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It can be much more challenging to close a deal if you don’t have a list of cash buyers on hand as an active wholesale real estate investor.

So, one important task is finding cash buyers by different means. And you can find them on Zillow.

But how do you do that?

Zillow can help you find cash buyers, but usually not in a direct way, by showing you the contact information. 

But you can use the Zillow search and filter out the correct type of properties. 

Then, in separate research, find the contact information of the owners or landlords so you then can approach them via direct mail, phone, or targeted online marketing campaigns.

In this article, I will discuss how you can do that.

What Are Cash Buyers and Why Are They Important to Wholesalers

Cash Buyers are essential to wholesale real estate investors. 

They are usually individuals or entities who purchased real estate with cash in the past. 

Many are typically rehabbers, renovators, or wholesalers with access to funds or private funding that enables them to buy properties without having to go the traditional route of conventional financing (e.g., bank loans, etc.).

This means they can close quickly once a good real estate deal comes along and the due diligence (e.g., title work) is done.

Why are they important to wholesale real estate investors?

Cash buyers are essential for wholesalers that are not yet able to purchase good deals with their own cash reserves or follow a creative real estate investing strategy (e.g., deal assignments).

Therefore, many wholesalers need to build a database of cash buyers.

Once they have the right deal under contract, they can partner with or assign the contract to one of the cash buyers.

In this context, the controversy of assigning contracts without a real estate license often exists, which I won’t go into in this article. 

This topic is very often not well-seen or not understood by realtors.

Different strategies and methods are available to build a list of cash buyers. 

One of them is using Zillow to find cash buyers. 

Zillow is a property listing platform that is also a bit frowned upon by many realtors.

What Is Zillow and Its Features?

Zillow doesn’t need much of an introduction. 

It’s a mainly U.S.-based real estate database company that generates revenue by selling advertising on its website to real estate professionals.

These real estate professionals include realtors, brokers, agencies, property managers, and landlords.

The property database consists of rental properties and properties to purchase. 

According to their annual report, in 2018, they had, on average, about 157 million monthly users on their website.

Realtors or brokers are charged per lead or per 1000 impressions. 

And if you are looking for tenants as a landlord or property manager, you are charged per click, per lease, or lead.

As a mortgage broker, lender, or another real estate-related business, you can additionally run display ads charged per 1000 impressions.

Another revenue source is ‘Zillow Flex,’ a referral fee network without an upfront cost. 

Zillow receives a referral fee from escrow once a real estate agency or broker closes a property transaction.

This is where it gets more interesting for wholesalers looking for cash buyers because Zillow has data on approximately 110 million homes across the United States.

In this context, there are several market analysis tools available (some more accurate than others):

  • Value changes of homes in a given time frame
  • Value estimates of homes
  • Prices of comparable homes in a given area
  • Aerial views of homes
  • Estimates of remodeled homes
  • Basic information about a particular home (e.g., square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms)

We will use these database features in the next section to find wholesalers.

How to Find Cash Buyers on Zillow

First, you won’t find Cash Buyers directly on Zillow, presented on a silver platter. 

But, at the same time, you can find hints of cash buyers with the help of Zillow.

Let’s say you want to find cash buyers in a specific area. 

You can now go to Zillow’s search bar and enter the address or location of the neighborhood you are targeting.

You should select only properties for rent and filter out all houses, townhouses, and apartments for sale.

The result left should be only houses for rent. 

The next filter you apply is the pricing filter. Select only lower-range rents.

Targeting and Contacting Landlords/Owners

Who is most likely to offer houses for rent in the lower price ranges?

There is a high chance that a certain percentage of these owners or landlords may be investors. 

And if they are, there are also chances they are looking for another investment property.

The point where Zillow fails is finding the contact information of this owner directly. 

Sometimes, once you have the address, you can find it on RedFin, but it’s not guaranteed.

A better approach with a higher success rate would be to go to the county records and get the owner’s contact information. 

You may also get lucky using the PropStream software, which I covered already in this article.

Once you have the contact information, you can call them, email them, or start a direct mailing campaign with yellow letters.

If you can collect enough phone numbers, you could even run a Facebook campaign with a custom audience by importing the phone numbers and creating lookalike audiences. 

You can read about real estate Facebook marketing in this longer article.

The copy on the yellow letter you send out as a wholesaler could read as follows (keep in mind that we want to draw attention, so it might sound a bit exaggerated): 

“I desperately need to sell my property at 123 Main Street. I had it on the market for some time, but I am at the end of my patience and can’t wait any longer. 

I need this thing sold two weeks ago. Please text me or give me a call at 123 1234 123.”

If they are cash buyers, they will know what you are doing, but they might call you nevertheless.

There are chances that they are not looking for another deal right now. Still, if you have one near the property they own, they may be interested soon. 

This is because they prefer to invest in an area they are already in over going into another neighborhood.

Targeting/Contacting Realtors

One roadblock you could run into is that you may not directly find the buyers with the above method. But you may discover realtors who know who the buyers are.

Finding the right realtors depends on the type of property.

To find the right realtors, you want to look – or filter – only houses on the lower end of prices (fixer uppers, shack-type homes).

Realtors that list these types of homes (usually newer agents) are more likely and more prepared to work with wholesale investors and may know other investors/cash buyers.

Now, you can contact these agents.

Another way to find cash buyers is to filter properties on Zillow that have been sold in the last 6 months and had a price under $100,000.

The next step would be to find the realtor representing the seller and the buyer. 

Again, this contact information is usually not available on Zillow, but you can sometimes find it on Google.

This research will get a bit easier if you have a real estate license. 

Besides the legal benefits, this is one of the reasons why it is beneficial to have a real estate license as a real estate investor.

So, provided you have a real estate license, you can now find out who the listing agent and buyer’s agent was.

Now, you can contact the buyer’s agent and mention that you saw they recently sold someone a house on 123 Main Street.

You can then say you have a similar property that their client might be interested in.

You can also ask if they would know anybody else who might be interested in it.

From my experience as a realtor, I know you need to know that your commission is secured (that’s what pays the bills in the end). 

So, therefore, it is better to approach the realtor, saying that she can represent you (in this case, the wholesaler) for both sides of the commission.

Still, you would need to include the commission in the price.

By using this approach, you can have realtors bring you cash buyers.

But also make sure you can directly contact these cash buyers after the deals they are involved in are done.

This depends on the contract you make with the realtor and if some client protection is in place.

If you are allowed to do that, you can use these cash buyers to build your list.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher

Tobias Schnellbacher

Author & Founder