A complete breakdown including: what to prep, what to look for, and how to follow-up when Driving for Dollars:

What to do Before:

Do some digging to find out where other investors are flipping and what areas are trending. Decide what neighborhood you want to focus on, and map out where you want to drive.

When to go Driving for Dollars – Best Opportunities:

You can go driving for dollars whenever you have the opportunity, but here are a few instances that make spotting vacant and distressed properties easier:

  • Vacant houses are easiest to spot in the Spring due to lack of lawn care
  • Trash pickup day – houses that fail to put out their trash cans
  • Weekdays allow for less traffic, letting you drive slower and take your time observing
  • Phonebook delivery day
  • Holidays – houses with no decorations

Packing List:

  • Camera
  • Paper and pen to collect property address and observations
  • A friend or family member to drive
  • Print out of the area you plan to drive through

What to look for:

Now the fun part! Time to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes when observing the property in question.

  • No decorations
  • Neglected yard
  • Boarded up/broken windows
  • Mail pile up in mailbox or porch
  • Piled up newspapers
  • Doorhangers left on porch
  • Leaves and trash on property
  • Condemned sticker or county notification
  • No cars in driveway
  • People walking by – find out what’s going on with the property, they might know the owners


What to do After You See a Vacant/Neglected Property:

  • Write down the address and any details (ex: poor roof)
  • Take a picture
  • Leave a door hanger or flyer expressing your interest in buying the house

You Finished Driving, Now What?

  • Go home and research the properties you wrote down, on your local MRIS
  • Remove any properties that do not fit your criteria
  • Find the owner via tax records and prepare your postcards and letters.
  • You can put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see evictions for a whole year – owners of these properties may be more willing to sell their property after a bad experience.