How And Where To Locate Profitable Apartment Buildings For Sale

Finding apartment buildings for sale is easy. Finding the ones that are good deals (ie. will be profitable) is somewhat more difficult. Why? Because you not only need to know where to look to find the deals for sale, you need to know the different "signs" that indicate whether it is a good deal.

I have personally found great deals from numerous sources; newspaper classified ads by owners (one ad I responded to lead to a profit of over $2 million on one deal), and commercial realtors (most of my apartment building purchases came through realtors) are just two of many great sources you will utilize. But before you learn the details of locating deals, you need to know the three things you need in order to find the apartment buildings that will truly make you wealthy.

So, what three things do you need to find profitable apartment buildings for sale?


You need the "three P's"...

  • Preparation - You need to educate yourself before you purchase your first apt. building. That education should ideally include as much about the entire process of how to buy and sell apartment buildings (including everything in between the buying and selling) as possible. I believe there is an old saying that goes something like this... "When a man with money meets a man with knowledge, before long the man with the knowledge has the money and the man that had the money has the knowledge." The key to success is to have both the knowledge and the money. The more you learn now, the less "expensive real estate investment lessons" you will learn along the way.

    Here are three things you can do to "get prepared".

    1. Read lots of books on investing in multi-family real estate. Spend a few weekends at your local library. It won't cost you a dime.

    2. Get your hands on a good apartment building investing course. You don't have to spend thousands on a good course. In fact, here is one under $100 that I recommend. It's written by a colleague of mine and focuses on helping you purchase your first apartment property.

    3. Read this website, and keep coming back. (OK, I know, a shameless plug.) But I can guarantee you that many of the things that you read here you will not find anywhere else. I share the good, the bad and the ugly of my experiences in real estate investment, but I do it when I have the time. So, the best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to my multi-unit real estate investor newsletter (opens a new window). When new info goes up on my site you will here about there first. Now, on to the next "P"

  • Patience - It takes time to find profitable apartment buildings for sale. Regardless of the amount of knowledge or capital that you have at your disposal, the best real estate deals that you make may be the ones that you don't make. Anyway, I am not going to go on and on about patience, but remember this... When you are getting anxious to do that first deal after months and months of searching, don't give in to the urge to "just do a deal".

    I've been there.

    You start working the numbers to make the deal look better so that you can justify your decision, etc. Don't fall prey to this, especially on your first deal. That first deal could literally make or break you as an apartment property investor. Many apartment buildings for sale are wolves in sheep's clothing. (Or at least the people trying to sell them to you are. And they will eat you alive!)

    A few quotes on patience to keep tucked away in your mind while looking for apartment buildings for sale:

    One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life. ~Chinese Proverb

    How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?~William Shakespeare, Othello, 1604

    and finally,

    Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. ~John Quincy Adams

    Which segways nicely into the third "P"...

  • Persistence - Nothing worth having in life comes quickly or easily. If it does, we as humans don't appreciate it and sooner or later we lose it. This is very true when it comes to real estate investing. You may have to look at hundreds of apartment buildings for sale before the "right" deal comes along. (This doesn't mean you have to look at every building in person however). Once you know what you are looking for (Preparation), and you wade through and reject the "not-right-for-you" deals (Patience), you need to press on (Persistence) to find the right apartment building that will allow you to achieve your goals. You only fail when you quit. To quote Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth President of The United States:

    persistence when finding apartment buildings for sale

    Of the three "P's", it is usually persistence that separates the successful people in life from the "wannabees". And not just in real estate investment.

    Remember, many times all it takes is one profitable apartment building investment to set you on the path to real wealth. ( My first commercial real estate deal made me a profit of over $2 million). You may have to trudge through hundreds of apartment buildings for sale before you find the diamond in the rough you are looking for, but in the end it will be worth it.

    So, don't give up!

    At the risk of "over-quoting" on this page, here are two more great ones...

    How to succeed? Try hard enough. ~Henry Ford


    There are no traffic jams on the extra mile. ~Roger Staubach

    A final thought on persistence.

    We all need a little push (or pull) now and then to keep committed to things. When I first started out in commercial real estate I joined a local REI club. We met once a month to network and listen to different speakers, (lawyers, accountants, property managers, commercial realtors, mortgage brokers etc.) Overall the experience was beneficial. And at the very least it kept me on track, moving forward and motivated. I was motivated by what I saw other folks in the club doing and accomplishing.

    Most major cities have at least one real estate investment club. Do a little research and see if there is one near you.

    Another option, (and one that I wish was available to me when I started) is to join an online real estate investor group. A colleague of mine has started such a group that is specifically oriented towards commercial real estate investment. See what Darin has to offer here.

Ideas For Finding Profitable Apartment Buildings For Sale

Apartment Buildings For Sale By Owner : Buying real estate directly from the owner (as opposed to properties that are listed by realtors) can be a great way to find good deals. Here is a story of one such good "fsbo" deal that I purchased where I ended up with $350,000 in free equity the day I closed.

Buying Income Properties From Long Term Owners : Although it is certainly not always the case, many times long term investment property owners do not make the effort to maximize the values of their real estate holdings. This may present some opportunities to someone like yourself who is eager to exploit those "hidden" values. I have been able to accomplish this on more than one occasion, many times increasing the value of the building by several hundreds of thousands of dollars within 8 to 12 months.

How To Find Free Commercial Property Listings : Unlike residential real estate, (that can typically be found listed on your local MLS) apartment buildings for sale are not listed on any type of real estate board run service. Therefore, in order to find commercial real estate for sale you must either have connections with local commercial real estate agents, locate commercial real estate newspapers, or search some of the free online listing services such as or

A Way Of Predicting Real Estate Market Growth : Wouldn't it be great if you knew which markets were going to explode and then searched for apartment buildings for sale in that market before your competitors had a clue what was happening? Here is an easy way to predict market growth that you can use over and over.

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