The deals are out there in abundance. They really are. Boat loads of them. I’ve seen a lot of new investors do just a little marketing and throw their hands up and exclaim, “THIS DOESN’T WORK! Why would anyone want to sell their house at such a big discount?” There are hundreds of reasons, but we don’t need to figure them all out.
Don’t get bogged down in trying to figure out why. Start getting them to call you and tell you why.
Here are 5 proven, cost-effective ways to get the home sellers to call you:
A lot of counties will red tag the electric meter if the utilities are off. Look for those. Most counties have the name and address of the owner (or whoever is receiving the tax bill) of the property.
Send them a handwritten letter on yellow pad paper that says the following:
Dear [insert owner name],
My name is [your name]. My wife and I were driving around [neighborhood name here] and noticed your house at [enter address here]. We are looking to buy investment properties in the area and would like to buy that house. If you would like to sell, please call us today, as we are only buying a couple of houses. We can pay cash.
Your Name and Number
Mail it in a personal-sized envelope that is hand addressed (very important!) and stamped (not metered).
The key to working with REO Realtors is building a relationship with them. You have to understand that they get tons of calls daily from investors asking them to tip them off to the good deals. I amazed at how many investors just assume that these Realtors just love to hear from them.
“You can pay cash? WOW! [rolls eyes]“
WHY WOULD THEY WANT TO HELP YOU? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER THAT THE OTHERS DON’T? WHAT SETS YOU APART?
Figure that out and you can set yourself up to not have to look for very many deals on your own. Here’s a tip: do things for them that others do not bother to or even think to do. Things like offering to have your contractor change locks for them or clean out a house for them. Take donuts (or whatever they like) to their office for them and their staff. Constantly stay in touch without being a pest. You get the idea. Don’t be one of those other thousand clones that will never hear from the Realtor.
Distribute, distribute, distribute. Leave those buggers everywhere you go. Give them to people you meet. Let the word spread.
You should also try those fake money cards. They are great. Here’s what mine look like:
You can get them here: DollarCardMarketing.com.
Another place to look is your local legal notice newspaper. Sometimes these will list properties that have code compliance issues. Once you get the addresses, try to contact the owners. If you can’t get a hold of them by mail or phone number search, go and talk to the neighbors. As a last resort, or just to save time, hire a skip tracer.
I like what you have done here. I think that it could really benefit a lot of people who see it.
Your ideas seems realistic and probably productive.
I do think that your solitication letter could use some improvement. One of the basic lessons I learned from reading a few books on direct market copywriting is that the message should focus on the recipient, not you, the sender. So one
measure I use is the number of “I,” “me,” “we,” and “mine” words compared to the number of “you,” “yours,” and “your” words. The first set should be much lower than the latter. My solicitation postcard has a ratio of something like 7 “I-me-etc.” to 28 “you-etc.” or something like that.
Here is a quick first cut about the direction I think you might want to consider for your letter.
I think the length is about the same as your missive.
Dear [insert owner name],
Would you like to easily and quickly sell your property at [enter address here]? If you would be willing to sell for all cash my wife and I would like to buy from you. You can get immediate payment or, if you would prefer, steady monthly payment checks in your mailbox. If you would consider selling either this property or another one you own, please call today. You will get our no-nonsence offer and you are under no further obligation.
Your Name and Number
P.S. If you don’t want to consider selling now, please keep this letter safely with your property papers, so if you want to sell later, you will have it.
Count now: 2 “I-me-etc.” to 13 “you-etc.”
Good Investing, Posting, and Blogging********Ron Starr*********
I agree with you about the “you” and “me” counts and feel that your letter would probably get a better response. I just try to keep it short when handwriting these letters (handwritten for first letter sent). You can expect that I will use a shorter version of yours.
(You’ve even got me considering how many I’s are in this response!)
Glad to see you here on FlippingJunkie. Hope to see you around more.
Good to see Ron Starr’s comments here. Ron helped me about 10 years ago with this same issue. My marketing letter had too many I’s. He shared his marketing postcard and pointed out the you vs. I/we. To this day whenever I revamp my message or add some tidbit I go through and look at how to say it with more “you” and less “I/we”. My marketing is usually pretty targeted and my letters get anywhere from a 5-10% response rate. I’m preparing additional marketing materials this very day, as well as a website for sellers. This reminder couldn’t come at a better time.
Thanks for sharing your marketing. It’s great to see what’s working for others. You’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog that you don’t prefer the absentee owner mailings because they aren’t targeted enough. Where I am I can get very targeted lists, some for free, some for reasonable prices. I’m curious what’s in the way of your absentee owner mailings being more targeted. I can get it down to year of house, amount of equity, tax default or no, last sale date, etc.
What I was probably referring to was the fact that the letters were not going to people with any signs of motivation. They were targeting homeowners that did not likely live at the and had equity. Now that I mainly switched to sending those leads just postcards, I feel it is targeted enough. If you can get tax default info that would help it target more motivation.
Mainly, I was just a little frustrated with my responses on those mailing (most were tire kickers). Doesn’t mean to not do it, just have to accept the fact that most won’t be as motivated as the person that calls from some other forms of marketing. I still do them and will continue to do so.
I agree there does seem to be some kind of weird too-much-time-on-their-hands responses from many out of area sellers, esp. the ones with free and clear houses. These are people who are NEVER going to sell and they call anyway. I track all the houses I get calls on, many for years. These people don’t sell to someone else, not even years later. They just like to call and get an offer, and act offended. In my farm it’s owners that are retired and living in AZ and FL that perform consistently this way.
Your numbers for marketing since March show 29 leads from letters for one deal. That way outperforms your website which is 38 leads per deal. Of course the website is much cheaper and easier than mailings. Are the calls/leads from the website somehow easier to deal with?
I’ll take the leads from the website any day as they don’t require all of the work that sending out letters does. Most of them come through my email so there is less chance of interruption in what I am doing and also less of a chance of missing them. I prefer the web lead due to the ease.
New investors, which includes me, have no excuses now. Thanks for the list, Danny.
Like what you’re doing here and just got a list of absentee owners that I’m starting to mail this week. I like the short version you had in the post and would probably use something similar.
Great advice here!
Hey Danny, here I am again. I definitely want to use dollarcardmaketing for my “buying” business cards. I think that they would work great. Where did you get yours. You said 1000 for $20. Thanks
I just reread the post and realize that it is a little confusing. What I meant is that you should be able to find 1000 business cards for around $20. The dollar cards are more expensive. I actually got mine from DollarCardMarketing.com (aff link) and I see that they are about $150 for 1000. I’ve used overnightprints.com for business cards and it looks like you can get 1000 single-sided cards for $28.
How can I find the listing of properties that have Code Violations in my City . Please Help Me…
Try to call code compliance and ask them. Some areas they will give this out, others they won’t. If they do not at the code compliance (or neighborhood services) office, try to get the phone number to one of the code compliance officers and ask them. You need to let them know that you are looking for properties that are run down and the owner just cannot afford to fix it. You want to buy them and fix them so that the city will receive more in the way of property taxes and you will be helping to improve the community.