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interior of car as a local investor is driving for dollars


Driving For Dollars:
What It Is And How To Crush It


Driving For Dollars involves driving around neighborhoods and looking for homes that look like they’re in bad shape or have been vacant for a long time. These properties are called "distressed property leads," and they can be a great chance for investors to buy at a discount and either flip them or keep them as rentals to make money.


Driving For Dollars is more efficient and more scalable with Leadflow’s real estate investment app, but for those looking to do it themselves, the post below talks all about how to drive for dollars completely free.


And if you’re looking to deepen your investing knowledge, or want to get the basics of how to invest in real estate, Leadflow is here to help you kickstart your new career or create a side hustle in the real estate investment world.



Driving For Dollars Targets Off-Market, Distressed Property Leads


The goal of Driving For Dollars is to find off-market, distressed property leads. Off-market leads are real estate listings that are not currently for sale on the open market. These properties may be owned by individuals or investors who want to sell but have not yet officially listed their property.


And of all off-market leads, distressed property leads are the holy grail of leads, because they often give you the chance to buy a property at a lower price. Better prices mean better deals and higher margins. 


There are generally 4 types of distressed property leads real estate investors are looking for when driving for dollars…



Exterior of distressed property an investor found while driving around the neighborhood


4 Types Of Distressed Property Leads To Target When Driving For Dollars


1. Tax Delinquent leads: When property taxes aren't paid, it could mean the owner simply forgot to pay…but it’s more likely that the  that the owner is facing financial problems.


2. Late Mortgage leads: When mortgage payments aren't made on time, it usually means that the owner is having trouble making ends meet.


3. Pre-foreclosure leads: A property through foreclosure is a clear sign that the owner is having trouble with money.


4. Upside Down leads: Upside Down leads paid more for their house than it’s worth, and many just want to get out from under it as fast as possible.



Maximizing ROI When Driving For Dollars


You want to get the most money back from the time you spend on Driving For Dollars, so you have to be as efficient as possible. Here are 5 tips that real estate investors can use to find the most deals with the least amount of work.

1. Prioritize Your Lead List

Prioritizing your lead list means figuring out where you can make the most money and putting your efforts there first. Investors can use tools like property databases, neighborhood demographics, and crime rates to best estimate where they’ll find distressed properties.


Driving For Dollars also helps investors identify two additional lead funnels; probate leads and absentee owner leads. 


Probate leads are pieces of property that are in the process of being given to the people who are entitled to get them from an estate. These properties can be a great opportunity for investors because they are often sold at a discounted price, as many times those inheriting the properties don’t want to deal with taxes, lawyers and fees. 


Absentee owner leads are properties that are owned by people who don't live there. The homes are actually generally well-taken care of, but a tell-tale sign of an absentee home is a lawn that is consistently long, and in the fall, is covered with leaves that are never removed.



2. Predefine Your Target Properties

Investors should make a list of what they want in a distressed property before they even set out looking. This can include things like;

  • How old the property is
  • The condition of the property
  • Location
  • Any additional amenities you’re looking for


Having a list of criteria set up ahead of time will help investors find potential leads quickly while they are driving and save time by letting them focus on properties that meet their criteria.



3. Utilize technology

Technology is an absolute must for making money while driving. Mobile apps and mapping software can help investors find possible leads quickly. These tools can also help investors keep track of the leads they've found and make it easier to follow up with them later.



4. Take Detailed And Organized Notes

Investors may see hundreds of properties when Driving For Dollars, so it’s imperative they keep detailed notes on any property they may be interested in. This can include the property's address, its condition, and any other information about the property or its owner that could be useful for following up. Keeping detailed notes will help investors keep track of the leads they've found and make it easier to follow up with them later.



5. Follow up with leads quickly

In real estate investing, time is of the essence, so investors should follow up on leads as soon as they find them. At the end of the day, the quicker investors can follow up on a lead, the more likely they are to nail the deal. Investors should use a variety of methods to follow up with leads like real estate direct mail, real estate cold calling, SMS marketing and email campaigns. 

For investors getting serious about following up, an all-in-one real estate investing software to manage reach outs and follow ups is absolutely crucial so that nothing falls through the cracks.


Woman virtually driving for dollars


Virtual Driving For Dollars

Virtual Driving for Dollars is a way to find possible foreclosed homes without actually driving around neighborhoods. Instead, you use online tools and technology. This method can be a great way for real estate investors who want to explore new locations and who are looking for ways to work virtually in real estate.


Some of the tools you’ll use in virtual driving for dollars include;


  • Property databases: These databases have information about properties, like who owns them, who pays taxes on them, and what their mortgage history is. With this information, investors can find homes that may be in trouble.

  • Google Maps: Investors can virtually drive through neighborhoods and look at properties from the street by using Google Maps. Street View lets investors see what a property looks like from the outside, which can help them find possible leads. Here are some tips to use Google Street View like a pro.

  • Social Media: Investors can use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to look for distressed properties in the areas they are interested in. Search for a hashtag in your city, for example: #[yourcityname]. You never know if people are taking photos of places you would be interested in. 

  • Public Records: Tax records, property deeds, and mortgages are all types of public records that can be found on county websites or in specialized databases. This can help investors find properties that might be in bad shape and find out more about the property and the owner.

Satellite Imagery: Platforms like Google Earth, Bing Maps, and other satellite images can help investors find potential properties that are in bad shape by showing images of the roof, backyard, and neighborhood. Keep in mind that some of these pictures may be out of date, but it's still worth trying to see if you can find anything useful.



Real-World Example Of Driving For Dollars


Greg is an investor who wants to buy a rental property in a certain neighborhood. Greg starts by driving around the neighborhood and looking for houses that look like they are falling apart or have been empty for a long time. He uses a set list of criteria, such as the age of the property, its condition, and where it is located. He also uses the Leadflow mobile app to find potential leads quickly and keep track of information about the property and the owner.


Greg is driving when he sees a house that meets exactly what he’s looking for. The property is a single-family home that looks like it is empty and needs a lot of work. The house is in a nice neighborhood close to good schools and public transportation. Greg writes down the address and other information about the property. He also takes a picture of it.


Greg looks at public records after his drive to find out more about the property and its owner. He finds out that the owner is behind on mortgage payments and hasn't paid the taxes on the house. Greg can tell from this that the owner is having money problems and that the property might be a good lead for a distressed property.

Greg then calls the owner of the property using a script and template that have already been written. He says that he is a local investor in real estate and that he is interested in the property. He also says that he knows the property is behind on taxes and mortgage payments and that he would like to help the owner by buying the property and taking care of the unpaid taxes. He also offers to buy the property from the owner at a fair price.


In this example, Greg was able to find a distressed property lead by using the Driving for Dollars strategy. He found a vacant and run-down property that met his criteria, used public records to learn more about the property and its owner, and then got in touch with the owner to show his interest in buying the property.

Driving for Dollars should be used with other ways to get leads, like direct mail marketing, cold calling, and networking. Driving for Dollars can help you be more productive and get more leads, but it shouldn't be your only strategy.

And if you want to find out more about real estate investor marketing strategies, and to build a side hustle or a full-time career in real estate investing, Leadflow has everything you need. Grab your free 7-day trial of Leadflow below!