You can make a lot of money in real estate as a flipper, real estate agent, with rental properties and even as a wholesaler. Many people may not be familiar with what a real estate wholesaler does, but it is pretty simple. A wholesaler either buys and sells houses very quickly without doing any repairs or they get a property under contract and assign the contract to another buyer. Many real estate investors start out in wholesaling because it can be an inexpensive way to make money in real estate. Most people who want to wholesale don’t make a lot of money because they give up due to the hard work and the dedication it takes to build a successful wholesaling business. However, the investors who set up a successful wholesaling business can make a lot of money very quickly.
How does wholesaling real estate work?
Wholesaling is a simple concept based on buying and selling houses quickly. A wholesaler will either buy houses or get them under contract well below market value and then sell the houses to another investor. Usually, the end buyer has the cash to buy the properties, because there is not enough time to get a loan. The key to being a successful wholesaler is finding great deals and having great buyers. The most successful wholesalers tend to use direct marketing to find sellers and have a huge list of cash buyers who are looking for great deals.
How does a wholesale deal work?
A typical wholesaler might use postcards sent to absentee owners (owners who don’t live in the home) to try to buy the home. Absentee owners are sometimes more motivated because they don’t live in the house and may have bad tenants or no tenants. The wholesaler will negotiate a price with the seller knowing what his buyers will pay. The wholesaler will use a contract that can be assigned and then collect an assignment fee at closing. Real estate agents are usually not involved, but can be. The difference between what the wholesaler agreed to pay the seller and what the investor/end buyer agrees to buy the house for is what the wholesaler makes. Wholesalers may make a couple thousand dollars per deal or much more. I know multiple wholesalers that have made more than $30,000 on one deal.
Can you wholesale houses from the MLS?
Wholesalers may also buy houses from the MLS. When buying from the MLS a wholesaler may have to use a real estate agent and they may have to use a double closing. Many MLS properties like HUD homes and REOs cannot be bought with assignable contracts. A double close is when the title company will use the end investors cash to purchase the home from the original seller. This can be tricky, but if done right the wholesaler will never use their own money. MLS deals are typically harder to wholesale, because more people know about them and many cash investors could buy those houses without a wholesaler. If the wholesaler can negotiate well below asking price or act quickly to get awesome deals it is possible to wholesale from the MLS.
How much money does the typical wholesaler make?
To be honest most wholesalers don’t ever do a deal. They don’t spend the time or money to market to sellers and they don’t take the time to find cash buyers. Many wholesalers do not do the research needed to know market prices and what cash buyers who are flippers or landlords will pay. I think many people believe wholesaling is an easy way to start making money in real estate. There really is no easy way to make money doing anything. It all takes work, knowledge and dedication.
A typical wholesaler won’t make any money because they never end up closing a deal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of money wholesaling properties.
How much money do the best real estate wholesalers make?
Just like most professions, there are those that work hard, work smart and make a lot of money. The real estate investors who do this with wholesaling and have systems in place to find deals and buyers make a lot of money. I did a podcast with Mark Skowron in Chicago a few weeks ago. He does from 5 to 15 wholesale deals a month and averages over $5,000 a wholesale deal. If you do the math that is $25,000 to $75,000 a month! He has hired staff to help him do that many deals, but wholesaling has also given him the money to buy rental properties and flip properties as well.
Mark is not the only wholesaler that I know making that kind of money. I know wholesalers in Texas, California, new Jersey and Ohio doing just as good or better. I am not seeking out wholesalers, these are people I meet through my blog or other investors. If you are willing to work hard and put a system in place you make an awesome living as a wholesaler.
How can you be a successful wholesaler?
If you want to be one of those who makes a ton of money wholesaling you can be. It will take time and money to build your business up. Here are the basic steps to building a wholesale business.
- Create a plan for how you will market to sellers and buyers.
- Start building a buyers list by attending REI meetings, auctions or searching for cash buyers.
- Start marketing for properties. Direct marketing (postcards, bandit signs, Craigslist ads) will be your best bet.
- Keep direct marketing for sellers. It takes hundreds or even thousands of marketing pieces to get motivated sellers to respond. It may take months to get your first deal and that is why most people quit.
- Keep marketing for buyers. The more buyers you have the better. Mark Skowron has over 4,000 buyers on his list and is calling new buyers every day. The more buyers you have the more you can charge on the back-end for the properties.
- Once you have deals coming in you need to develop systems. Start testing different postcards and signs to see which perform the best. Hire staff to increase productivity and build a business that you don’t have to do all the work in.
If this all seems hard, that is because it is hard. If you want to make a lot of money in real estate or anything, you are going to have to work hard. If you want some help starting a wholesaling career, Sean Terry has a great program that goes over every aspect of how it is done.
How to find Deals from a Real Estate Wholesaler
I have 16 active flips going and four of those flips I bought from real estate wholesalers. I usually buy my flips from the MLS, but I had a goal last year to find wholesalers so I could diversify my business. I also have three flips under contract to buy in the next month, and all of them are from wholesalers. It took some time to find good wholesalers in my area or let them find me. It can be frustrating because there are a lot of people who call themselves wholesalers who never wholesale a house. You have to be diligent in your search if you want to find wholesalers who actually have great deals.
What is wholesaling a house?
Wholesaling involves a real estate investor finding a great deal, getting it under contract, and finding another real estate investor to buy the property. A wholesaler could use a double close or an assignment to transfer the property to the new investor. The wholesaler usually does not do any work to the properties and they do not use their own money to buy the property.
