Marketing your real estate business is vital to your success. If direct mail is one of your chosen strategies, there are some things that can really make or break you when it comes to success. Having a good list is one of those things.
You Must Have a Good List
It’s not good enough to have a bunch of people that are homeowners on your list. What if they are free and clear houses you might ask? Does owning a free and clear house make them a motivated seller? Not really.
I know there are folks out there that have used this list in the past with success. When home values were climbing every year, a lot of real estate investors would pay close to full price for a pretty house and then just put someone in it using a lease option and wait for the value to go up. You really can’t do that anymore because you don’t know if that house will be worth more or less this time next year.
Buying Your Investor Marketing List
There are a number of lists you can purchase from one of the list brokers. You can also set up parameters so that you only get very specific homeowners on your list. When you are purchasing a list, you have to be clear on exactly who you want on that list. In most cases, you can get pretty specific. For instance, if you were to order a list of absentee owners you could set up your criteria from the list broker like this.
I only want houses that:
- Have a value of $50,000- $200,000
- Have 50% equity or more
- Are not in these particular zip codes (list them)
If your list broker doesn’t have that last zip code parameter, once you get the list you can pull out the zip codes (bad areas and war zones) yourself. The numbers I have listed above will change depending on where you are located, but that is basically how you go about getting a very targeted list.
How Do I Choose A List That Is Likely To Have Motivated Sellers?
That’s easy for me. I like probates and absentee owners. I don’t have to purchase a list of probates, because they are listed in the newspaper here. But I know that they are available for purchase in some areas.
My probate list has a whole lot of people on it that have a house they are almost certainly going to sell. This is a house they have inherited and most likely don’t want. What do they want? They only want the CASH that is sitting in the house.
Does that mean that person on my list will be a motivated seller? Probably so, but they won’t necessarily want to take what an investor will offer for the house; at least not in the beginning. I bought several houses last year from folks that listed the property initially. But when it didn’t sell after a lengthy time, they eventually became very motivated sellers.
I love absentee owners. You can purchase a list of people that own property in your city, but live in another city. Having these folks on your list doesn’t mean they are all motivated TODAY. It does mean that if you keep mailing to them long enough there is a real good chance they will become motivated to sell at some point in time. Many of these absentee owners will go right along for a couple of years and everything will be fine. Then all at once, their tenant will do thousands of dollars in damage to the property, or it will be vandalized while it’s vacant, and suddenly they will be very motivated to sell.
Take some time and really think about exactly who you want to market to before you order a list or send out that first letter.
Photo: John Morgan