Landlording & Rental Properties

How To Get Any Homeowner On The Phone For $10

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6 Articles Written
Get Any Homeowner On The Phone

It’s a dirty little secret in the wholesale biz that sometimes homeowners are hard to get in touch with. So many times you see a property you want to purchase, and even if by some stroke of luck you find out who the homeowner is, getting them to pick up the phone or return a letter can be next to impossible.

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For $10, there’s a way you can get virtually anyone to pick up that phone. You come across looking a little bit like the guy from all the Saw movies, but trust – this is a move that will definitely get a homeowner’s attention and having you securing your sale. Here’s how to do it:

Hit the Thrift Shop

It seems like everyone on the planet has a high-tech smartphone of some kind, right? That’s a good thing – now, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, you can find a simple flip phone in your local thrift store for as little as $5. Snatch a few of these up the next time you see them – if your thrift store has half-off sales, that would be a perfect time to buy. Next, activate these phones with pay-as-you-go plans. With a pre-paid minutes card you can get at any grocery store, load up your phone with some minutes and charge the battery.

Think Inside the Box

Go to your post office and get a small, flat-rate envelope or box. These retail for a fixed price (hence the term “flat-rate”) and usually won’t run you any more than $5 for a small sized envelope.

When you mail your phone, be sure to get something called the tracking number. The tracking number prints on your receipt and tells you where your package is and whether it’s been delivered. You can enter the tracking number in your computer through the post office’s web site and see if your package is out for delivery and where it’s at on the postal worker’s route.

This might seem a little creepy, but hang in there: Mail your phone with a note that tells the homeowner to expect a call from you. Give them a specific date and time, about 2-3 days from when you mail your package so you can be sure the seller has it. Wrap up the phone and put it in the mail.

Stalk the Post Office

The great thing about mailing through your post office is that you can ask for something called signature confirmation. This lets you know that your package has arrived and it’s physically in that person’s hands. Check online through your local post office’s website to see if your phone has reached the homeowner and whether he or she has signed for it. Between signature confirmation and the tracking number, you’ll know exactly where the phone is at all times.

Go in for the Kill

When you’re sure the homeowner has the package in his possession, call the phone and let the person know that you’re interested in buying his property. The homeowner can chat with you about his property at no cost to him, and it lets him know without a doubt that you are very interested in buying his property. Suddenly the hardest thing to do in the real estate business has just become your specialty.

Is this method a little bit creepy? Maybe. Will it take your homeowner off guard? Maybe. Is it guaranteed to get his attention, and almost certainly a sale? Definitely. Get to your local thrift shop, box that phone up at the post office, and stand by – you’re about to get in touch with a whole lot of people.
Photo Credit: Nanagyei