A double close involves the house being sold to the wholesaler, and the wholesaler selling the house the same day to another investor. The wholesaler does not need any money to buy the house, because the title company uses the money from the end investor to pay the original seller. Not all title companies will do this, but there are some that cater to investors and will. I have bought most of my wholesale deals using this technique.
An assignment is when the seller signs a contract to sell their property to the wholesaler, the wholesaler then assigns that contract to another investor. The wholesaler will most likely use their own contract and not a state real estate contract with the seller. Not all contracts can be assigned. If you are dealing with REO properties or short sales, it is unlikely you can assign those contracts. Wholesalers make their money by charging more to the end investor than what they agree to pay the seller.
How does it work when you buy a house from a wholesaler?
When a real estate investor buys a house from a wholesaler it is much different from buying a house from the MLS. The investor does not have much flexibility on how long they have to close or other terms. Many times the investor has to put a non-refundable deposit down and they get no inspection. The houses are sold in as-is condition and no repairs will be made. These terms can make it tough to get a loan on a wholesale deal, especially if the lender needs an appraisal completed. It is tough to buy a wholesale deal as a new investor because of all these restrictions.
Wholesale properties are not advertised on the MLS, because most wholesalers are not real estate agents. They also do not want to pay real estate commissions. The wholesaler will find as many investors who may want to buy their properties and let them know whenever they have a deal. The wholesaler will usually send an e-mail to all their investors listing the price, repairs needed, terms, and what they think the house is worth. I never trust these numbers, and always verify everything myself. The wholesaler compiles a list of investors who want to see the property, and meet the investors at the house (usually more than one at a time).
Every wholesaler does business a little differently, so how they decide what investor gets the house can vary. In some cases the first investor who says they want the house for the asking price will get it. Some wholesalers will use online forms to submit a contract and the highest offer gets the deal. If there are not enough investors who want the deal, the wholesaler may negotiate their fee or try to get the seller to come down in price.
When I look at a property with other investors, I make sure to tell the wholesaler as soon as possible if I want the deal. You cannot be timid and wait for the wholesaler to talk to you or finish talking to other investors. If you want it, tell them right away.
Why do most wholesalers never complete a deal?
The tricky part in dealing with many wholesalers is they never do a deal. There are a lot of people who call themselves wholesalers, because it is the most common type of investing taught. There are a lot of programs that promise big money, without using any of your own when you wholesale. Wholesaling is tough and not easy to do. A wholesaler is selling houses to investors who want a great deal. They are paying cash, have no inspection and must be very flexible on many of the terms. The investors who buy from wholesalers want a huge discount from what they could buy on the MLS or it is not worth their trouble. The wholesaler has to get an awesome deal that leaves room for them to make money and room for the investor to make money. It takes a lot of time, effort, and marketing to find those deals.
I would estimate that 90 percent of wholesalers never find a deal good enough to sell. Here are some problems I see with many wholesalers:
- They may find properties they think are deals, but they do not know market values well. They overestimate market value, underestimate the repairs, and don’t really have a deal.
- They do not know how much profit an investor needs on a deal. Many flippers go by the 70 percent rule, and many wholesale prices do not have that much room for profit.
- They assume the repairs are the only cost on a deal and forget about carrying costs, selling costs, etc.
- They do not know how to market, or have the money to market like they need to.
They will not tell investors they have never done a deal, so when looking for a wholesaler you must be very careful. You can waste a lot of time with wannabee wholesalers who will never send you a deal. If you find the right wholesaler they can be an awesome source of deals.
How do you find a great wholesaler?
There are many ways to find wholesalers, but they are not all effective. Here are some of the ways I have found wholesalers and ways I have heard of others finding them:
- Real estate investor meetups: Most areas of the country have real estate investors meetups and they can be a great place to network. I have met many wholesalers at meetups and never seen a deal come from any of them. I am not saying that you cannot find a good wholesaler at a meetup, but that is where many newbies go.
- Search online: Many wholesalers have websites set up for investors looking to buy deals. You can search online for wholesalers in your area, but again it can be hit or miss if they actually have deals.
- Ask around: Some of the best ways to find wholesalers is to network with other investors, but they may not be keen to giving you their source of deals. Besides investors, ask real estate agents, title companies and other people in the business. Many wholesalers will e-mail real estate agents to find buyers.
- Look for marketing by wholesalers: If a wholesaler is marketing, you know they are at least trying to find deals. Instead of looking for wholesalers, look for their marketing. Look for bandit signs, billboards, Craigslist ads, Facebook posts, and call the number. Most wholesalers market by advertising they will buy houses fast for cash. Tell them you don’t want to sell your house, but you want to be on their buyer’s list. If you receive a letter from someone wanting to buy your house, do not throw it away. Call them back and tell them you are a buyer.
I found the wholesalers that I bought houses from by accident. One of them sent me an email because I am a real estate agent and they wanted to know if I had clients who were interested in buying their deals. Two other wholesalers found me online through my blog. I spent a lot of time actively looking for wholesalers, and the only ones that worked out, found me!
Finding a wholesaler is not easy, but it can be a great source of deals. I hear from investors who tell me there are no good wholesalers in their area. While most wholesalers may not be very good, almost every market (if it is decent sized) will have wholesalers doing deals. If you are looking to buy in the larger markets, I may even know some awesome wholesalers I can introduce you to. [email protected]
There are no statistics available on what the average salary is for a wholesaler, because so many potential wholesalers never do any deals. There is also no wholesaling organization to keep track of such things like there is with real estate agents. Most people who start wholesaling are looking for easy money without investing any of their own money. If you can create a plan, stick to it and work harder than most you can make a lot of money wholesaling real estate.