What Is Bird Dog in Real Estate Investments

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Written By Justin McGill

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

If you’re new to the real estate game, you might be wondering what is bird dog in real estate. A bird dog is someone who helps investors find properties that fit their criteria. They’re typically paid a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the complexity of the search and the investment goals.

I remember when I was first starting in real estate investing, I had no idea how to find deals on my own. It felt like everyone else knew something that I didn’t. Thankfully, a friend introduced me to the concept of bird-dogging and it completely changed my business.

What is bird dog in real estate and why should you add it to your deal-finding strategy?

What Is Bird Dog in Real Estate?

If you’ve ever been to a big city, you’ve likely been exposed to some “bird-dogging” without even knowing it.

The signs that say “We Buy Houses” with a phone number are targeted at homeowners who want to sell their property quickly but don’t know how.

Some real estate agents will use automated dialing systems or direct mailing campaigns that suggest that they can pay cash for your house immediately.

A bird dog’s job is to generate leads by tapping into public databases like the MLS. They may also cross-reference this information with other data, like recent layoffs at a nearby company (which could indicate motivated sellers) or dropping home values in recent tax assessments (which could be indicative of underwater mortgages).

By casting the widest net possible, bird dogs can increase their chances of finding sellable leads.

What is a Bird Dog?

A bird dog is a real estate agent who specializes in finding properties with investment potential and then passes them on to an investor for a fee.

A bird dog is a term used in reference to hunting dogs that help hunters locate birds and retrieve any birds that are successfully shot.

What is Bird-Dogging in Real Estate?

Bird-dogging is an investor term for an individual whose job is to find and purchase property that has a high potential for return on investment.

A bird dog looks for distressed properties that are being sold at a discount because they need a lot of repair or remodeling.

These homes can be renovated and flipped for profit after the repairs have been made.

Bird-dogging is basically lead sourcing for rehabs, rent-to-owns, and other properties with profit potential.

After discovering these lucrative properties, bird doggers find investors to buy them and earn a finder’s fee for their services.

Benefits of Bird-Dogging

The rewards that a bird dogger may reap include:

  • Earning a side income while gaining real estate experience
  • Expanding your network of property investment buyers
  • Learning how to flip houses with little to no risk

A real estate bird dog is a middleman who helps connect investors with properties. In doing this, the bird dogs become very familiar with the different types of properties and neighborhoods.

By knowing which properties are being sought after, bird dogs can close deals over and over, and continuously earn their commission.

Bird-Dogging vs. Wholesaling

Bird dogs are investors who find properties for wholesalers, while wholesalers buy houses directly from homeowners.

As an investor, it can be difficult to differentiate the two, especially since some veterans don’t know the difference and roles of both.

The difference is that one is about finding new potential investments while the other is about crafting investment deals.

How a Real Estate Bird Dog Works

A bird dog is a person who scouts out deals for real estate investors. They find properties that have the potential to generate good profit.

Anyone can access online listings from sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, or your local MLS. A bird dog, however, goes to see the home for themselves, rather than just relying on pictures and video. This takes a lot of time and dedication to the process.

A bird dog investigates investment opportunities for real estate investors. Once the investor has thoroughly researched the deal, they will refer it to another professional for an in-depth analysis.

Some real estate bird dogs research properties and then refer them to the investor that offers them the highest bid, while others prefer to work with only one or two clients.

Regardless of who they work for, bird dogs spend most of their days looking for deals and using techniques so that their investor clients can spend their time more efficiently.

Drive Around

While driving around neighborhoods and knocking on doors may seem like an antiquated method of doing business, it can still be an effective way for a bird dog to find deals.

A good bird dog will have a set schedule for driving through target neighborhoods regularly. This way, they can be the first to find a distressed FSBO as soon as the sale sign goes up.

Bandit Signs

If you’re driving around and see a sign that says “We Buy Houses for Cash,” this is an example of how a real estate bird dog might find leads. These small signs are often placed at freeway off-ramps and major intersections.

When homeowners need to sell their homes fast, they’re often more receptive to making deals with real estate investors.

Direct Marketing

Some bird dogs use direct mail campaigns to find properties owned by out-of-state owners.

