How To Find Direct To Vendor Property Deals 📩 10+ Methods

Ok so Rightmove is good and all, but direct to vendor deals are even better. 

It might not be the best for absolute beginners that have never bought a property, but it can pay off in terms of returns. 

Direct to vendor property deals are also sometimes called D2V deals or off market deals and in this post we’ll cover 10+ ways to find them.

We’re pretty damn confident you’re not aware of some of these.

Why Direct to Vendor Deals?

On Rightmove, Zoopla or any other property portal, you’re competing on the open market. 

But when you do an off market deal and go directly to the vendor it’s just a 1 on 1 negotiation with no competition.

This makes direct to vendor deals a good way of getting below market value properties

It also lets you have a conversation with the seller to explore their situation and find a solution that helps both parties. 

You could even explore creative options like purchase lease options or guaranteed rent instead of doing a standard purchase. 

Direct to vendor deals also work well for pretty much any type of property strategy as long as you find the right property for the strategy.

Why Would a Seller Choose an Off Market Deal?

You might think why would someone sell off the open market if they could potentially get a better deal on the open market?

Well, there are a few reasons and it really depends on the person’s situation. 

  • Some people just want a low-key sale without for-sale boards and family or neighbours knowing everything that’s happening.
  • Some people just don’t like estate agents and the fees that can be involved. 
  • Some people don’t like viewings and the hassle of it all as well as how it can be a more lengthy process using an estate agent in the middle.
  • Some people might just need a fast, smooth sale and if you can provide that at a reasonable price then both parties can be happy. 

The main thing is that money isn’t always the number one priority.

What Kind Of People Might Be Looking To Sell?

So you know that direct to vendor property deals can be better for ROI and there are a a few reasons why people would be fine with selling off-market.

Now let’s look at the types of people that might be willing and motivated to sell:

Recent divorcees

Landlords that are making a loss

Portfolio landlords looking to sell and move on

People in other debts unrelated to their property

Someone handling the estate of a deceased family member

People in arrears on mortgage payments or about to be repossessed

People that are failing to get planning permission on their property for a project they really want to go ahead with

These are just some examples of why some people might be motivated to sell their property.

Ways To Get Direct To Vendor Deals

So how do you reach these motivated sellers?

Well, there are quite a few potential methods of doing this.

Here’s a list of the ones we’ll go through in this post.

  • Targeted Letter Campaigns
  • Untargeted Leaflets
  • Networking With Property Professionals
  • Social Media
  • Private Sellers e.g. Gumtree
  • Planning Portals
  • EPC Rating
  • Companies House Data
  • Newspaper Adverts
  • Facebook Ads
  • Radio
  • Probate Properties

Targeted Letters Direct To Picked Out Properties

Sending targeted letters at specific properties is one way of finding direct to vendor deals. 

First you need to pick an area you want to invest in based on your criteria.

Then you drive around the area looking for specific houses. 

You probably want to look at houses that are a little bit run down as it shows signs that the landlord or owner doesn’t really have the energy or the money to keep it in good shape.

A sale could be perfect for them. One of the main things to look for is a boarded-up house. 

If a house is boarded up it’s likely to either be a repossession property or a vacant property. 

Either way whoever owns it is a motivated seller who probably just wants it gone. 

You can also look for other signs of a tired landlord like an overgrown front garden, roof or windows in bad shape.

You can then send letters to these houses addressed to the owner of the property.

The letter should make it clear what you are offering.

This approach is likely to have a higher response rate than carpet bombing leaflets to thousands of houses because you’ve already qualified the house a bit by looking at its condition. 

If you want to specifically look at HMOs you can use the HMO register.

This shows every property in the UK that has a licence to be a HMO.

Check the local council’s website to find the HMO register for the area you are looking at investing in.

Improving open rates for letters:

A lot of letters might not get opened but there are some things you can try to see if it makes a difference to your open rate.

  • Bright colours for envelopes instead of your standard white envelope so it stands out more.
  • Have the envelope handwritten, or the letter handwritten.
  • Put a proper stamp on it because it looks like more personal letter

Test these different things to see if the number of responses you get changes.

