How to Wholesale Real Estate Step by Step

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Discover How to Wholesale Real Estate: A Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Wholesaler

Wholesale real estate: Many people are ready to dump the 9 to 5 grind and join the world of real estate investing.

If you've just discovered this magic, you may be wondering to yourself "what is wholesaling real estate"? This isn't a common phrase that you hear in the news or in general conversations. This article will explain what wholesaling houses means, and give you some basic information about how to wholesale houses. 

What is Real Estate Wholesaling? 

Real Estate wholesaling is a specialized method for buying in every real estate market. Some might refer to this as flipping houses. The process involves negotiating a discounted purchase price on a property, and signing a contract with the seller. Once the wholesaler and the seller agree and after all the contract has been signed, the wholesaler can assign his interest in the property to a new buyer for a fee.

Buyer of a real estate wholesale deal are typically a landlords or rehabbers. Rehabbers rely on wholesalers to located distressed properties for them at discounted prices so they can focus more on their business model. 

Is Wholesaling Real Estate Illegal? 

Real estate wholesaling is not illegal as long as it's done correctly.  You must have a signed real estate purchase agreement with the current owner of the property. Then can sell your interest to another person for a fee. The fee can be any amount that you and the new buyer agree to.  

How to Wholesale Real Estate

Learning how to become a real estate wholesaler can be a daunting task.  There are many different coaches and real estate mentors out there who teach different methods of structuring creative real estate transactions.  Moreover, the basic process of wholesaling houses can be summarized in 5 simple steps: 

real estate wholesaling

Here is the breakdown of the  5 simple steps to follow when wholesaling real estate

Generate Motivated Seller Leads

The ability to generate quality seller leads is where the real estate wholesale deal begins. Execute a marketing campaign that targets property owners that may be distressed (i.e. foreclosure. Probate, and absentee owners). 

Motivation is what will drive the seller to sell the property at a discount price. Moreover, without motivation from a seller, you'll find yourself beating a dead horse. This will cause frustration to a newbie wholesaler, and may even drive you to give up.  

Pre-Screen Sellers

Pre-Screen Sellers thoroughly to determine their motivation. Have a series of questions ready to ask your potential sellers. Listen for motivated seller trigger keywords.

More often than not, the person responding to your marketing will not be the right person for your real estate wholesaling program. Not every seller is a qualified lead.

Without an underlying REASON to sell the house, and a need to get rid of the house, you’re not going to be able to get a deal. If you want to shorten the pain of this inevitable problem that all new real estate investors will have, I highly recommend practicing your listening skills. When you can understand the seller’s reason for selling, you can help them solve their problem.

Tips for Pre-Screening Motivated Sellers for Wholesale Real Estate

  • Stay in control of the conversation.
  • If the sellers start telling you how beautiful their house is, and how much money they've put into over the last 50 years, they're probably not your motivated sellers. They have an emotional and monetary attachment to their property, and probably just need to call a Realtor. Discover their emotional reason why identifying them as motivated sellers, then you can poke at it during your negotiations.
  • Inquire about any outstanding mortgage balances.  

Make An Offer to Purchase Property

Make the seller an offer that will work for both of you. This means the seller receives a price at closing that they are happy with and you buy the property cheap enough that you can assign your contract for a profit. That’s a win-win agreement. 

In today's competitive market, you may have to offer the seller a higher price than your competitors, in order to get the property locked up. This means taking less of an assignment fee.  Since your contracts are such short term agreements, you'll be able to make a quick check and move on, even if you do have to pay a higher price.

Follow Up with Sellers

If your seller doesn't accept your purchase price offer the first time, don't consider them dead. Follow up with every seller that you've made an offer to. Create a strong follow-up funnel that will convert sellers months down the road without spending any additional marketing dollars.

Follow-up marketing campaigns can include direct mail, phone calls, text messages, emails, and retargeting on Social Media.

