You’ve probably heard of the traditional means of investing in real estate: buy-and-hold, fix-and-flip, rentals, rehabs, wholesaling. These are all time-tested, tried-and-true options for real estate investors at all levels of experience and with all levels of capital. However, in every crowd, there are a few people who just want to be different. If you love real estate but you’re looking for the unexpected, here are three ways you can leverage the power of real estate in ways that just might surprise you:

1| Buy Foreclosures in Unusual Places

It’s probably not news to you that the courthouse steps used to be a great place to buy properties. It’s probably also not news to you that the courthouse steps are a lot more competitive than they used to be. Fortunately, you can access foreclosure inventories that are far cheaper and often far less competitive if you know a certain secret about certain cities around the country. As well as how they handle it when people fail to pay a certain bill that, well, let’s just say is really, really important to the local government, supersedes every other lien on a property, and can enable you to buy foreclosures at rock-bottom prices.

“It’s amazing how few people, even today, know about this opportunity,” said Charles Sells, 2016 Think Realty Master Investor of the Year and owner of The PIP Group, a South Carolina firm specializing in helping investors access this opportunity either for themselves or with PIP’s assistance. “I love watching investors’ eyes light up when they realize that the foreclosure market is still out there and actually a better opportunity than ever,” he added.

2| Invest in “Unorthodox” Opportunities

Every real estate investor knows that often the best opportunities are the ones no one else has spotted yet. If you have a taste for the really big, really adventurous projects, then learning more about how to invest in a certain type of recently-legalized green substance without actually investing in the substance itself will likely interest you. In late April 2017, co-chairman and partner at MedMen Chris Leavy penned a commentary for CNBC titled “I Spent 20 Years on Wall Street. Now I’m Investing in Marijuana,” detailing just how profitable he believes the controversial industry will be in the coming decade. “Wall Street analyst Cowen and Company predicts sales of $50 billion in the recreational market alone within a decade. That is the fastest-growing industry in our economy,” Leavy observed.

However, not all investors have a taste, so to speak, for an investment in marijuana, nor can all investors use their preferred means of investing, such as some federally-regulated retirement accounts, to do so. For those investors, the idea of getting involved on the real estate side of the industry may be extremely appealing. “From cultivation to retail, delivery services, testing labs, housing and infrastructure, all of these aspects require real estate for the facilities and structures that make these things happen,” said Pete Asmus, CEO of GreenZone Properties. “In my opinion, this product will have the single largest impact on our economy, in fact it will so big we can’t even truly quantify it at yet,” said Asmus. “In my opinion, the impact of this single product will be so big we can’t even truly quantify it at yet.”

3| Automate the Process from the Start

Probably the most common explanation from would-be investors about their “failure to launch” in real estate is an entirely understandable one: They simply do not have the time to generate leads, evaluate them, follow up, make the investment, leverage their strategy, then exit the investment. They know they’re missing out on an incredible opportunity, but they simply have too much going on in their job and their family life to make it happen.

“Nearly every investor I meet ends up being truly shocked by just how quickly, easily, and affordably they can scale up an existing or entirely new real estate business using what I like to call ‘rockstar virtual assistants,’” said Rob Nickell, founder of “You can use them for everything from screening and training to tasks which require far more accountability and follow-up,” he added.

You can learn more about these three unexpected ways to invest in real estate as well as more “conventional” strategies at Think Realty’s National Conference & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 14-15, 2017. Click here to reserve your spot now.