A bird dog will contact homeowners to let them know that investors are willing to pay cash for their homes.

Public Database

Most counties have online databases that allow you to look up information about properties.

If you’re on the lookout for a bargain property, there are a few key signs to look for that may indicate the owner is willing to sell below market value. These include bankruptcy notices, tax liens and judgments, long-term ownership, or recent inheritance.

Economic Downturn and Life Events

If you’re looking for a great real estate deal, keep an eye on economic and life events. While it’s never fun to see people going through tough times, these situations can sometimes create opportunities for savvy investors.

If a major company relocates or goes bankrupt, it could cause some workers to lose their jobs. This could result in more homes on the market, which could put downward price pressure on the housing market.

Bird dogs are also on the lookout for the two Ds — death and divorce — which are indicators of potentially good deals.

At the end of the day, effective bird dogs are those who utilize a variety of different methods to increase the likelihood of finding the right deal.

A good bird dog can be worth its weight in gold for real estate investors.

Bird Dog Networks

Bird dogs are an excellent way for real estate investors to increase the scope of their search for investment properties. By working with a network of bird dogs, investors can cast a wider net and identify more potential deals.

In addition, bird dogs can also help connect investors with a network of other professionals in the industry, which can lead to even more opportunities.

A bird dog’s network of real estate investors is key to their success in converting leads into deals. By developing a strong network, bird dogs increase their chances of success in the real estate industry.

Bird dogs are more associated with finding investment properties for sale, but they can also be used to find rental properties.

While many people claim to be “bird dogs”, not all of them are successful at locating investments that meet their client’s requirements.

If you have no money to invest in real estate, you can learn the trade by seeking out great deals for well-capitalized investors and building up your stake through bird dog fees to finance your first deal.

The theory behind being a bird dog is that you’ll be able to find undervalued or poorly maintained homes that you can buy, fix up, and resell for a profit. Unfortunately, there may not be that many well-financed investors just waiting to train bird dogs.

Bird dogs aren’t born, they’re made. They require years of experience and a history of successfully closing deals. If you don’t have that, it will be very difficult to become a profitable and successful one.

If you want to become a real estate bird dog, it’s a good idea to find a more experienced investor to shadow and learn from. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to build an empire by piggybacking on theirs though.

A motivated seller is often the key to a successful real estate investment. By finding a property that is underpriced and then working with a motivated seller, an investor can often find a great deal on a property.

A real estate bird dog might find it difficult to locate real estate deals on the more popular real estate websites. These sites are often overloaded with investors, agents, and home buyers. The best way for a bird dog to find a deal is to become a good old-fashioned property scout.

Experienced investors know better than to underestimate the power of a bird dog. A seasoned investor knows when to call in the help of an experienced real estate professional. And the best way to find these hidden gems is to look for “For Sale by Owners” signs in neighborhoods of under-valued homes.

Approaching these motivated sellers directly can be very beneficial, as you won’t need to worry about negotiating with them. Once you pass the opportunity on to a cash buyer or investor, your work is done.

Instead of making a cold call to a stranger, you can introduce yourself as a representative of a real estate company. This will make you sound more professional and legitimate.

The registration of your consultancy can be listed as simply a “consulting” company, which is effectively what you’ll do.

In many cases, it can be beneficial to speak with the homeowner to get an idea of how much they are looking to sell their home for. This will give you a better understanding of what numbers need to be presented to your network. By doing this, you will have a more accurate idea of what the property is worth and whether or not it is a good deal.

As you become more experienced in assessing real estate and evaluating comparable properties in the area, you may be able to offer suggestions to the homeowner about price adjustments.

The hidden benefit of using bird dogs is the opportunity to connect with the owner of a property management business. Property management business owners often don’t have the flexibility to tell you about upcoming opportunities.

But the owner of a business that maintains and repairs foreclosures and abandoned homes can acquire these houses at rock-bottom prices and before they’re even put up for an auction.


If you’re looking for help finding your next great investment property, then consider working with a bird dog! What is bird dog in real estate? Bird dogs are an invaluable resource in the real estate industry and can help you find deals that you might not be able to find on your own. So if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, start working with a bird dog today!

Justin McGill