Some Thoughts about Direct Mail and Real Estate Investing


Listen, I know it’s not “sexy” and not technologically advanced like the latest blog trick to get motivated seller leads, but in my opinion, direct mail is the #1 way to get deals and will probably stay that way for years to come. The main reason is because it’s not as “easy” as marketing on the internet, which is of course fine with me, because that means less competition in the mail boxes.

Plus, I don’t remember who said it, but there’s a quote that goes “if you want to be successful, watch what 95% of the people are doing and then do the exact opposite.” And we both know that 95% of people are looking for the trick to getting easy deals courtesy of the Internet.

However, if you go to your local REIA and talk to the super successful people (who often don’t gloat and remain under the radar) you’ll find the majority of them use direct mail. In fact, this is exactly what I did when I first started out in this business and most of them were using letters and postcards.

Over the years I’ve tried almost every piece of direct mail…

And when I look back at some of my early pieces they were absolutely awful. Thankfully I kept improving and figured out what works best.

So what did I find out?

Tips for Real Estate Direct Mail

Well… one of the best methods is the often talked about yellow letter. These almost always get high response rates and sellers will make such comments as “I can’t believe you took the time to personally write me…”

Another tactic that works well is the highly specialized letter. For example, you’ll farm a particular area and have a headline along the lines of “If you’re looking to sell your home in the Black Hills Subdivision I can save you over $22,000. Ask me how…” The letter continues on to say how you help people in that particular area sell their house in 11 days or less, etc. etc.”

Of course, my favorite…

Is the dollar bill letter where you attach a real dollar bill to the top of the letter and explain to the person how you’re a private investor who can save them a ton of money because you don’t charge any fees or commissions. (This one works like gangbusters, but most people don’t have the guts to use it.)

However, as I started out saying in this post, people want the “easy” way of marketing. And I don’t blame them. That’s why I hear of many investors who go out and hire letter shops to do their complete direct mail campaigns and mail out a few thousand letters a month.

This is not a good idea and I’ll tell you why. Yes, you should find a letter company to prepare your mailings and stuff them in the envelope and get everything ready for mailing. But you should never, ever have them mail the letters for you. Why not? Postage. Far too many letter shops will charge you for postage on letters they never mail, or they’ll send it metered mail instead of first class or any number of things.

I imagine it costs the investors who have everything completely done for them a small fortune and they have no idea about it. So, if you want the best method to get deals, I would use direct mail first and foremost. But whatever you do, make sure and apply your own stamps to your letters or pay a family member to do it for a couple of bucks , and then mail the letters yourself.

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. Awesome stuff Jason. I really like that $1 bill idea. I’m defiantly going to give that a shot.

    I have had much success with postcards to my driving for dollars and absentee owner campaigns. Any other target market needs to receive a letter in my opinion.

    Thanks Jason for another great blog post. I always look forward to them.

  2. Craig Callaghan on

    Great blog, Before the recession i did a bit of property investing abd the best way to find “Motivated sellers” is definatley direct mail. I had leaflets printed very cheap at a local printers and a lady down the street delivered them for me for 1pence (2 dollars) a leaflet.
    Cheap as chips!!

  3. Jason,

    Just wanted to thank you for posting on direct marketing. I just started it again and hope to see some results soon. I would love to hear more on your successes here and lessons learned. Keep up the quality posts.


  4. Was surprised to read that somebody still uses the post, not e-mail… Maybe it really worth a try, cause nowdays we get hundreds e-mail letters a week and very rare real letters. But the idea with a dollar-gift might also be made in e-mail, for example: if you the addressee answers your letter and sends his mobile fond you send him 1$ or more to the phone. Nice and easy 🙂

  5. Jason:

    I, too, prefer direct mail for my marketing. One of my favorites (and like you, I’ve done them all!) is postcards. What I prefer about post cards is that I don’t have to depend upon the receiver to open it; they see what it is the minute they take it out of the mailbox.

    For us, this has been tremendously successful.

    Thanks for your article and here’s wishing you continued success!

  6. I enjoyed this article very much. I think you’ve explained the whole “direct mail for real estate investors” situation quite well. So much so, that I’ve quoted some of your article (with due credit of course) on my company’s website. Thank you for putting this out there.

    – Dealbot –

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