There are a lot of different marketing strategies for your real estate business and if they are done properly and consistently, for the most part they all work. Those two words “properly and consistently” are the keys to success.
If you want to market to absentee owners and your strategy is to drive around and look for vacant houses, will you find any absentee owners? Possibly. But that is definitely not the best way to find them. The only surefire way I know of to successfully market to absentee owners, is through direct mail campaigns. They are very effective at bringing you those types of leads.
Where do I get a list of absentee owners?
There are a number of services you can subscribe to that will sell you a list of absentee owners for a fee. I have found these lists to be “OK”. For the most part they will be pretty accurate, but you have to get used to the fact that there will be some inaccuracies. You can also get a list of absentee owners from your local tax assessor’s site. When I was using them for my list I found their information to be very accurate. The problem with their list was that the only filter I could use was zip codes. I could omit certain zip codes, but there was no other way to filter the list.
The good thing about most of the major list services is that you can set up certain parameters. For instance, you can omit certain zip codes, and you can put in that you only want homes of a certain value. This helps you to narrow your list down to homes that fit your profile; the homes that you would likely be interested in buying. For me that was always bread and butter types of homes. When I get a list I always leave out areas that are bad or are considered to be war zones. I also leave out areas that contain higher priced homes. Homes that are near or somewhat below the median price for my area are the best leads for me.
What is the number one rule for direct mail campaigns?
Once you have your list of names, you need to set up a direct mail campaign. The important thing to remember about direct mail is that you need to mail to these folks consistently for a long period of time. You can do the mailings yourself or have them done by a mailing service, but I think most folks initially do the mailings themselves.
I have just one rule when it comes to direct mail campaigns. I mail to these folks until I buy the house, someone else buys the house, or they ask me to stop mailing to them (which almost never happens). The only other time I take these absentee owners off my list is if I have spoken with them and there is some reason I’m certain I cannot buy the house. The property may be 100% financed, or it may be in a family trust.
If I make an offer on the house and they don’t accept my offer that just means that they are saying no at this time. It doesn’t mean they won’t say yes at some future date. I always keep these folks on my list and continue mailing to them. In fact, I tell them that I am going to keep them on the list in the event that something changes.
Direct mail campaigns to absentee owners will bring you consistent leads for your business if done properly. Next time I will talk about setting up a direct mail campaign.