Direct mail is one of the best ways to buy houses, if not THE best way.
We all have our lists and the same sellers are getting bombarded over and over (absentee owners, free and clear, probate, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy). The key to direct mail success is standing out from your competition and not sending the typical boring “we buy houses” piece. The best way to stand out and get your seller’s attention is by using a “grabber”.
A grabber is an object which is included with your letter or which is attached to the top of your letter. The best grabber to use is the good ole’ one dollar bill (not a fake one, not monopoly money, a real dollar you cheapskate). This takes guts and most people will not do it, and this is the reason you will stand out and make so much more money than the “average” investor. So take a dollar bill and paperclip it to the top of your letter. Then start the letter with the following sentences:
“Mr. Seller, as you can see I have attached a crisp one dollar bill to the top of this letter. I have done this for two important reasons. First, I have something very important to tell you and I needed a way to get your attention. Second, I want to show you how you can save 29,000 more of those dollars.” (Then go on in the letter about how you are not a Realtor and don’t charge any fees or commissions and can save them $29,000 when they sell their house to you, or whatever the true number is.)
The funny thing is, I still know most folks will never do this…let’s say you stuff and send your own direct mail. You send out 1,000 letters a month for a cost of around $450. You get a typical 2-4% response and it takes you four months to buy a house this way. Or, you decide to play with the big boys and you mail out 1,000 letters with a dollar bill attached to the top, for a cost of $1,450. And, you get a 5%…10%…even 20% response rate and get a $30,000 deal off of your first mailing. Which one makes more sense?
Also, since you are mailing letters with a real one dollar bill you need to make sure your envelope gets opened. Use a regular number 10 white envelope, hand write both the mailing address and return address in blue ink (if you use labels you might as well throw your letters in the trash, so the sellers don’t have to), and use a commemorative live stamp.
For all of you investors who have the guts and courage to send out the dollar bill letter I would love to hear about your results and how much money you made.