Exhausting Free Marketing

26 Replies

I know some of the best ways to market as a wholesaler have costs that may not be to significant relatively speaking, but I am in a position where I can't spent money on marketing just yet, at least not anything substantial. In the meantime I would like to try to use all of the free marketing tools that I can. Right now I'm using craigslist and Backpage to post daily ads to find sellers. I am also driving for dollars, and plan to start mailing to those homes this weekend (I can at least afford to pay some postage). 

What are some other options that are out there? How can I make even a $10 a month budget work?

Stop driving for dollars, you can find distressed properties at the building regulations office, notices of violations.

You need to learn how to use the county courthouse and city offices to find properties and distressed property owners, you can get their name and address right there. Seeing a house driving around tells you nothing!

Have you ever checked divorce filings? Marriage announcements? Birth announcements? Bankruptcy filings? New business licenses? Death announcements?

There is more information in a courthouse than you could ever need to find distressed properties and property owners.

I'll also mention as a newbie wholesaler with no money, you need to stay away from those in foreclosure, that's a mine field of trouble with federal laws having teeth.

If people live in a place, you need to have a good idea of who the buyers are first before you go sing you song to a homeowner, if it's empty you'll have less issues and more time to go beat the bushes for a buyer. Forget what the guru books say, they don't give two hoots about you staying out of trouble. :)  

You could offer referral fees to bird dogs that find a deal for you that you end up closing. Or if you're bored, you could stand on a street corner with a we buy houses sign.

Originally posted by @Sebastian Gast :

You could offer referral fees to bird dogs that find a deal for you that you end up closing. Or if you're bored, you could stand on a street corner with a we buy houses sign.

 Walking on the wild side as a wholesaler has enough issues without paying birddogs a fee to facilitate a sale, need to form some service performed by your birddog to stay away from paying unlicensed folks. Can't really base that on closings unless they are in some partnership arrangement, not sure if the OP is ready to go there yet. :)

To add to @Bill Gulley   list eviction filings are a great place to find burnt out landlords.

Looks like you just have to pick up the phone and start dialing for dollars.

@Bobby Valcin  I disagree with @Bill G. if you are new to the business driving for dollars is a great way to learn the ropes. Keep a list of vacant properties then when you get home cross check them with the county assessors office. Most will be foreclosures a few out of state owners, that's is what you want.

@Bill Gulley  Thanks for all the advice. I think you are right. The county offices can be great resource. Does if vary by county whether or not some of those things are available online? The reason why I ask is I am at work during regular business hours, so it would be difficult to go there with any kind of regularity.

@Manny Cirino  I agree with you as far as driving for dollars is concerned. I would probably still try to incorporate that into my strategy as well, but it may be better for me to focus more time on some of those lists. That is assuming the lists aren't too outdated.

@Chris C.  Is that a list that is available at a county office?

@Bobby Valcin  Not sure about your area in Florida but in my County in SC I can find it online.  Fairly simple search.  If you are not already familiar with your local government websites you need to be.  Get on there and starting making yourself familiar with what all is available.  You will be quite surprised what you can access from your desk chair.

Originally posted by @Bobby Valcin :

@Bill G. Thanks for all the advice. I think you are right. The county offices can be great resource. Does if vary by county whether or not some of those things are available online? The reason why I ask is I am at work during regular business hours, so it would be difficult to go there with any kind of regularity.

Check and see!

that was awesome, thank you Bill! i'm going to country recorders office right now

I was going before for nods but realized the whole world was marketing to that list but more importantly people tend to find out ways to sit in there house as long as possible

 will post what I found out afterwards here to share

Bill G.

What codes do you usually look for?

'Originally posted by @Rene Martinez :

Bill G.

What codes do you usually look for?

What do you mean "codes" ?

  $10 of duct tape...  best $10 I have ever spent.