Untargeted Leaflets

This is a less targeted approach but it’s just a numbers game. 

You pick the area that you want to invest in. 

And you send out thousands of leaflets to houses in the area saying you are interested in buying their houses.

You might need to send over 10,000 leaflets before you even get a deal. You could either do this yourself (waste of time if you ask me) or pay someone to do the distributing for you.

Just to distribute leaflets you could be looking at around £40-£90 to distribute 1000 leaflets.

You’d also have to design and print the leaflets too.

So you’re going to have to weigh up the costs if you’re not getting any luck in your area. 

Networking With Other Professionals

If you’ve been connecting with people online or at local meetups, then you’re doing the right thing. 

Building these connections and relationships will help you a lot in your property investment journey, and particularly for direct to vendor deals. 

If people are aware of what you are looking for they can refer deals to you if they come across them.

You can even arrange an introducer’s fee as an incentive.

The professionals could include:

  • Mortgage brokers – if people are struggling with finance and you’re a cash buyer
  • Letting agents – they’ll know when the landlord is looking to sell up.
  • Architects – When a long and arduous planning process fails, the landlord might be looking for an exit instead of continuing with the project. 
  • Conveyancing solicitors – When chains break they’ll know who to call.
  • Builders and tradespeople – They’re the people that get their hands dirty with renovation projects.

    And when a renovation project is bigger than expected the landlord might just get fed up and want out. 
  • Professionals that deal specifically with probate sellers like will writers, estate planners, funeral directors. (be sensitive with this)

Awareness – Tell Everyone What You Do

It’s not just enough for these people to know you, but they need to know what you offer and what you do too.

For example, maybe you specifically focus on 3 bedroom run-down properties and you always offer a quick turnaround.

Let people know this.

Social Media

By documenting your property journey on social media people build trust. 

When people build trust they’re willing to help you out or do deals with you. 

So if someone knows of a potential deal they may throw it your way.

If you’re lucky someone might come to you directly to sell their property to you because they’ve seen what you do and it matches their situation. 

The most obvious places to document your property journey are 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Tiktok
  • Linkedin

You don’t have to do them all, just focus on one or two. 

You can also join Facebook groups where people buy and sell property as people will list any properties they are looking to sell.

Private Sellers E.g. Gumtree

So this one is technically not off market but it is direct to vendor in the sense that the seller is not using a typical estate agent.

Instead the seller is marketing the property themselves on sites like Gumtree.

Since it’s the seller themselves it means you can get in front of the seller and ask the right questions.

You’ll also have more opportunity to explore creative terms that can work well for both parties.

If it was the estate agent, sometimes the agents don;t know the full picture and any probing questions can be met with an “I don’t know, I just do the viewings”.

Using Gumtree as an example:

Pick your area.

Look for property for sale on Gumtree, but also filter by private and not agency as agencies will also advertise on Gumtree.

Also, do make sure you check the descriptions before you start bulldozing in with creative strategies as some descriptions do specifically say things like “NO RENT TO RENT” OR “NO PLO”.

Depending on where you are in the country there might not be many properties up for grabs on sites like Gumtree but it’s worth having a look every so often.

Planning Portals 

Planning portals show publicly available information on planning decisions made by the council. 

You can use this to see where certain properties have been denied planning for a project.

This can mean that the person that owns the property can’t do what they want with it and so might be inclined to sell it. 

You can get in touch with them since you can see the address of the property on the planning portals.

EPC Rating

The EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating is a measure of the property’s energy efficiency and there are some regulations that landlords need to be aware of. 

As of now in 2023, to let a property out the EPC rating has to be E or higher.

From 2025 this is being changed so that all newly rented out properties will need to be an EPC rating of C.

If the property has an existing tenancy when the regulation goes into play then the landlord will have until 2028 to upgrade the EPC to a C. 