    Jason Merchey
    Replied over 6 years ago
    That is about the most inventive thing I have ever heard.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks Jason.
    Brian
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I am curious. Have you ever closed a deal after having initially approached a seller this way?
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Brian – please be assured that anything that I suggest or write about is only things that I’ve accomplished or had success with myself. I’ve sent out over 30 phones this year to homeowners that I’ve had a hard time contacting. These are homeowners that I know live in the address that’s listed or I’ve done extensive skip tracing on. Of those 30 we’ve closed on 10 of those properties.
    Brian
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Very Nice…I’ll have to give it a whirl.
    Michael Linquist Real Estate Investor from Lutz, Florida
    Replied about 5 years ago
    If you know where the homeowner lives, why wouldn’t you just go knock on their door in person?…I’m not understanding the full picture I guess. Are you only doing this for people who live far away?
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Brian – please be assured that anything that I suggest or write about is only things that I’ve accomplished or had success with myself. I’ve sent out over 30 phones this year to homeowners that I’ve had a hard time contacting. These are homeowners that I know live in the address that’s listed or I’ve done extensive skip tracing on. Of those 30 we’ve closed on 10 of those properties. Reply Report comment
    Jenna Stonecipher
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I agree with Jason. This is genius.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thank you, Jenna. 🙂
    Tom
    Replied over 6 years ago
    What a great idea! I had no idea that you could use old phones in this way. Thanks for the post!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks Tom. Glad you like it.
    Dennis Lanni
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Good stuff. I’ve had a taxi drive & knock an owner’s door with me on the phone but this is cheaper.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Wow, that must have been a really special deal, huh? Thanks Dennis.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Wow, that must have been a really special deal, huh? Thanks Dennis. Reply Report comment
    Justin
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Great idea! Reply Report comment
    Justin
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Great idea!
    Justin
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Great idea! Reply Report comment
    Bill
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Of course, this will work only if the homeowner still leaves at the home or is still picking up their mail. Many hard to reach people are long gone, I have even had mail returned to me from an address that no longer had a mailbox! Go figure! I like the creativity, though!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Bill, I usually do a ton of skip tracing before using this tactic.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Bill, I usually do a ton of skip tracing before using this tactic.
    Matt
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I would be terrified if someone sent me a phone in the mail with instructions!
    Matt DeVincenzo
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Wow talk about creative marketing techniques!! This is awesome, way to think outside the “box”.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks!
    Paul Francis
    Replied over 6 years ago
    15 years in Real Estate and I’ve never seen this suggestion for tracking down that hard to get homeowner. Not sure if it would work too well in Las Vegas but certainly interesting.
    Galya
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I can tell you what is the problem with this. if you use USPS, their delivery drivers will upload the tracking info when they come back to the main office. So at 5pm you get the tracking that your package was delivered at 8am. Do you know what could’ve happened to this phone during 9 hours? 1. all minutes could’ve been used, 2. the phone could’ve been sold, tossed away, regifted. 3. Listed on craigslist and pick uped already. It’s better to use the taxi, at least you can call right away when the phone is for sure in that owner’s hands.
    Galya
    Replied over 6 years ago
    BTW,you do not need to check USPS website million times, you can subscribe to e-mail updates on their site once the first tracking been uploaded.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks for the tip.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks for the tip. Reply Report comment
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks for the tip.
    Gerald Harris
    Replied over 6 years ago
    This is 1 of the most creative things i have heard of. Great stuff!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thank you, Gerald!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thank you, Gerald! Reply Report comment
    Galya
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I can see a solution though. Find out the full zip code to the property (with the additional 4 numbers), you can do it on the USPS site. Then on the same site find the closest post office that services that zip code. Call that post office and ask them when they deliver mail to the zip code you found, they should give you a 2 hour window or so. Once you see in your tracking updates that your package is out for delivery, it means it’s going to be delivered that day, start calling at the time when the mail should be delivered. Just make sure the battery in your old phone would hold before you put it in a box. This way you’re only going to call for 2 hours and then you’ll figure out that your package was not delivered on that day ( they may get behind on thier mail schedule too, so keep this in mind). Or, if you really have nothing to do, you can just wait in your car outside the house starting at the time they usually deliver mail. You can also ask when you call, what is going to happen if the owner not home, are thye going to attemp and deliver next day (so you can repeat the process) or they will wait to the owner to show up at the post office and pick it up. In the last case you’ll get your tracking when the owner came to pick up the phone, without delays.
    Martin Cortez
    Replied over 6 years ago
