An older gentleman had recently contacted me about buying six (yes, six) of his properties that had been vacant for five to twenty years. Long story short, I offered to purchase two of the properties that were right next door to each other. Upon settlement, I immediately began to empty, clean and fix the two houses. Shortly thereafter, I began sending in various handyman companies to give me estimates to finish the basement of the left house. One such handyman came through a referral from a relative of a customer of a friend. I had mentioned the two properties to my friend, who put me in touch with the handyman.
Oddly enough, when the handyman went to the houses to give me an estimate, he ended up making an offer on the two houses. His offer matched my anticipated sales price AFTER fixing them up. Fortunately, the handyman and his brother had been seeking to find two fixer-uppers next door to each other for years. I had them hook, line and sinker. After all carry costs, settlement fees and fix up costs, I ended up with roughly $120,000 profit.
Moral of the story: network, network, network. Everybody you know should know that you are in the business of real estate investing. People should know that you accept referrals (buyers, agents, carpenters, etc), and that you are always looking to potentially buy or sell a house.
Jon St. Onge