Of course, upgrading the EPC rating will take work, and landlords will have to do it eventually. (unless the regulation changes) 

You can use this as an opportunity to find landlords that may not have the energy or money to deal with doing upgrades and would prefer to just sell the property. 

But you do need to find these landlords. 

One way to check this is to look at letting agents and looking at properties to rent. If there are any that you would be interested in, try to find the EPC rating of that property. 

To find the EPC Rating you’ll need the certificate number or the address of the property. Then you can put in the details on the government website.

Luckily, sometimes the EPC rating can be found from the listing itself or just by asking the letting agent.

You can use some tricks to find the full address of a property listed on Rightmove

Then you can send letters to these properties explaining the situation. Some landlords won’t even be aware of the changes. 

You can also look at HMO registers for local councils to find all the HMOs in the area.

You could then search the EPC ratings for each of these addresses to see if there are any that are below a C rating and approach the landlord.

Companies House Data 

Here’s how you can find companies involved in property in a particular area, and in particular you can find companies that are struggling.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to companies house website
  2. Find company information
  3. On the page that says ‘Get information about a company’, click ‘Start now’
  4. Click the advanced search button under the search bar.
  5. Click on ‘Nature of business’
  6. Now enter the SIC code 68100 which is for ‘buying and selling of real estate’. These companies will likely have portfolios of properties that they may be looking to sell.
  7. Now click on company status and make sure you tick active because you don’t want to look at dissolved companies. Also, tick the following as they can suggest the company is struggling meaning they are more likely to need to sell off properties to pay debts off.
    • Liquidation
    • Administration
    • Insolvency Proceedings
    • Voluntary Arrangement
  8. Finally, click on ‘Registered office address’ and enter a city you are willing to invest in.

    This isn’t foolproof because companies might be registered in one place,but operating in a different area. 
  9. Now search.

You should have a list of companies that buy and sell properties that have their registered address in an area you are looking to invest in.

Here are some other SIC codes to try too:

  • 41100 – Development of building projects
  • 68209 – Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate

You can look through the filing history of all of these companies and if you feel like there’s an opportunity you can approach them about buying properties from them.

Newspaper Adverts

Some people still use newspapers. 

And in general, it’s older people. 

Lucky for you, older people are more likely to own property.

You can pay to put an ad in your local newspapers saying that you buy properties in the area and give a brief overview of your terms. 

E.g. Maybe you complete in 28 days, maybe you buy in cash, or maybe you give them an offer within 24 hours of viewing.

This is definitely one method that isn’t super targeted but you might get lucky depending on the area. 

Facebook Ads

You can run Facebook ads targeting specific demographics of people based on their likes and interests. 

You would run an ad saying you can buy properties and people would click through to a landing page where they can give you their details to get back in contact with them. 

For example, ‘We will buy your house for cash.’ 

Facebook ads can be good because you don’t have to physically go out and mail leaflets or letters and you can really monitor your results well with analytics.

Radio Ads

Look I don’t listen to the radio, but you might. So do a lot of people.

And it’s a way of getting a large amount of reach fairly easily. 

And it might not be as expensive as you think. 

According to the average cost per thousand listeners is around £2.

So for 10,000 listeners, it would be £20 and for 100,000 listeners it would be £200.

But this would vary wildly depending on the area, the demographic targeted, the station and timing.

Of course, you will need to pay someone to create the radio ad too.

Probate Properties

Be sensitive about this one if you ever make an approach.

A probate property is one where someone has passed away and the executor of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for selling the property.

Often times when a family member is selling a probate property they don’t want it to drag on for a long time.

Because of this probate properties are often negotiated to a below market value price.

You can find notices of probate properties in The Gazette.

Here you can find will and probate notices and you can filter by different areas and time periods.

Under the notices, you will find details of the last known addresses as well as the address/contact details of the executor.

Further Reading

Now you know how to find direct to vendor property deals but remember this is only one way of sourcing potential property deals.

To speed up your deal sourcing efforts further you should use these deal sourcing tools.

If you want to get into direct to vendor deals but you’re not sure what areas or properties to target then you should read these posts below: