Yes, it can indeed be that simple. Just because a strategy seems obvious does not mean everyone else in the world is following it, competing with you. In my own relatively small community, though, the home sale magazine is filled with many hundreds of properties. All you have is a tiny snapshot of each and about ten words of description. It is a lot to sort through to find that perfect house for a flip and may end up just wasting a lot of your time.
The trick is to work efficiently. When I lived in Houston, I regularly shopped at Niemann Marcus. Their normal prices were way above my income level, but I had a strategy. Once a month I went to the women’s wear department, headed straight to the 75%-off sale rack, and did not look at anything else in the store. Yes, there were other sale racks all around. I am sure that many had beautiful clothing at prices I could afford. It did not matter, though, because I wanted only one outfit a month, and I wanted it at 75% off. As a result, I did not waste any time looking at hundreds of dresses and suits, trying on a dozen or so, and then attempting to choose the best one for my purchase.
You should do the same thing. Race through the home sale magazines looking for these key phrases: starter home, handyman special, or needs TLC. These phrases all indicate that the homes are fixer-uppers. Clues to owners who need a quick sale at some price include: motivated seller and owner relocated. Also look for OBO, which means or best offer. If you saw an advertisement that said, “$89,000 OBO,” would it even occur to you to offer the full asking price of $89,000? Of course not. That owner is just begging for a low offer.