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:
Drive For Dollars -
Drive neighborhoods where you want to invest and look for vacant houses. The best ones are the ones that look like they have been vacant for a while with overgrown and trashed out yards, peeling paint and broken windows. You really want the eyesores. The neighbors will be glad to give you the contact information for the owner if they have it, as they are tired of living next to that hunk of junk.
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).
Wholesalers are an awesome way to get deals. Why not benefit from leveraging other people's marketing? Don't automatically assume that they all ask too much and there is not enough room in their deals. Some wholesalers consistently provide spectacular deals and those are the ones worth finding. They are out there. While you are rehabbing and making money, they are finding more deals for you. Spend time at your local REIAs (Real Estate Investment Associations) and calling other investors. Look for those wholesalers and get to know them personally. Have lunch. Get the deals.
REO Realtors -
We all know, or at least should know, REO Realtors have some of the best deals. I particularly find that I can get great deals that usually require fewer repairs than ones I buy directly from homeowners. This is huge if you value your time.
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.
Business Cards/Money Cards -
1,000 full-color business cards for $20. These things are sooooo cheap. If you don't have them, you should not be in business. Get some bright yellow folding business cards that have your message and what you do. "We Buy Houses CASH" works. Use it. Don't spend a week procrastinating because you haven't figured out the best message. Tell them you will close fast and buy 'As-Is'. Let them know that you are personally involved. No hassles.
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. A quick google search for 'folding money cards' should point you in the right direction. These are definite conversation starters and a great way to get noticed.
Code Compliance -
This is another profoundly awesome way to get deals if you can pull it off. Try to get in touch with code compliance officers for your area and see if it is possible to get a list of properties that have code compliance complaints against them. In most places this may be hard to do because the city does not want to get into hot water (i.e., legal trouble) for giving out this information. In some areas, they are more than willing to give you a list. Doesn't hurt to ask.
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.
The author has permitted the reprinting and redistribution of this article.