In the world of real estate investing, bird dogs (or property scouts) are often underutilized or underappreciated resources.

In reality, property scouts (that term just sounds so much cooler than “bird dogs,” in my opinion), can add a TON of value to your team – and ultimately to your business.

By doing the preliminary work of finding properties and motivated sellers, property scouts can save you a lot of valuable time, and bring in deals that really increase your profits.

So, when it comes to recruiting and training property scouts, I think it’s really important to take the process seriously. The more effort you put into finding and teaching these individuals, the more benefits you’ll ultimately reap.

Today, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to find, train, and retain the best of the best.

Who to Look For

When it comes to finding property scouts, there are two camps of thought…

1) It’s better to hire people who have real estate experience (agents, mortgage professionals, etc.) OR

2) It’s more strategic to hire people with very little real estate experience and who are ready and willing to learn.

This is totally up to you. Sometimes, people with real estate experience will dive right in and have the expertise you’re looking for; other times, it can backfire, because they already have their own preconceived notions about the market and it may take some time for them to understand how to do things “your way.”

If you choose to go the non-real estate expert route, you may decide to hire college students, stay-at-home parents, or other individuals who are looking to make some money on the side.

Either way, make sure the property scouts you choose are HIGHLY motivated individuals who are excited to start their work. Expertise isn’t necessarily a requirement for this job, but enthusiasm is.

They should also be receptive to constructive criticism, and willing to learn how they can improve over time. It’s a huge bonus if they have a genuine interest in real estate, and are hoping to venture into a similar career in their future.

How to Recruit

When you’re ready to hire a property scout, it’s time to place some good-old-fashioned ads. (Except, maybe nix the “old-fashioned” part – it’s time for something more modern.)

You might want to put out some info on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even at your local REIA groups, explaining that you’re hiring. If you have some popular newspapers in your community, this could be another route.

But my mostly highly recommended method would be to place an ad on Craigslist. These are my favorite categories:

  • job offered > real estate
  • job offered > et cetera
  • gig offered (for odd jobs)
Next, you’ll want to think carefully about how you write your ad. The key here is to sound like a real person… not a corporate robot or a sleazy salesperson (no offense to salespeople!)

Make your ad exciting, down-to-earth, and enticing. It’s also important not to give away all of the information about yourself and the gig. Create something that will make readers curious enough to visit your website and read more.

Here’s a good example:

Earn $2,000+ a Month Finding Houses in Your Neighborhood!

I’m a local real estate investor who is looking to hire someone (to start immediately) who can scout properties for me in the Atlanta area. No real estate experience is necessary, and I will provide all the training you need. You must be local, but there’s no need to come into an office – work remotely! This is a great way to earn extra cash and learn about real estate in the process! Visit my website to learn more. www.JoeSmithInvesting.com

Make sure your ad is a reflection of YOU, and keep it simple. And now, you’re ready to rock and roll!

If you end up needing to post your ad multiple times (in order to find the right person), just remember to keep your content unique. Craiglist’s filters will ghost your ad (translation: remove it) if you post the same exact thing too many times… especially if you’re posting from the same computer and/or same email address. So, each time you post, you want to change up your text a little bit – and maybe even use multiple email addresses or computers just in case.

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How to Win Them Over

Now, there are SO many components to an investor’s website (it would take me a long time to cover them all). So, today, I want to focus specifically on your website’s landing page and registration page – which are the two most important pages for recruiting property scouts.

Once an interested person clicks on the website link in your Craigslist ad (or Facebook, etc.), they should be directed to your landing page. The landing page should offer more information than your ad, but still shouldn’t give away every single detail. When creating this page on your website, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Explain – briefly – your business model and the type of person you’re looking to hire
  • The benefits of the position
  • Use relatable, down-to-earth language
  • Make the overall message enticing enough that it makes the reader want to learn more
On your landing page, create a link to the final stop: the registration page. (For instance, “Interested in learning more? Click here.”)

On the registration page, provide information along these lines:

  • An overall description of the job
  • Another summary of the benefits (i.e. no risk involved, flexible hours, work as often as you’d like, etc.)
  • Details on the compensation (“you can start earning money immediately…” so on and so forth)
Finally, your registration page should have a section where the person can submit their contact information (name, email, and phone). Make sure you clearly explain why they should submit their information (“this is an easy way to learn more about this amazing position; there’s no commitment by submitting your information, but you’ll never know if this is the right job for you until you try it!”).

You get the idea.

Someone who goes far enough to submit their contact information is probably fairly serious about becoming a property scout. Remember, they were “funneled” through your ad, then your landing page, then your registration page, and still decided to submit their information.

From here, you’ll want to select a few of the most promising candidates, go through some brief interviews, and then make your final selection(s).

How to Train

You’re on to the next step – congratulations! It’s time to train your new property scouts.

Now, training might sound like a time-sucking, annoying prospect. BUT – if you have prepared thorough training materials in advance, you will actually need to spend very little time – if any – actually training your new property scout.

So, how do you do it? Let me explain…

Now, you’ll want to customize this to your own preferences and business model, but – in general – here are the 3 components of a good training program:

  • Training email campaign
  • Training manual
  • Multimedia training materials
First, create a series of emails that will be sent to your newly hired property scout. If you have a CRM, you’ll be able to automatically schedule these emails to go out every few days or so. Each email should introduce a new topic and focus on training that person ONLY on that topic.

The key to successful emails is to break down topics into small, easily-understood segments. Remember, this person may have ZERO real estate knowledge. Start with the absolute basics and work your way up to more complex topics later in your email sequence.

Your emails should be specific but pretty brief. Don’t write a novel – because it could become overwhelming for the property scout. Instead, include hard-hitting, helpful, and concise info, and then include a link to the “members only,” password-protected section of your website, where the property scout can access your training manual and multimedia materials.

While your training emails should be brief, your training manual should be very detailed. This is where your property scouts can find more information on the topics they would like to learn more about. Divide your training manual into clearly defined sections, so it’s easy for your property scouts to find what they’re looking for.

A few sections to include in your training manual might be:

  • An overview of your business model
  • The types of properties you’re seeking
  • Property search techniques (driving for dollars, online searches, etc.)
  • How to find motivated sellers
  • How to submit leads
  • The compensation process for property scouts
To make your training materials more engaging and multi-faceted, you probably want to include some multimedia options in the members-only section of your website, such as videos or audio recordings. You may, for example, film a short “driving for dollars” video that explains your thought process as you search for properties in your car.

The multimedia training materials are awesome for two main reasons:

  • They give your property scouts a multi-dimensional training experience that will help them retain more information (some people learn best through reading, while others are much more likely to remember what they see or hear in a video/audio recording)
  • They make you a “real person;” think about it… would you want to work for a boss that you never see or hear from? It’s kind of impersonal, don’t you think? By using videos for training, your property scouts will be more inclined to feel like they know you… which will probably foster stronger feelings of loyalty and motivation.
Over time, you’ll probably get some good questions from your property scouts. Use those questions to develop new sections in your training manual or new videos for your website.

Full Speed Ahead

And there you have it… you’ve now successfully hired and trained a new property scout. As you can tell, this process really requires a lot of upfront effort on your part. You need to take the recruiting process and the development of your training materials very seriously – and devote the necessary time to each.

Once you have a solid recruiting process and informative, engaging training materials in place, the rest will be easy-breezy. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits of having a well-trained, motivated property scout on your team.

While that was a lot of information to chew on, I’m sure there are a million other ideas out there. What are your tried-and-true tactics for finding and training property scouts?

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