A Property Scout’s Guide To Finding Real Estate Deals in Birmingham

birddog property finder property locator birmingham alabama AL find houses
This home in Irondale has been a source of complaints about overgrown grass.

So You’re Thinking About Being a Property Scout?

There are a lot of names for this job…deal finder, bird dog, deal locator, property scout… but in the end all it is, is someone who wants to make extra money locating distressed properties for investors, like us.

We’ve worked with many locals who bring home an extra $2,000-$3,000 a month driving around in their spare time. Some of you may already drive around town for your current job and this would make a great side hustle for you. We’ve put together this handy guide to help answer any questions you may have.

To be a Successful Property Scout, Here Are a Few Quick Tips to Start:

You need to find actual deals!

Seems obvious, right? What we are not looking for are:

  • Properties listed with a Real Estate Agent on the MLS
  • For Sale by Owner
  • Obviously inhabited and kept up with
  • Completely fallen down  (ie. we’d have to demolish and build new)

Anyone can log onto Zillow or Trulia and find these properties so you need to bring value by finding diamonds in the rough aka fix and flips aka off market properties.  We’ve all seen them riding around the neighborhood. That eye sore of a house that just isn’t like the others. Some examples of what we are looking for would be:

  • The grass is over grown
  • Windows are boarded up or broken
  • Code violations taped to the front door
  • Newspaper piled up in the drive way
  • Blue tarps on the roof
  • No curtains and you can see straight through
  • Missing gas or electric meters
  • Very obviously physically distressed property with deferred maintenance

bird dog, deal finder, distressed property examples, property scout

You get paid for each home we buy!

Again, this is pretty straightforward, but we like to be 100% upfront with everyone we work with. Sometimes you can drive around and find 2 deals on one block. Other times, it will take more effort to find good properties. In order for you to feel safe that you’ll be compensated for the deals you brings us, we’ve put together a Property Scout agreement that protects you and us (not all investors will put their deal terms in writing). You want to make sure you get paid for your hard work and we want you to keep bringing us good deals! It’s a win-win for everyone!

What’s the catch?

Let’s be clear: this is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. Anyone who tells you differently is probably overselling and will likely under-deliver. This is a great gig that you can do in your free time for extra income.

Will you make $1000 your first day searching? It’s possible, but probably not.

Can you find one good deal every two weeks? Every week? Absolutely. As long as you stay committed and keep an eye out for distressed properties, you’ll find deals!

Being a Property Locator is a great first step to becoming a real estate investor yourself. Now let’s get started!

Here’s What We Want…

We want Property Scouts to find properties or owners that are DISTRESSED. Distressed means that there is a problem or situation that might allow us to buy a property for less than market value.

We need Property Scouts to keep their eyes and ears open for potential opportunities. Property Scouts let us know when they see a distressed property or hear about a distressed owner. And we pay them up to $1,000 if the information leads to us purchasing the property.

We buy houses in any conditions and in all areas. We are mainly looking for properties that would be hard to sell to a retail buyer who is looking for a home for their family.  We want to purchase properties that are in need of minor TLC and updating to major renovation and repair. In addition we are looking to purchase properties where the owners owe more than what the house is currently worth.

Where To Look…

Anywhere in the Birmingham Metro (not including Tarrant b/c they are a nightmare to deal with) Below, we’ll tell you about our favorite areas.

How To Do It…

Any time you are out and see or hear of something that might interest us, let us know. That minute it takes to jot an address down could be worth $1,000.

Make a game of it. Try to do as many as you can a day. The more leads you send us, the greater chance one will earn you $1,000. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunity!!

OK, so where should a newbie Property Locator begin?

The Best Beginner Strategy is Driving For Dollars

One of the best ways for a Property Locator to get their start finding distressed properties is driving for dollars.

Driving for dollars is a real estate investing strategy that means driving through neighborhoods to look for properties that may turn into your next deal. Normally, you drive and search for houses in need of significant repair. Some of the best deals out there can be found before they are even listed on a website!

Do this, get your boots on the ground, and learn about the neighborhoods in your market area. When it comes to driving for dollars, the key to your success is knowing what to look for and paying attention to the details.

Note: There are a ton of ways to find off-market properties. Driving for dollars is just one of the tools in the toolbelt, but is often the easiest and best way for people new to real estate investing to get started.

What Do You Have To Do

You will work on your schedule when you can and want to. The beauty of this opportunity is that it’s extremely simple and you can make money quick! We don’t require you to do any paperwork or contracts (other than the agreement you sign with us), all you have to do is locate properties that fit our buying criteria, deliver us the lead, and we will do all the rest of the work!

Before stepping foot in your car, it’s a good idea to establish an area to drive. Plan your route and ALWAYS drive safe and slooooow. Pick one area and stick to it for the day.

When you spot a potential property… Pull over, if it’s safe.

Park. Then investigate. Nothing is more important that this!

Areas We Buy Houses In

Each area will have varying exit strategies: from wholesaling to wholetailing, from fix-and-rent to fix-and-flip, from subject-to deals to lease option deals. Ultimately everything starts with finding good deals! We adapt the exit strategy depending on the details.

The top areas we like targeting in Birmingham are:

Ultimately, we’ll take a look at any property you find. It’s just that these areas are “hotter” markets for us.


  • Your own legal transportation (valid DL, insurance, registration etc.)
  • A smart phone
  • The Deal Machine app (free for you to download on iTunes)
  • Address & 1 photo of the front of the house (see below)
  • The desire to make money in Real Estate!

Pic Tips

The picture you take will be used in marketing to the property owners so please keep that in mind when taking the picture.  It is IMPERATIVE that a good clear image of the entire front, side to side, is taken.  I can not stress this enough.  We want to make money just like you and it all starts with a good clean picture of the front of the house. Take a look at the differences between the four photos below. Properly framed photographs make all the difference and it takes an extra half a second to do!



Get Started Now

Simply fill out your information below and hit submit! Or feel free to call or reach out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with any questions you may have. We’ll get in contact with you shortly, and email you a link to sign up and download the Deal Machine app as well as the independent contractor contract. Again there is no obligation and we look forward to building a profitable relationship with you! Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your interest in working with Home Buyers of Alabama.


Contact Us - Property Scout

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.