I know that putting out bandit signs isn’t a fun activity. Although, I must say that every successful investor I know has gone through the experience of putting out bandit signs at 3am in the freezing cold.
I also know that addressing and stuffing several thousand envelopes a month isn’t much fun either. But again, it’s my #1 real estate marketing method, which has made me a small fortune. However, today I’m going to tell you another marketing method I use, which doesn’t require much effort and won’t cost you a dime.
In fact, when a new investor asks me for help and tells me they’re broke, this is exactly what I tell them to do. So what is it? It’s taking out your weekend newspaper and calling all of the “For rent” ads in the paper.
For instance, I live in Northern Virginia and get the Washington Post.
So when the weekend edition comes I’ll open it up and there are a ton of listings in the paper. I’ll obviously call the listings in the area I “farm.” Also, I will avoid the listings which have properties for rent for more than $1,500 a month. The reason being is because I know it will be much tougher for me to find a tenant/buyer in my area if I go beyond $1,500.
Also, I make sure and avoid any condos for rent and any two bedroom properties. In short, I’m looking for three-bedroom, two-bathroom single family houses and townhouses. Once I find a property that meets my criteria I simply pick up the phone and call them.
First off, I ask if the property is still available. Then I ask them to tell me all about it. Once the owner is done describing the property I ask them if they’d have any interest in letting me rent it, but also giving me the chance to buy the house down the line. (I don’t use the word lease option yet.)
If they say “no”…
Then I tell them I’m sorry for wasting their time because I’m looking for someone who’d be willing to sell the house down the line. Then I tell them I’ll call back in a month or so to see if the property is still vacant and if they perhaps have changed their mind. (Follow up is crucial in this business, you must always follow up.)
If the person says yes, then I ask them if they have any idea what they’d be willing to sell the house for. Of course, the conversation can go a million different ways, but I always want to make sure they’d be willing to sell and I always try to pin them down on sales price.
Now, depending on how motivated the seller seems, I’ll go right into my lease option pitch and tell them I’m a real estate investor who has families who are looking to rent to own. If they’re not super motivated then I’ll tell them I have to research their property a little more and then I’ll call them back the next day and go into the pitch having more information about the property.
Every time I have called these ads out of the newspaper I have always gotten leads. I haven’t always closed a deal from this, but I’ve always found motivated sellers and many potential deals. I realize if you’re brand new, this can be a little scary, which it why I would find a friend or another investor to partner up with and spend some time this weekend calling ads in the paper. (Also, scripts are very important for this marketing method so make sure you know how to properly pitch a lease option.)