5 Niche Lists Real Estate Investors Should Target for Better Direct Mail Results

by | BiggerPockets.com

Wholesalers know that the market is hot, and the majority of your competition is going after your traditional absentee owners list. I still feel that it’s a great list to go after; however, it’s time to think a little differently and go after niche lists. A niche list could mean targeting code enforcements, delinquent taxes, probates, bankruptcies, divorces, or evictions. These are what are called high motivation lists; as real estate investors, we want to solve problems — and these people obviously have problems. It’s our job to go in and find the solution to the seller’s problem. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of success going after specialty lists.

5 Niche Lists Real Estate Investors Should Target for Better Direct Mail Results

Eviction List

The list I’ve been going after is the eviction list. This is a great because you will deal with landlords who are worn out. I myself have been a worn out landlord before, so I know the feeling. I actually sold to a cash buyer in my situation. Anyway, I’ve been having much success with these sellers because they are easy to do business with. I’ve said it before — it’s hard for you to mess up a deal with a motivated seller.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Using Direct Mail Advertising to Grow Your Real Estate Business

These landlords are often dealing with what you could call “professional tenants” who know your local landlord laws better than some lawyers. They will use the law to drag out the eviction process not because they’re the victim but because they know how to use the system to their benefit. So if you were the landlord in that situation, you might be looking for a quick sell as well. Ask your list provider if they carry this list.


Tax Default List

The second list I would recommend is the tax default list. These people actually get letters from the city telling the homeowner to pay in a threatening manner. The city creates a sense of urgency. Your marketing piece does not have to mention anything about them being behind in taxes. All you need to do is send them your marketing piece. These people are usually more realistic in knowing that they NEED to sell. Also, please check your state’s delinquent tax laws because they vary state by state. The more you know how tax laws work, the better you can help your client. Please check with your current list provider for this information.

Vacant House List

The third list I will discuss is the vacant house list. Usually, this list is more expensive from your list broker. Don’t focus on the price because this list can yield you four or five figures from one deal. The vacant house list is what it sounds like — it is people who own a vacant house. And don’t think because you feel someone should be motivated that they necessarily will be. That is often not the case, as you will mail this list and find some people still want above retail for a raggedy shack. For the most part, direct mail is a numbers game, so just move on to the next seller. But what you will find is the high level of motivation within this list.

Divorce & Bankruptcy Lists

Another list I recently heard about that I will be mailing to this month is divorce leads. It’s safe to assume that if someone is getting a divorce, they have some problems they need to solve. Also, I have never actually mailed to bankruptcy lists but plan to in the future. I’ve heard that the majority of the cases involving houses get kicked out of bankruptcy court and homeowners are forced to sell. We will see how this works out for me. You can contact your local list broker to see if they carry this list.


Related: 5 Direct Mail Metrics Every Real Estate Investor Should Track Religiously

In conclusion, the best way to see if any of these lists work is for you to test them out. And you cannot hit a list once and say it doesn’t work. I hit my list every other month. As far as getting these lists in the first place, there are many list brokers out there for you to contact to see what different list they have for you to purchase. Or you can search the BP Forums to see what other investors are using.

The point of this article was to let you guys know you have to think a little differently than your competition. Also, like anything else, you have to go big with your list to get the best results. I am going from five thousand postcards a month to thirteen thousand. The bigger you go with your mailings, the better your results will be.

Investors: Which lists do you target to find leads?

Let me know with a comment!

About Author

Nasar Elarabi

Nasar El-arabi has been involved in real estate for 12 years. During those 12 years, Nasar has wholesaled houses, rehabbed properties, build new properties, created a buy-and-hold portfolio, and flipped land. Nasar identified early in life he wanted to have his own business. Fortunately, because of parents who instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him, he was able to build a seven-figure business after being terminated from his job in September of 2012. Nasar has gone on to become a successful real estate investor in Charlotte, NC. Nasar has over 100 videos on YouTube and runs a blog at RealEstateDoru.com.


  1. Curt Smith

    listsource.com does NOT have a filter for any of these special cases that I’m aware of and I’ve dug through their filters extensively.

    – evictions. Might be on line for your counties superior court. You might have to go in person. It’s actually better if you have to go in. This cuts out out of towners buying the same list.

    – delinquent taxes. Some counties like in FL put this info up on their website. Call / ask your counties tax commissioners office.

    – vacant, I only know of one source, Kent Clothier’s findmotivatedsellersnow.com. Subscription. I bought a lifetime sub. These sellers still don’;t have enough stress to be highly motivated as a rule. All want zestimate. So you have to make a large mailing and sort through alot of zestimate tire kickers.

    – divorce. Check your superior court docket. Or go in and see if you can get these folks. You may have to do a missing persons search on their names since address may be scrubbed off. TBD.

    I only have experience with the vacant list. Not motivated enough is my expereience.

  2. I’ve been using Rebo Gateway to get my marketing lists and I’ve been having some great success. There is a cool strategy I’ve been using.

    Right now I am using a service that allows me to set up a campaign for instance I can send a series of custom personal cards, and post cards to my list. I set it up once and usually by the 3rd or fourth card I either get a hate call… LOL or a really really good lead.

    I don’t mind the hate calls. You kind of have to get over them.

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