Post Cards, Yellow Letters, Zip Letters...What's the best strategy?

11 Replies


Happy New Year everyone!

I am looking to start wholesaling / flipping houses in Los Angeles County. What is the best strategy for someone new to start with the "mailing pieces": Post Cards, Yellow Letters, Zip Letters...? How often should the same homeowner be mailed to? Which home owners should be targeted on the mailing list? Absentee owners, owner occupied...?

I appreciate any insight from the experts in the field and wish all a very prosperous 2015!



Direct mail is all about the 3 "M": Message, market medium. Not every delivery vehicle (mail piece) is going to encourage a response from a recipient. That is why advise everyone to mail to one list 6 different times (on average it takes a 2-6 touches to make a recipient want to respond) using a different vehicle.

In setting up your campaign the best thing to do is set up a monthly mail budget and stick to it. Once you close a deal, take 25% and invest it back into marketing.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is your list (MARKET). I'd avoid the absentee owners. They are getting marketed to like crazy and we are seeing dismal results (especially in LA). Here are the list we use in our business with a lot of success. Pick three and test them. 

1. Probate- get from county or state (just google what court handles these cases and call to find out)

2. Evictions

3. 2 or more years late on taxes, then run it through my software to find the vacants. Find who handles your the taxes and then file a Right To Know (if applicable)

4 60, 90 days late on mortgage

5. Notice of default (foreclosure).. constantly stay in their ear , from start to finish.

6. discharged/dismissed bankruptcy cases (get from pacer)

7.Tax lien sale- published in legal news papers when auctions come up

8. Divorce- get from court

9. 25+ years owned or more for owner occupants with equity (list-source)

10. Code Violations

11. Vacant properties (drive for dollars)

12. absentee owners 3-5 years owned (most landlords sale after the first 2 years, and with prices climbing its a perfect list)

13. inherited properties: some states do not require heirs to go through probate if the will was recorded prior to death. these properties are sold through under a special deed

14. Expired listings.

As for which one is better, that is a loaded questions. Like I said before you need to use a mixture of everything.

Here is my current mailing stats for probate:

Week 1: Yellow letter. On the first go around I average 12% using the short message. I get about 300 probate leads a month. 25-40 phone calls. But actually we only make offers on about 25-35% of them. 

Week6 (we only remove them unless we get a contract): Large handwritten postcard. 8% response rate.

Week 12: Profession letter 5% response

Week 18: Postcard Small: 2% response

Week 24: Yellow Letter Long (mention previous attempts) response

Week 30: Postcard

@Fred Halimi  

Happy new year Fred!  Try PropertyRadar

Especially if you're in LA, it allows you to run a list of out of state, free & clear, absentee owners that you can mail yellow letters to or some even have phone numbers. What's nice about it that these won't be on the MLS. It has video tutorials that you can follow on putting this list together. Listen to Mike Quarles' interview & his iTunes buy sell fix flip podcast - he's got great suggestions.

Great suggestions. 

The only form of communication, whether online or offline (letter, call, door knock) is what works best for you! 

More importantly, don't get too complicated at first. Just start. And be consistent.

Best marketing talk for real estate I ever heard is "Don't Get Voted a off Real Estate Island" by Mike Cantu. Disclosure: Mike is a close friend. 

Also, PropertyRadar is a no-brained for CA investors. Founder/CEO Sean O'Toole is another friend and in my little mastermind group. I'm fascinated at how much incredibly info I get from my subscription. Yes, I pay too.

please don't send just yellow letters    

Hi Michael,

I know the power of zip letters and post cards as follow up mailers, but I like to have the ability to send small quantities of yellow letters for new FSBO's and pre-foreclosures as they come up. That's why I am looking at Yellow Letter Generator. Do you know anything about this software?



@Rick H.  I've been wanting to check out Property Radar. I'm currently subscribed to Rebogateway. I don't know if you're familiar with that (?) but I'm curious to see the differences.

Both are good, however it comes down to personal preference. For me, PropertyRadar in an obvious choice.

@Fred Halimi  I wouldn't start  with any of those if I was you. Start by creating the best local real estate website in Los Angeles. Once this happens then start the online marketing so you can start gathering local leads online..this is the best way

@Fred Halimi  Let's connect and I'll be happy to share with you my first-hand knowledge of marketing and wholesaling.

The others have all covered it pretty well: don't get tied up on the medium. Focus on building a long-term plan which entails testing more than one type of list, hitting each list multiple times throughout the year, and using online channels (website / seo, PPC, FaceBook, etc) to generate leads.

Once you have leads coming in, then you need to focus on your sales ability to qualify, follow-up, and close them.

It's all very doable. You can do it!

This is very helpful information so thank you all. Question: How many letters/postcards should be sent out each week on a consistent basis?  Is there a minimum number to get results? 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here