Close the Deal

Secure your position in this transaction by getting the seller to sign your real estate contract for the lowest purchase price possible. Use a simple, all-cash as-is purchase and sale agreement.  When you get to this point, you’ve gotten through the most difficult part of a wholesale transaction. Now you can market the contract and assign it to a cash buyer. 

How to Write a Real Estate Wholesale Contract

Writing a real estate contract can be intimidating, especially for a new real estate wholesaler.  The agreements used in the business are typically very short and simple without a lot of contingencies. Moreover, you can find Standard Purchase and Sale Agreements at your local office supply store. 

Listed below are the essential elements of a wholesale contract:

Buyer and Seller Name 

As a matter of fact Both the buyer(s) and seller(s) name must be listed on the contract. The parties must be 18 years of age or older and be of sound mind. The signatures of all parties involved must be presented on the contract 

Legal Description of Real Estate

The Property address must be listed on the real estate contract. When possible, also include the legal description. This can usually be found online in the property appraisers database or on a deed. 

Purchase Price and Earnest Money

The purchase price that was agreed to by the buyer and seller must be indicated on the contract.  If there is monetary consideration (earnest money deposit), that amount must also be listed on the contract. 

Contract Expiration Date

All real estate wholesale contracts must have an expiration date. This is the date that both parties agree to perform by, or the settlement date. This can be negotiated between the seller and the buyer. For a wholesale deal, the expiration date is typically 10 - 30 days.

Best Marketing Lists for Wholesale Real Estate

The key to a successful real estate business is learning how to generate motivated seller leads.  There are some core lists of people that you can target to find the sellers that are willing to work with you.  Once you can generate the right leads, you're potential deals will be plentiful.

  • Probates
  • Divorces
  • Delinquent Property Taxes
  • Quit Claim Deeds
  • Code Violations 
  • Landlords who are Evicting Tenants 

How to Find Buyers for Your Discounted Properties

Investors that will buy your contracts from you are typically people who own rental properties and rehabbers (fix and resale). Their exit strategy is completely different that yours. This makes for an excellent business relationship. A strong real estate wholesaler keeps a list of qualified cash buyers

Here are some ways to locate cash buyers: 

Real Estate Marketplaces

There are many online real estate marketplaces out there. However, most of those marketplaces won't work for real estate wholesalers because they mainly appeal to retail buyers rather than to investors. Therefore, you need to make sure you post your wholesale deals to marketplaces that attract real estate investors searching for investment opportunities. Here is an example of a great website that has an entire section of wholesale real estate deals for sale where you can list your properties to get targeted cash buyers.

Facebook Groups

There are hundreds of Facebook Groups that are full of cash buyers.  If you join these groups and the members in the group get to know you through social networking, you’ll have a great pool of buyers to sell your wholesale properties to. 


Craigslist has a “Real Estate for Sale” classified section where you can post your properties. Depending on where you love, you may or may not have to pay a small fee to post your listing. Moreover, when potential buyers respond to your ad, you can start building your cash buyers list. 


Setup a website that is exclusive used to collect buyer leads and present deals to your wholesale buyers.  Using a lead capture form and offering exclusive peeks at deals before they’re marketed to the public is a great way to build a buyers list. Drive traffic to your website through direct mail, social media, social media groups, and car magnets. 

Local REIA Meetings

There’s a plethora of cash buyers at the local real estate investor meetings. Attend the meetings and come prepared with information about the properties (contracts) that you have for sale. 


There are plenty of real estate agents who work with cash investors, both local and out of state buyers. Search for these Realtors online and build relationships with them. If you build in enough profit into the deal, you’ll be able to offer a commission to the Realtor by helping you sell your contracts. However, be sure the Realtor that you chose to work with understands real estate wholesaling.

Explaining Real Estate Wholesaling to A Seller

Sellers are very savvy in today’s market. They are familiar with real estate wholesaling and if you’re working with the right seller, are accepting of it. Moreover, the best practice when it comes to sellers is to be totally transparent about your role in the transaction.

Be honest with your seller and explain the process, the risks, and the rewards. Let the seller know your intention is to assign your interest to another buyer. The right sellers will get on board. 

