Bird-Dog for Profit - How to Invest in Real Estate with No Money

There is an old axiom to investing that one needs to have money to make money. While this theory often plays out in certain financial arenas, there are opportunities in some markets for savvy investors to make money without having any to invest, personally.

In real estate, a growing investment strategy is what is known as bird-dogging. Often referred to as -flipping,' this type of property investment involved the purchase of a run down property selling at a discount. After the purchase, the property is quickly renovated and repaired, and hopefully sold for a solid profit based on the increased market value. Obviously, for the strategy to be successful, the investor needs to know: 1) How to get a good price on a run down property, 2) How to efficiently fix up a property and reasonable cost, and 3) What the potential market value is for the property following repairs.

The person who buys run down property to fix up and sell for profit is known as a bird-dog. Bird-dog investing is not for everyone. Property buyers must be aggressive and good negotiators who can get a good price from a homeowner unable to afford repair costs, yet looking to get out from under his or her property. The purchase price is usually the key to profitability for these types of investments.

Renovation and repair costs can also affect profitability of the property investment. Many bird-dogs participate in the repairs to lower the investment costs to fix up the property. Others have teams or key improvement specialists who work at lower rates for the opportunity to get consistent business with the investor. Well managed renovation costs greatly increase profitability of the property at resale.

There are great opportunities for expert bird-dogs to earn substantial profit with little to low risk or investment. Wholesale retail companies - those that buy discounted properties to fix up and resell - often employ property locators (bird-dogs) to find good properties, available at great rates, and with great profitability. Sometimes these property locators are paid commissions or fees for their services, other times they are a partner in the investment.

The benefit of representing a wholesale investor is that the bird dog does not need to take on the investment risk of buying the run down property. Instead, the wholesale company takes on the investment risk, and most times the renovation and repairs. The bird-dog is an expert who is relied upon to find great investment properties. Those locators with a proven track record and consistent ability to find profit generating properties can demand greater fees for their services.

Again, the starting point of bird-dog investing is finding a great property location that offers potential for a property once it is fixed up. Good property locators perform research, follow market trends and know areas that offer great resale value for a well-constructed home. Run down property owners in these areas typically have been unable to keep their homes in the same condition as their neighbors. This is the reason many are happy to find a willing buyer, even at a discounted price. Pre-foreclosed, foreclosed, and other secondary discount property markets are additional options for bird-dogging. Some Web sites such as www.foreclosure.com offer a large database of discounted properties of various types.

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