Who doesn’t want to own real estate? Well, I certainly can’t imagine not owning any. But,when you decide to purchase a property, how do you find one to buy? And, if you really want to get into real estate investing, how do you get your phone to ring with sellers calling you (which, by the way, is much easier and more effective than you calling them) and, how do you get the phone to ring without spending much money?
We get a lot of students asking us just this and, with their help, we have created a list of some successful yet inexpensive ways to get prospective sellers to call. If you find that you have more time than money to invest in your marketing, some of these suggestions may be just the answer you’re looking for!
Ten Inexpensive Marketing Ideas
- Post-it notes – about $200 for 4000 printed at Office Depot. Stick these yellow notes on the front door where they look like a UPS notice. They have your company name, all of your contact information, and the message you want to leave with the homeowner. Putting out 100-150 takes about 1-1.5 hours. Do that 2-3 times per week and, before you know it, you have 800-1000 pieces of advertisement out in your target market areas.
- Post your “I Buy Houses” message on Craigslist. It’s free, but you’ll need to repost often as the ads on Craigslist fall off the first page quickly (more quickly in some locations than in others. FREE
- Thrifty Nickel – Check out your local Thrifty Nickel newspaper. Ours is called American Classifieds. Consumers pick them up for free and you can place ads very inexpensively. When starting out, I ran a 3 line ad for $256 for a year (and got a lot of calls).
- Neighborhood newsletters – Always looking for ads and articles to fill their space. Creating a newsletter can be exhausting so offer to help by writing articles or placing an ad for your company in the newsletter. Oftentimes FREE
- Business Cards – Put them out and hand them out everywhere. You can attach them to bulletin boards in coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. Many advertising spaces allow you to run your business card sized ad very inexpensively. Be sure your cards include all of your contact information: Your Name; Company Name; Email Address; Business Address; Phone Number; Website. VistaPrint.com offers FREE business cards. You pay only for shipping.
- Craigslist – Call for-sale-by-owners on Craiglist. No, they’re not calling you, but our group has had a lot of success buying at great discount and creatively by calling here. And, once again, it’s FREE.
- Mail – A first class (one once) letter mails for 46 cents and a postcard (4 ¼ x 6″) is 33 cents. How many can you mail out each month for $200? I prefer marketing that says something like, “We’re interested in buying a home in your neighborhood. If you know anyone who is thinking about selling, please give them this flyer or have them call us.” For more info, see What Exactly is a Direct Mail Campaign?
- Websites – You can easily create a marketing website that has all the information you want to share with potential sellers. Simply choose a template through WordPress.com and use the web address on all of your marketing. Anyone seeing your ads can go to the site and read more about you before making a call. Websites really ad to your credibility and the sites through WordPress are FREE.
- Tell Everyone – Be sure your co-workers and family know that you’re interested in buying properties. Word-of-mouth is a great source of potential deals. FREE
- Social Media – Post on Facebook and Twitter that you are an investor wanting to purchase single family homes in your particular market place. The more people who know you’re looking, the higher your likelihood of getting a referred lead. FREE
Some of us, especially when just starting out, have more time to spend than money. The above suggestions will help you get started with very little out of your pocket. Naturally, as your business grows and your returns come in, spending more on marketing will increase both the number and the quality of your calls.
One final thought. Need to market cheaply for buyers after you’ve purchased your property? Most properties sell/rent from the sign in the yard and marketing online with sites like Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow are all FREE. Can’t get any cheaper than that!
What can you add to the list?