Do You Need a Real Estate License To Wholesale Real Estate?

As a matter of fact a real estate license is required to buy or sell a property for someone other than yourself and be compensated for that. Moreover, as a real estate wholesaler, you’re selling your interest in the real estate via the contract that you have with the seller. It’s similar to obtaining a mortgage, and then the mortgage company sells your loan off to another company. 

Top 7 Reasons you SHOULD have a real estate license as a real estate investor:

  • #7 - Access to the MLS for Comps and Market Data
  • #6 - Ability to Find your Own Deals  (REO's, motivated sellers, etc)
  • #5 - Ability to List Your Own Deals  (contracts, rehabs)
  • #4 - You will know the laws of your state.
  • #3- You can fill income gaps with Realtor activity income
  • #2 - You can refer leads for a referral fee
  • #1 - Eventually become a broker and open your own office (for the ambitious only).

Can You Really Make Money Wholesaling Houses? 

Wholesaling real estate can be very lucrative.  In fact, it's one of the easiest business models to make fast money.  There's plenty of misconceptions about how "easy" it is to get started. One of the biggest challenges is getting things off the ground and closing your first deal. 

Learning the business is like learning any new trade.  Firstly, you start with the basic concept and then start filling in the details. Eventually, it becomes second nature and you can do your work with your eyes closed. 

The Mindset of a Real Estate Wholesaler

There seems to be a common mindset for those who are successful in the real estate wholesaling business. Once you have established that this is a real business and it needs to be treated as such, you can really start digging in.  

How to achieve success in the real estate wholesaling business

These are the exact actions you need to take in order to become a successful real estate wholesaler!

It´s a competitive space but if executed correctly it is a very beneficial and fantastic business model.

There are specific steps and things you NEED to do if your goal is to become a successful real estate wholesaler.

  1. A plan

You must have the plan set up before throwing yourself into the big space of real estate wholesaling. Otherwise, you'll soon meet loads of obstacles, and you will soon realize that your competitors have a big advantage over you. It´s like the importance of having a map if you are going to drive in a completely foreign place, without the map you will always end up going to the wrong place and not succeeding in the way you wanted. A plan for your real estate wholesaling business that you then will execute accordingly will ensure that you are set up for success and will achieve your goals.

  1. Negotiation

Negotiation is a massive part of the real estate wholesaling business. Therefore it is utterly crucial that you practice your way of negotiating since that will give you a night-and-day advantage when it´s time to use your negotiating skills in action. Learn what techniques and ways work the best and practice every day to become a master negotiator!

  1. Network

Networking is something that is needed if you want to expand, improve, and create a successful business. Speak with other real estate wholesalers, join communities, and watch how the successful people within the space work. If you learn from people that already have achieved what you want in the real estate space you can learn, implement, and execute accordingly and experience the same astonishing results yourself. A pack of lions always wins over the lone wolf in any business space, create and find your winning circle and watch the success appear.

  1. Adapt

Make sure to adapt to changes within the industry and always be on the lookout for new opportunities that can help your business. This way you always stay on top in your field and are one step ahead of your competitors. For example, now AI is becoming a huge advantage if used correctly within the industry. The people that learned and understood AI from an early stage experienced much more success than those that didn´t. That is the real importance of always being aware and knowing of changes and opportunities to adapt to.

Understand these things properly and implement them into your business to see massive success within the real estate wholesaling business.

Consistency is the Key to Success

Whether you are brand new to the real estate wholesaling business or have been in it for years, you should know that consistency is the key to success. Moreover, once you get your system running then it's imperative to keep it running in order to keep deals coming in. 

How Much Money Can You Make Wholesaling Real Estate?

The amount of money that you can make as a real estate wholesaler depends on how much time and money you have to invest in your business. The first year may be your lowest reported year of income, without $50,000 and it should increase from there. Many wholesalers easily earn as much as $1,000.000.00 per year.

What is an Assignment Fee?

