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Driving for Dollars

How to Use the DealMachine™ App to Acquire Off-Market Deals

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In This Article

  1. What is Driving For Dollars?
  2. What to Look for when Driving for Dollars
  3. The 7-Step Driving for Dollars Strategy 
  4. Driving-for-Dollars Apps/Resources
  5. Driving For Dollars FAQs
  6. The Bottom Line: Driving For Dollars

As a real estate investor, one of the more challenging tasks of the business is finding a profitable property to invest in — known as real estate lead generation — whether that’s flipping or creating a rental portfolio

What if there was a way that you could find profitable and off-market properties with little effort and little money?

You can with a strategy called driving for dollars.

What is Driving For Dollars?

Driving for dollars in real estate is a method of finding distressed or abandoned property for investment by driving around targeted neighborhoods and communities. 

FREE Online Class: Get access to one of our best-selling online classes, Driving for Dollars, for free today.

The beauty of this strategy is that it can be done with little effort on your part — and little money.

Real estate investors use driving for dollars to find vacant or distressed homes that may be available at a significant discount. 

When they purchase the property, they can make needed renovations and improvements, sell the home, and realize a nice profit. 

Advantages of Driving for Dollars

While the primary advantage of driving for dollars is finding deals before the competition, it’s not the only benefit. 

Not only can anyone get started without assistance from a licensed real estate broker, but you also have the opportunity to create a personalized list of targeted properties when driving for dollars. 

Another advantage of driving for dollars: you have options on how you find distressed properties. You can drive, walk, or bike through neighborhoods, making it entirely your own style.

Above all, driving for dollars is a cost-effective way to find properties to add to your portfolio. 

Disadvantages of Driving for Dollars

Yes, driving for dollars is an effective way to find properties, but it does have a few potential downsides. 

Searching neighborhoods for abandoned and distressed properties can be time-consuming, even if you are taking virtual tours. 

It can also be inefficient, especially if you spend hours looking for homes. 

Some individuals often find it difficult to scale down their list of available properties. Even limiting the number of neighborhoods can be challenging. 

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, or where to look, driving for dollars can be a complicated strategy. 

What to Look for when Driving for Dollars

Driving for dollars can yield profitable results — if you know what to look for when driving. 

Keep in mind that you are trying to find off-market properties that may be vacant and available at below market value. 

Here are some things to look for when you are driving for dollars:

An Overflowing Mailbox

If you see mail piling up or newspapers on the driveway or front porch, it can be a good indication that the property is vacant, and it may be worthwhile to find out if the owner is looking to sell. 

Need for Repairs

As you drive, keep an eye out for a property that has an obvious need for repairs. This can include:

  • peeling paint
  • overgrown yards 
  • broken windows 
  • and more 

No Window Coverings

There is a good chance that a house without any window coverings is vacant.

The Absence of Vehicles

If there is no car in the driveway in front of a dilapidated house time and time again, it’s likely that it’s no longer occupied.

No Trash Cans at the Curb

If you are in the neighborhood on a garbage collection day and the property does not have a trash can out, it can be an indication that the house is vacant.

Next, we’ll look at the WealthFit-approved Driving For Dollars Strategy.

Lack of Relator or Bank-Owned Property Signs

Distressed properties are often bank-owned or under management by a licensed relator, meaning you may not be able to get the best deal. 

However, a lack of relator or bank-owned property signs is a good indication the location is still privately owned, and you may be able to get the property for a bargain price.

Next, we’ll look at the WealthFit-approved Driving For Dollars Strategy.

The 7-Step Driving for Dollars Strategy 

Driving for dollars can be a highly successful real estate investment strategy if done the right way. But it’s more than just driving around and looking at properties.

It includes taking notes, finding the owners, direct mail marketing and more. 

Here is a step-by-step guide for driving for dollars and finding a profitable real estate deal. 

Driving For Dollars Step #1: Pick an Area and Focus on It 

A successful driving for dollars strategy begins with choosing the right area and focusing on it. This requires research: for example, is there a local area that is growing with jobs, creating the opportunity for more families to move in?

Keep in mind the demographics of the area, too. For example, choose a neighborhood that has low crime and low turnover. 

Once you have your area chosen, it’s time to move to the second step in our driving for dollars strategy. 

Driving For Dollars Step #2: Begin Driving to Look for Distressed Properties

Once you have your neighborhood chosen, it’s time to begin driving. 

But don’t drive for dollars randomly. For example, set your schedule to drive for dollars and go on trash collection day so you can see houses without a trash can at the curb. 

Also, go during daylight hours so you can examine the home properly.

It’s critical to do something as you drive for dollars. We’ll look at that next. 

Driving For Dollars Step #3: Take Notes and Photos 

When driving for dollars, you’re looking for quite a bit of information on a property, too much information to remember off the top of your head. 

This includes:

  • The address of the property
  • Any damage that can be seen
  • A photo of the house (Pro Tip: including the house number in your photo can help you later on). 

When you return home or back to your office, see if you can find more details about it, including its square footage and price over time.

You can use important real estate formulas to help determine the profitability of the property, such as:

It’s important to organize all this information for the next step. 

