Bird Dog

DEFINITION of 'Bird Dog'

A real estate investing term that refers to someone who spends their time trying to locate properties with substantial investment potential. Usually, the intent is to find properties that are distressed and selling at a discount that can be repaired or remodeled and sold for a sizable profit. Sometimes, however, the term is also used to refer to people who find underpriced properties that would make good income (rental) properties.

The term itself is a reference to hunting dogs that would point to the location of birds and then retrieve them once the hunter had shot them.


Despite what many late-night infomercials promise, being a bird dog is not a quick and easy way for the novice real estate investor to become the next Donald Trump. Most successful bird dogs have spent years, or even decades, working in and around real estate and have developed their instincts about a property's potential.

For someone interested in breaking into the bird-dog field, working for a more seasoned investor may be the wisest first step. Many bird dogs work as apprentices for a time, either receiving a commission or a share of the profits for the properties they help locate for experienced real estate investors.