I was working with a multifamily investing client the other day when he started complaining about how there is no good way to find multifamily deals because all the "good places" have been picked over. That's when I realized that he did not know how to use Google to find multifamily deals.
I asked him what he considered was a good place and he proceeded to lay out there the usual suspects - Loopnet, Costar, blah, blah, blah. I asked him have you ever just tried using Google to find deals? He had no idea that you could do that. Well, you can, provided you know how to use Google correctly.
So I decided to lay out a few pointers as to how you can search for deals on Google. After I showed him these tools, he totally changed his tune as to how to look under every nook and cranny.
Here's what you should do. In this example, I am using 'multifamily investing' but you can use your own (obviously):
Explicit Phrase: Lets say you are looking for content about multifamily investing. Instead of just typing ‘multifamily investing’ into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes, for example, "multifamily investing".
Exclude Words: Lets say you want to search for content about multifamily investing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term ‘landlord’. To do this, simply use the "-" sign in front of the word you want to exclude. For example, search: “multifamily investing –landlord”
Site Specific Search: Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can us Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the "site:somesite.com" modifier. For example: "multifamily marketing site:www.smallbusinesshub.com”
Similar Words and Synonyms: Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the "~" in front of the word. For example: "multifamily investing ~apartments”.
Specific Document Types: If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier "filetype:". For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to multifamily investing. For example: "multifamily investing filetype:ppt”.
This OR That: By default, when you do a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the ‘OR’ operator. (Note: The ‘OR’ has to be capitalized). For example: “multifamily investing OR apartment building investing".
Phone Listing: Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number and you don’t know who it is. If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature. For example: “phonebook:617-555-1212” (note: the provided number does not work – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).
Area Code Lookup: If all you need to do is to look-up the area code for a phone number, just enter the 3-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from. For example: “617”
Numeric Ranges: This is a rarely used, but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using the ‘X..Y’ modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods.) This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers. For example: “president 1940..1950Stock (Ticker Symbol)”. Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumb-nail chart for the stock.
GOOGCalculator: The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression in to Google. “Example: 48512 * 1.02”
Word Definitions: If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the "define:" command. For example: “define:plethoraResource:” What methods have worked for you to find off-market opportunities? Share with us what tools you use?