Driving For Dollars Step #4: Skip Trace, Finding the Property Owner’s Information

The next step is to find the owner of the property to determine if he or she wants to sell. 

If you have no leads on how to get in touch with the owner, you can use state or municipality records online.

What do you do if the house is bank-owned? 

Bank-owned homes are an investment option, but you don’t want to bid on these properties at auction. 

You want to look for foreclosed homes that aren’t selling at the bank-sponsored auction. 

These are the properties the bank is eager to sell, even if the financial institution is losing money on the sale.

Finding bank-owned homes is a little tricky. You aren’t going to see signs in the front yard. 

Working with a real estate agent is one option. They typically have access to information about bank-owned properties, but their assistance also comes with fees. 

You can also find HUD listings owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Driving For Dollars Step #5: Begin Sending Direct Mail, Call or Use Other Ways to Talk with the Owner about Selling

Once you know how to get in touch with the owner, the next step is to determine whether or not they want to sell — and what it will take to get them to sell. 

You can:

  • Use direct mail
  • call if you have a phone number 
  • leave a letter on the property door

If the property is vacant, keep in mind the owner may have a neighbor checking on the house or may come by in person from time to time.

Driving For Dollars Step #6: Make An Offer

Using all the information you’ve gathered, you can make an offer

Keep in mind that if the house is not the MLS, chances are the owner has not received offers on the house.

What if the owner of the home owes more than it is worth? 

Sometimes a homeowner owes more than the property is worth. With these properties, the best option is to do a short sale. To ensure you aren’t accused of short sale fraud, it’s recommended that you find the buyer without assistance. 

Also, if there is no real estate agent involved in the sale, a motivated seller may be willing to accept a below-market price. 

Another option is to list the property on MLS with a licensed real estate broker.

Also, if there is no real estate agent involved in the sale, a motivated seller may be willing to accept a below-market price. 

Driving For Dollars Step 7: #Close the Deal

After the owner signs on the bottom line, you are on your way toward fixing up the property, flipping it or renting it out.

After that, you can start back at driving for dollars step #1 and look for your next profitable deal. 

Driving-for-Dollars Apps/Resources

There are a few driving for dollars apps and resources that you can use to simplify the process. 


DealMachine is the highest rated real estate investor software for lead generation on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app makes it easy to track down contact information of property owners and send them mail.

DealMachine has three levels: 

  • Basic, $49 per month
  • Professional, $99 per month 
  • Enterprise, $2990 per year

You can learn more about it here


Considered “the most advanced and comprehensive parcel data and property line map application,” Landglide is a comprehensive data mobile app that uses GPS technology to pinpoint exact locations that can be a tremendous resource for those driving for dollars.

The app covers over 95% of the US population and affords access to 150 million parcel records in more than 3,000 countries.

As far as pricing, Landglide is:

  • free for the first seven days
  • $9.99 per month
  • $99.99 per year afterward

You can learn more about it here


The Propelio mobile app is a top-rated resource for solo entrepreneurs and teams driving for dollars. The app shows you neighborhoods previously visited, so you don’t waste time revisiting old routes. 

Built-in Skiptrace makes it easy to locate property owners’ phone numbers. 

If no one answers your calls, the app has a convenient postcard feature. You can snap a picture of the property, add your contact information, and send the photo to the homeowner. 

The details include: 

  • Free 14-day trial on all 3 plans
  • Plans starting at $29 per month
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

You can learn more here.


Homesnap is “the real estate industry's national search portal, featuring the same accurate, real-time information that agents use.” 

It provides real-time MLS data along with enhanced user experience features that can be useful for those driving for dollars. The app is designed for both real estate investors and realtors, too.

Homesnap charges real estate agents $299 for the first year and $599 upon renewal, and it is free to others. 

You can learn more about it here.  

Driving For Dollars FAQs

Next, we’ll look at the most commonly asked questions associated with driving for dollars. 

Q. Does Driving for Dollars Work for Wholesaling Real Estate? 

Driving for dollars does work for wholesaling real estate.

Just as driving for dollars works for flipping, the strategy is effective for wholesalers looking for below market property.

Q. Does Driving for Dollars work for a BRRRR Property?

The BRRRR method is a real estate strategy where you buy, rehab, rent, refinance and repeat — you can learn about it here.

Driving for Dollars does work with a BRRRR strategy. 

Q. Do You Need a Script When Driving for Dollars? 

A short, friendly script explaining why you are calling and asking if the owner is interested in selling can be helpful when driving for dollars — but it isn’t required.

Q. What is Virtual Driving for Dollars? 

As the name implies, virtual driving for dollars is performed on your computer by searching for suitable below-market properties on an app like DealMachine.

The Bottom Line: Driving For Dollars

By using the classic driving for dollars strategy you can find motivated sellers of undervalued property and make great off-market deals. 

Remember to:

  • select your target area carefully
  • keep careful records and use modern apps that can make the process automated and easy

Tracking down owners of vacant property and convincing them to sell can be time-consuming. 

But keep in mind that finding a motivated owner is a numbers game. 

Don't get discouraged if you contact 50 or 100 potential sellers and only close a single deal, because that single deal can net you a tremendous profit for your real estate business