INVESTORS’ CORNER: Starting as a Bird Dog   

By: Chad Carson//April 23, 2019//

INVESTORS’ CORNER: Starting as a Bird Dog   

By: Chad Carson//April 23, 2019//

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I had just graduate from college, and I decided a more traditional career (medical school in my case) wasn’t for me. I didn’t have any college debt thanks to a football scholarship at Clemson University. But I also had the challenge of no savings or real-world experience. So, I found a more experienced real estate investor (my father in this case, but it could have been someone else) and asked if I could help him find deals.

I contributed my time, hustle, and energy to “sniffing out” good deals like a bird hunting dog. And when I found one, I “pointed” to it so that my father could buy it. For each deal I earned a fee ($2,000 in my case), and I learned a LOT in the process.

Becoming a bird dog started VERY slowly for me. To find potential deals, I sent letters to landlords, scoured the MLS daily, and drove around neighborhoods looking for vacant properties. But it took 6 months to find my first deal, even working every single day! Like some other recent grads, I lived at home since I did not have any income coming in.

But during the next 6 months, things took off! I found 12 deals that my father bought. Some were rentals and some were flips. And after the first full year of being a bird dog, I had learned enough to move to another state and get started on my own fixing and flipping houses with a business partner.

If you want to also use the bird dog strategy, you may need to get your real estate license in most states in order to earn referral fees. But getting your license is actually a helpful process so you can learn the basics of real estate. And to minimize costs, you can get a referral license that allows you to earn commissions for referrals but not for listings or buyer representations.

Chad Carson is a member of Metrolina REIA (, which provides education, networking, and networking for real estate investing in the Charlotte region.  Chad also writes about real estate, money, and life at



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