I have done tv ads, radio, print (magazines as well as newspaper) facebook ads with targeted ads (2nd best place to spend marketing dollars) use facebook power editor and know the demographics your aiming for...  But dollar for dollar you will get the biggest boom from creativity not cash. 

Bill G.

You said to go down to the city/county courthouse and look up code violations right? Well my question is, do you look for specific code violations?

Usually, easier ones to fix are better, don't ya think? Any violation gives an indication that the owners isn't paying attention. Major violations can snowball, just look at each on its own merits. :) 

Bill G.

Great advice thanks!

@Bobby Valcin  , you already received great responses.

Is the $10/month budget enough for gas? Maybe for 1 day (say on the weekend, when there is no traffic) it might take you to a certain point and back. 

You can also leave home an extra hour or so before work to scout the neighbourhoods (between home and work). HOWEVER, please forgive me if I am being ignorant of what's going on in Florida. I am thinking that driving for dollars (in Florida) you should take into account YOUR safety (considering the stand your ground law, being mistaken for a stalker, burglar, etc)!

That $10/month budget might be better spent on stamps/mailing a few letters/month, after you do your due diligence @ the court house/online. 

@Nicholas Miller I love what you did with the van,$10 of tape and a few minutes and the ROI on that is ridiculous! Most people forget to treat this like any other business and you aim to decrease expenses while increasing the return and that was effective and in the pic looks great. My only concern is does it look pretty decent in person or kind of cheap though?

@Bobby Valcin   Driving for dollars can be great but I would have to agree with @Bill G. on this one. If you choose to do it though be smart about it and do not do it to often. I speak from experience that with a small budget it may seem like a cheap way of finding properties but the amount of gas you burn with these prices is crazy. When I started I would drive for dollars like crazy and loved doing it. I mean being in the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, talking to people is fun and you get a lot of experience dealing with people talking about what you do. However, I burnt through my funds very quickly in gas money when it could have been spent more wisely in other areas doing marketing to get my phone ringing. If there is a way to get some of the same info sitting at home for free it would be wise to do so. Although there are benefits from driving for dollars be smart so you do not kill your bank account from gas. 

@Gary Alford It looks even worse in person...  The market is saturated with professional ads that look normal and don't attract any attention.  This bad boy looks worse the closer you get to it and the funny thing is that it actually makes the phone ring!  The phone number is tracked as is the url so the effectiveness of the campaign is truly gaugeable (Google voice and google analytics).

If your not comfortable with ugly marketing I would highly recommend coming up with ways to stand out from the normal crowd... At the first REIA meeting I went to I taped 10% off lowes coupons to my business cards (back in the day you could get them from the post office but they have kinda killed that loophole), today at a REIA someone had stapled business cards to a pair of new gloves,

The goal is to make your message memorable… Here is a photo from a promotion I did last year… I went around to several bank locations and pulled $3,000 in one dollar bills… This photo was taken just over the halfway point. Anyway, the goal was to visually show the dollar effectiveness of a mailing campaign vs a targeted facebook ad campaign. To reach out to 3,000 people using a mailer at $1 per contact it would cost $3,000. To run a facebook ad campaign using power editor the price to reach out to the same list of 3,000 people (assuming they use facebook and assuming you had their email) would be right around $30. The presentation was fantastic but I wasn’t happy with my business model so I scrapped the idea. But none the less the campaign looked EXPENSIVE!  To the untrained eye it literally looked like a million bucks.  But in all reality it didn’t cost a penny… After the presentation I would take the money back to the bank and deposit it.. No fees, no questions asked.

@Nicholas Miller  That is a great use of $10, and you are correct. Creativity pays off. I have great difficulty making the effort to come up with ideas on my own. I feel like I don't have time to even think in this season of my life, but that is an excuse. I am able to recognize good ideas like yours though.

@Chris C.  Thanks.

@Belinda D.  That law wouldn't apply to someone knocking on your door though. I would have to actually be threatening someones life for that law to apply. 

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