An assignment fee is the amount of money that the buyer pays to take over the position of the real estate wholesaler in the contract. This amount can be a percentage of the purchase price, or a flat fee. It is negotiated between the buyer and the seller of the contract. The assignment fee can be paid at the time the interest is sold, or at closing as a line item on the Settlement statement.

How to Get Started Wholesaling Real Estate

When you’re ready to get started as a real estate wholesaler, the first step is to construct a marketing plan. The goal is to start generating leads. Motivated sellers are the lifeline to your success. Direct mail, Pay Per Click Advertising, bandit signs, and cold calling are just a few methods you can use to start generating leads. 

To beat the learning curve, you’ll want to enroll in a training course or find a real estate mentor. Either of these can help eliminate some of the common mistakes that new real estate wholesalers make (like offering too much for a property). 

How to Wholesale Real Estate With No Money

If you don’t have any money to fund your marketing campaign, you can offer your time to an experienced wholesaler in exchange for mentorship. Similar to an internship you can do certain tasks for a busy wholesaler like taking photos of houses, and marketing properties in exchange for some valuable knowledge. 

Driving for dollars, cold calling and door knocking is another way to get started without any money. However, this isn’t the best business model, since it will be hard to sustain once you start getting busy with sellers and closings. Make it a point to shave a good portion of profits off of your deals to invest back into your business. 

What is Virtual Wholesaling?

Virtual wholesaling is when you’re a real estate wholesaler that is doing business in an area other than that of which you live. Moreover, most of the research, communication and transacting is done via the internet. Many wholesalers of real estate have had great success doing virtual wholesaling in multiple markets.

Your First Deal Is the Game Changer

There are pros and cons to being in the wholesaling business. It's a little challenging at first, but Once you close your first deal and the money is in your bank account, your life will change forever. You'll have the validation that you need to continue the journey and master the trade.

Watch this video about my first deal that I closed ....it literally changed my future forever.

Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Wholesale Real Estate

Everyone makes mistakes when they're first starting out as a real estate wholesaler. We have to learn to grow and earn more money. Here's a list of some very common mistakes that care made in the real estate wholesaling business. Usually, mistakes are made by newbies. Sometimes the same mistake happens over and over.

1. Don't Spend The Money Until it's in the Bank

It's very common to want to start planning on how you'll spend the check once you get it. Be sure that as a matter of fact the deal has been closed, funded to all parties before it can be considered as a closed transaction.

2. Always Collect Earnest Money Deposit from Your Buyers

If the buyer ties up your house for  14, 21, or even 30 days, and then doesnʼt close, he will be in default. He will lose his earnest money deposit. Be sure to collect an amount that is acceptable to you should this happen.

3. Never, Ever Turn Off Your Buying Machine

Keeping your marketing running automatically in the background at all times will help you keep an endless supply of motivated seller leads, hot deals, and big checks. The best way to ensure that Wholesaler's lead generation machine is well oiled and always running is to hire a virtual assistant to get things done!

Create a monthly marketing calendar and assign the tasks to your Virtual Assistant to make sure that the marketing campaigns continue to run, even when you're not there or don't feel like working that day.

Every successful wholesaler should take the time to educate themselves on the basics, and on the advanced techniques that can be applied in the business. The Total Access Pass covers everything you need to become a master.

6 comments on “How to Wholesale Real Estate Step by Step”

  1. Edward Cheek says:

    do i get a contract to sell or have them sign a offer to purchase then have them sign an assignment?

  2. wow, what a valuable resource your website is. I'm having fear of putting a house under contract without having a solid buyer, I have potential buyers, but nothing concrete. Any suggestions

    1. Tracy Caywood says:

      Real estate deals fall apart all the time. There is a remedy for what happens if you breach the contract. The seller gets to Keep the Earnest money Deposit. be sure to read the blog post about Earnest money Deposits 🙂

  3. Jamile colin says:

    What’s a good way to find buyers? Are bandit signs worth it? And after you make a offer and get them under contract do you send it to the title company then or after you find a buyer

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