By Wendy Ceccherelli

Where, oh where, do I find good deals to flip in today’s hot market?

Many renters will move out of the city to less expensive areas of Western Washington. First-time homebuyers will look for less expensive areas in which to invest in real estate. Some of the most popular areas of our state with the greatest number of sales transactions right now are in Spanaway, Bonney Lake, but also Mill Creek.

In each of these areas, median home price is less than in Seattle. The lowest median home price is in Spanaway, at $246,575 or $141.30/sf (but rising!). Spanaway had 540 residential sales in the past 6 months. There are 19 residential listings on the Spanaway market as I write, listed under this median price (7 are mobile homes).

Wholesale and rehab investors would be wise to target some of these lower priced, more rapidly growing areas.

How about subdividing? There are 27 properties listed under $500,000 claiming to be in the city of Seattle with over 7500 sf of land. Perhaps this is a good time to add to the housing inventory (if you can find a builder that is not booked too far out)… King County actually has 105 parcels of vacant land priced under $100,000 (3/4 of them have more than 10,000sf), many of which come with seller financing. Land may also offer an opportunity for joint ventures on development.

How about properties that have been on the market for a long time? In Seattle, that may be anything over 30 days …That would be 133 residential properties in Seattle listed right now. Twenty-nine of these are priced under $500,000. Put these properties out of their misery, and make some low-ball offers.

But why, oh why, would wholesalers look on the NWMLS for deals? The best places to find wholesale deals will be off market properties. Sure, sure you can look for HUD homes, short sales, REOs (bank-owned), and foreclosure auction properties, but again, you will have quite a bit of competition as an investor. Go find some properties that no one else knows about! Knock on doors or network with others in your target neighborhoods, and ask for referrals. Do drive-bys to find neglected, vacant or other distressed properties. Send out direct mail letters and postcards. Put up “We buy houses” signs. Make friends with other wholesalers. Get a list of long-time residents, and make cold calls.

Of course, you can also invest where the numbers make more sense – in other markets around the country. Check out for lists of emerging markets nationally.

Oh yes, timeshares anyone? There are actually 7 NWMLS listings right now that you could buy for under $5. That is not a typo. Oh, and brokers, you will be paid $500 for every one you buy …

So you see that bargains are out there …even though you may have to stretch a bit to find them…

Happy Investing!

About the author …

Wendy Ceccherelli is a full-time real estate investor, with Home Land Investment Properties, Inc., and a managing broker at Century 21 Northwest Realty in Kirkland, WA. As the volunteer membership coordinator for the Real Estate Association of Puget Sound, Wendy writes monthly articles for new investors in the REAPS newsletter, oversees membership recruitment and retention efforts, and provides training for new investors to prepare them for their first investments. She invests in single family and multifamily properties mostly in the Seattle area. Wendy spent over twenty-five years as an executive in both the private sector and in four different municipalities, distributing almost $15 million in government and private funding. She has served on over 40 civic boards and commissions in leadership roles, and is experienced in entrepreneurship. In addition, she is a commercially-rated hot air balloon pilot, licensed yoga fitness instructor, Rotarian, and former President of the Seattle Sake dragon boat club. Contact Wendy at [email protected] or 888-621-4999

REAPS is the oldest – and largest – Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi.” We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you’ve never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at [email protected] and be our guest for free.”

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