Advice on building a mailing list

2 Replies

I drive for dollars on a regular basis.  I usually drive for about 3 hours each time I go out.  I find on average 5 houses in that time that actually look like a distressed home.  Which brings my first question, does the house have to be vacant in order for it to be a good prospect for mailing or just look distressed, period?  I want to send out large amounts of mail but how do I build a good mailing list?  I usually go on my county assessor page and go to a map view and click on every house on a street looking for the ones that are not owner occupied and mail them regardless of the condition of the house (because from the assessor page you usually cant tell the condition of the house).  I don't get many responses like this and most of the calls I do receive from this are just to inform me that they are not interested in a sale at this time.  Any advice on how to have a better idea on who to mail and even on who to cold call would be very much appreciated!  I understand that I'm going to get a lot of "no" going forward from prospective sellers, but I would like to know that I'm at least spending my time mailing the best possible prospects.  I thank you very much in advance for any answers or help!  

@Gregory Carter Hey Greg, one thing to keep in mind is that marketing is a numbers game; the more volume you 're targeting, the better chance you have to get motivated sellers that want to sell. However, I think some investors take this to the extreme and target any property owner without narrowing down their list. Driving for dollars can definitely get you some deals, but it will take you a long time to get a deal by only getting 5 properties a day. On average, it's taking me 63 leads in order to get a deal. This doesn't mean out of every 63 people that contact me, I'm closing a deal; this means it's taking me 63 people that raise their hand and say "yes", I want to sell to close a deal. The number of people that agree to my cash offer is few and far between. When it comes to direct mail, your response rates will be around .5-1%. This means if you were to mail 1,000 pieces, you can expect 5-10 sellers to call you. However, only a fraction of those will be somewhat interested in selling. 

I'm not saying all of this to discourage you but to make the point that you're going to have to get your numbers up to see a decent ROI. I've seen investors that have only targeted 100 properties through driving for dollars close a deal, but their mail piece was very unique and the houses they were targeting clearly had distress. I would aim for 20 properties a day and write each seller a yellow letter and place it in a colorful envelope with stickers on it. You want to do whatever you can to make your mail piece stand out because other investors are going to be mailing your sellers, too, because the seller is most likely on their mailing lists. Granted, a lot of investors use the same direct mail companies so their mail pieces will look the same. You have the opportunity to stand out by tweaking your envelope and handwriting your letter. I suggest targeting properties that look like they're distressed. If you see cars in the driveway and someone is living there, this can likely be a tenant that isn't taking care of the property.

If you want to build out a mailing list then check out This will save you so much time instead of manually compiling a list from the tax assessor site. You can filter your list to only target absentee homeowners, property owners that bought their houses before 1980 and also filter by equity.