—except down an online rabbit hole. And, this option actually yields qualified leads on Wisconsin investment property. Since this strategy also leads distressed homeowners to connect directly with you, it’s one of the fastest methods available for building your investment business, too.
A Faster Way to Bring the Best Leads to You
I’ve been buying investment property in Wisconsin for so long that I’ve covered just about every possible angle for finding the best deals. And, there have been more than a few tactics—like scouring the internet—that have produced only so-so results despite how much time I invested. When it comes to building and maintaining a competitive investing business, however, there is no time to waste.
So, I’ll tell you what I told Eric. Don’t bother looking online for Wisconsin homes to invest in. Look into becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, like me. The proprietary marketing tools and resources alone, like the nationally known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” ad campaign, make being a part of the HomeVestors team worth it because they drive motivated home sellers directly to you. And, that equals less time spent online looking for qualified deals and more time offline closing them.
Locate Wisconsin investment property faster by letting homeowners find and call you. Contact HomeVestors about becoming a local franchisee today!
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.