    VERY innovative idea. What makes it work is the unexpected twist. I have a way to find owners of vacant houses using the same concept of shock and awe, but be forewarned, it is not for the faint of heart! In a nutshell, you place a “For Sale” sign in the yard of the vacant house with your phone number on it. But before you do, put a small question mark (?) after the word “Sale”. That way, when the irate owner calls you about the sign, you simply say: “Oh, I’m sorry… I didn’t put the sign in your yard to sell your house, I was merely asking if your house was …wait for it… For Sale? Didn’t you see the question mark on the sign?” Works like a charm if you don’t mind a few colorful words flying your way. See my full post here: http://bit.ly/K6YsQq
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    That’s an awesome idea, Martin. Haven’t tried that but I just might have to. Thanks for sharing!
    Jacob
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Martin, you’ve got balls to do this one. I like it!
    Alison
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I second Brian’s question, have you ever closed a deal that started this way? Just wondering. a slight twist on this would be to use the thrift-shop phones to call the seller from different phone numbers so they don’t avoid picking up when they see your number. In fact that’s what I thought you were going to suggest when I started reading the article.
    Galya
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Alison. Or dial *67 and your number will show as “private.” or on iPhone you can download an app to hide your number. The thing is, how do you know their number to even dial them? If the property was sold 50 years ago last time, the number even if was recorded in the city records, probably got changed.
    Frank Anthony Davis
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Very creative. You could even store a custom contact name for yourself and write it down on the note. That way it’s not just random numbers on a screen they have never seen before.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks. Glad you like it, Frank. And thanks for the input.
    Jason Munck
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I agree with the other comments. I’d like to know the success rate of this strategy.
    Jeff Brown
    Replied over 6 years ago
    44 years and I’m still able to say I’ve not come close to seein’ it all. 🙂
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Gotta get creative to sustain, Jeff.
    Jaz Cook
    Replied over 6 years ago
    This would definitely get someone’s attention. I imagine you could also have your own number programmed into the phone as the only number on the contact list and then give them the option of simply calling you rather than waiting for your call.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Exactly Jaz. 🙂
    Kevin Sapp
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Very creative indeed. Curious, most cell phones are deactivated, numbers transferred, etc. How do you activate the phone and which wireless carrier do you find to be the best for this innovative technique?
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I use verizon.
    Robert Adams
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Wow what a great way to think outside the box! I haven’t seen this done in my area at all so i would assume most homeowners have never seen this method. I love reading new ideas like this. Thanks for posting.
    Joseph
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I think this was thinking “inside the box” if you’ll forgive my sense of humor!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Agreed! Lol…
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    That’s right, Robert. Do it on some of those leads you’ve been really wanting to get a hold of, while not everybody is doing it yet. 🙂
    Joseph
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I think this was thinking “inside the box” if you’ll forgive my sense of humor!
    Juanita
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Great idea…RVA huh? I’m in Richmond also. What areas are you making deals with your phone idea?
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I don’t do much in Richmond except purchase rentals so if you have any deals send them my way. 🙂
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I don’t do much in Richmond except purchase rentals so if you have any deals send them my way. 🙂
    Jeromie
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I LOVE this idea. I’m going to have to brainstorm other areas this would be effective… I also think it would be great to put your contact info in before mailing – that way they can answer a phone call from ‘Fate’, ‘Destiny’, ‘Your Future’, etc.
    Jeromie
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I LOVE this idea. I’m going to have to brainstorm other areas this would be effective… I also think it would be great to put your contact info in before mailing – that way they can answer a phone call from ‘Fate’, ‘Destiny’, ‘Your Future’, etc.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Lol…you’ll end up getting a date not a deal.
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Hahaha I love that idea, Jeromie!
    Brandon Turner
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Hahaha I love that idea, Jeromie! Reply Report comment
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Lol…you’ll end up getting a date not a deal.
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Lol…you’ll end up getting a date not a deal. Reply Report comment
    Roy Schauer
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I like it! I’ll at it to the prepaid Visa card with company logo and peanuts in the envelope pile for contacting owners. Thanks for sharing!
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Glad you like it, Roy. You should give it try.
    Sharon Vornholt
    Replied over 6 years ago
    And I thought I had heard of everything Mike. Sharon
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    LOL…
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    LOL… Reply Report comment
    Sharon Vornholt
    Replied over 6 years ago
    And I thought I had heard of everything Mike. Sharon Reply Report comment
    Alanya Boyer
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I have to say, this is quite clever! I hope you include a note that says “This device will self destruct once we’ve reached a deal”
    Mike Nelson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Hahaha…that’d be cool, Alanya! But they might just think I’m a real lunatic if I do that, lol.