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A property scout is someone you hire to look for vacant houses for you. This can be any average person who might be looking for a little extra income.

The idea behind hiring property scouts is to free up your time to put deals together and work on building and scaling your business instead of working IN your business. Your time is much better spent making offers, but if you are just starting out, you will most likely be your own property scout for a while.

I usually pay a property scout $5 per lead they bring me. I require the address and four photos of the property. The pictures consist of the address, the street sign, a picture of the house and a photo proving the house is vacant – all time and date stamped.

For $5 more per property, the property scout can go to the local tax accessor’s website and find out who owns the property. They need to write down the owners name, address, and the numbers of beds and baths, square footage and tax assessed value of the potential deal. I don’t want to spend hours looking up owners, so it’s usually well worth it to have the property scout do this as well.

I have my scouts create a Google doc spreadsheet that they share with me so we can share all the information. Make sure as soon as a potential deal is found, you get the information about it quickly because time is of the essence when it comes to vacant properties. The first person to contact the owner usually always wins.

When we close a deal, I usually like to give my property scout a few hundred dollars as a bonus for the good find. If you do not have a large budget to pay property scouts, tell them you can pay $100/week for 20 leads/week.

I make sure to pay them within 1-2 days of when they turn in the leads. Everyone appreciates being paid in a timely manner and the better you treat them, the more leads they will bring you.

Also, make sure that if you have multiple property scouts working for you, they are working in different areas so you aren’t getting repeat leads. They are contractors and not employees, so make sure they fill out a 1099 if you pay them more than $599 in a year. The property scout will be a tax-deductible expense for you.