It's a dichotomy, the thing that's easy isn't effective, and therefore, the thing that is difficult usually is effective. When it comes to finding "deals" in real estate, we naturally gravitate to reviewing online listings, i.e. the MLS. It makes sense because this is actually a list of houses that are for sale. The problem, though, is that in most areas properties on the MLS don't pencil out as good investments. So, "easy" isn't effective. With online listings, because they are easy to review, when a deal does show up its usually snapped up by another investor before you see it. What really works is doing the hard things, like driving for dollars and tracking down absentee owners. Time consuming tasks like networking with wholesalers and investors to develop relationships or sending out hand addressed letters to probate leads. We don't want to do these hard things so instead we spend hours scanning through the MLS. I know, I've been there. It's only natural to take the easy way out. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of sifting through online listings for hours and then say, "Well, that's a wrap! I've done my real estate work today, there just aren't any deals out there right now! It's a really tight market!"