There are lots of different ways to make money in real estate. If you are new to the world of real estate and looking for a low-risk and low-cost way to get started, you might want to consider becoming a real estate property locator. Keep reading to find out what a real estate property locator is and how you can become one.
What Is a Real Estate Property Locator?
So, what exactly is a property locator? And what does a property locator do?
A property locator is someone who finds investment property deals for real estate investors. Property locators are sometimes called ‘bird dogs’, in reference to those dogs that hunt down birds and then retrieve them when the hunter has shot them. Similarly, a property locator ‘hunts down’ real estate deals and then presents them to the investor.
How do property locators make money?
They earn a commission every time they find a property that their investors can either fix up and sell for a profit or rent out to tenants. The commission rates will usually be proportional to the quality of the deals they find. So, they will typically try to find investment properties with the biggest potential for return on investment so as to earn higher commissions.
Who can become a property locator?
Anyone can become a property locator. It requires no formal education, no capital investment, and no hands-on experience in any of the typical work involved in maintaining a real estate property. That’s why becoming a property locator is particularly popular among those getting started in real estate with little to no money. Basically, you just need to know how to find real estate investors and how to find real estate deals.
How to Find Real Estate Investors
In order to become a real estate property locator, you first need to find real estate investors so you can start working with them. Here are some ways you can find them:
Family and Friends
One way to find real estate investors is through family and friends. Talk to everyone you know and ask them if they know any real estate investors. Let them know that you are planning on becoming a property locator. It’s also possible that they themselves might be thinking of investing in real estate and looking for someone to help them find investment properties.
Another way to find investors is through networking. Start attending real estate meetups and events in your town. It’s where all real estate professionals conjugate. Get yourself a business card that explains what you do and hand it to as many investors as possible when talking to them. That way, they can reach out to you if they’re interested in working with you.
You can also find investors by joining real estate investment clubs. These clubs are the perfect places to build business relationships. They are full of individuals that are either already investors or are very interested in the real estate investing business. You can search for investment clubs online and request to join – there are plenty of them on the internet, big ones and small ones.
Last but not least, you can find real estate investors through social media. What better way to meet people interested in the same things as you than social media? Websites like Facebook and LinkedIn are filled with real estate investment groups than you can join. You can also create your own group on these platforms. The key to building relationships with investors on there is to comment on other users’ posts and engage in conversations.
As you can see, there are many ways to find real estate investors. The most important thing for you as a property locator is to build a large network of ready-to-buy investors that you can turn to at any time. Once you build such a network, it can be very easy to make money with every new deal you find. This brings us to our next topic: How do you find real estate deals as a property locator?
How to Find Real Estate Deals
Thanks to real estate technology, property locators can now easily find real estate deals online. Gone are the days when they had to scour the real estate market for weeks and months just to identify potential real estate investments. New real estate investment tools have emerged and they are designed to specifically help real estate property locators find the best deals on the market. Such tools can be found at Mashvisor, a real estate analytics software used for finding and analyzing investment properties in the US. Let’s see how you can use them to become a property locator.
Real Estate Heatmap
An essential step in the process of finding real estate deals is to perform real estate market analysis in order to find a good location for real estate investment. The best way to do this is to use a real estate heatmap.
This is a tool that allows you to visualize various real estate data on a map. It works using a system of color-coding to indicate how different areas within a city are performing according to specific real estate metrics. The areas that score high for a given metric appear in green on the map, whereas the areas that score low appear in red. Using Mashvisor’s heatmap tool, you can search for any city in the US and analyze its different neighborhoods based on the following metrics:
- Property listing price
- Rental income (traditional and Airbnb)
- Cash on cash return (traditional and Airbnb)
- Airbnb occupancy rate
You can then easily identify the locations that have the best potential for return on investment.
Related: Finding Income Properties in 2020 with a Heatmap
Rental Property Finder
After finding a good location, your job as a property locator is to find an investment property in that location that meets the goals and requirements of your investor. Your investor will have a specific budget range in mind and so you need to make sure to find real estate deals that fall within that range. They will also have a specific investment strategy they aim to implement (e.g. renting out the property short-term or long-term), and so you need to find properties that are suitable for this kind of investment. The best way to carry out your investment real estate search as a property locator would be to use a rental property finder (a.k.a, investment property deal finder). This is a tool that is used for finding investment properties for sale based on the user’s search criteria. Mashvisor’s rental property finder allows you to set your criteria using a number of filters, such as:
- Type of real estate
- Rental strategy
- Number of bedrooms/bathrooms
The tool then finds you top-performing properties that match your filter selections.
Related: How to Use Mashvisor’s Investment Property Deal Finder
Investment Property Calculator
Finding a bunch of properties that match your filter selections does not mean you’re done with your investment real estate search. Your final job as a property locator is to analyze the different properties so you can choose the most profitable one. We advise you to use an investment property calculator for that purpose. This is a tool used for analyzing real estate deals and estimating the expected returns. What it does is it calculates all the important real estate metrics that you need for assessing the profitability of a property, based on real estate comps data from the local housing market. This means that, using Mashvisor’s calculator, you can easily see how much the return on investment will be for each of the listed properties. All you have to do is input your investor’s financing method and amount of down payment, and the calculator will automatically provide you with the following numbers:
- Rental income (traditional and Airbnb)
- Rental expenses (traditional and Airbnb)
- Cash flow (traditional and Airbnb)
- Cash on cash return (traditional and Airbnb)
- Cap rate (traditional and Airbnb)
- Occupancy rate (traditional and Airbnb)
This real estate deal analysis is available for each listed property. You can, as a result, easily compare the different properties and determine which one has the best potential for return on investment. This is the one that will help you earn the most money.
Related: Investment Property Calculator: A Simple Guide on Using it
Finally, you can download a PDF analysis report for that investment property and share it with your real estate investor.
The Bottom Line
One of the most important parts of being a property locator is finding good real estate deals. At the same time, finding good deals is one of the hardest parts of the job, largely due to the high competition in today’s housing market. That’s why anyone thinking of becoming a property locator needs to be equipped with the right tools that will help them find the best deals before anyone else could get to them.
If you’re wondering how to become a property locator, check out Mashvisor. You will find all the tools you need to search for, analyze, and find the best real estate deals in the US.
Click here to get your hands on Mashvisor’s tools and start making money as a property locator.