I can still remember what it was like to get started in real estate. Every house that I got under contract — whether as an investment, wholesale deal or listing — felt like a hard-fought battle. Nothing ever seemed to come easy, and I continued to struggle through this for a while. After enough time, momentum was finally on my side, and things gradually became easier for me.
Looking back over old leads and marketing pieces, I can see that I was starting to generate residual leads. I was no longer having to struggle to find the next deal; I had finally reached a tipping point. What I did is develop a system that I use for all of my listings as a real estate agent and for flip leads.
Leverage Every House Like a Sponge
I like to think of every house as a sponge that I acquire — I try to squeeze as many leads and as much marketing out of the house as possible. To do this I run the “sponge” through a pressing machine that has several steps. By systematically going through every step for all of my properties, I know they will generate as many leads as possible on the back end — more sellers, buyers and possibilities to flip houses.
For every house that I acquire as a real estate agent or for a flip, I have professional photos taken. There are many benefits to this: They help the houses sell faster and appraise for more money (true story; I have several colleagues that are appraisers and underwriters).
But that’s not the main benefit of photography I am going to focus on for this article. When I have professional photographs taken of my listings, this helps me generate additional seller leads. As I am sure you guys know by now, most buyers/sellers are looking online for homes these days. And you would be surprised how many people continue to use crappy cell phone pictures. It’s surprisingly easy to stand out in a good way. When they see all of your listings are professionally photographed, you will generate listing leads that way. You will be seen as the expert that others want to do business with.
Photos are great, don’t get me wrong, but if you really want to start building a market presence, I would suggest you start to incorporate video for all of your listings or flips. You can set up a free video channel on YouTube, and before long you will have an entire playlist of videos featuring listings and/or homes you have flipped.
These will exist on the internet forever (or until you take them down), and it’s a great way to passively bring in new leads. As your channel becomes larger, Google will naturally start to rank your individual videos within Google search results themselves and within YouTube (the sidebar recommended videos area). After all, video is only becoming more and more important, and YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world right behind Google. For the video on the intro and outro, I recommend quickly showing your contact information so they know where to find you.
If you are a real estate investor, do a before/after transformations of houses. You can even include client testimonials. If you are a real estate agent, video can be a very powerful tool to get prospective buyers interested in viewing the property after you have already primed them with pictures. As they say, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then video must be worth 10,000. Not only that, but few people are doing this right now — get started now while your competition isn’t.
Just Listed/Sold Announcement
Here is the next stage in the sponge-press machine. Whenever I pick up a new listing or sell a house, I send a postcard to every house within the subdivision. It’s cheap and easy to do. I recommend using every door direct with the USPS. I find these sort of “announcement” mailing pieces convert better and lead to better results more consistently. I feel the reason for this is it’s not such a cold touch.
Sure, you could carpet bomb a neighborhood saying you are with XYZ Realty, but they convert much better when you have something to say about a house in THEIR neighborhood (just listed/sold right around the corner). And this really works in tandem with and compliments the next strategy.
This is an old method — and an obvious one — but as you gain more momentum and start to specialize in certain areas and neighborhoods, having multiple signs out in the same subdivision and/or street just makes it obvious that you are the go-to expert in that area. This holds true even more so if you are incorporating the above mail strategy — they will see your name and message everywhere in their neighborhood.
Door to Door
This is not something that I do much anymore, but I used to go door to door in the neighborhood to introduce myself and let people know about the house down the street for sale. I would just politely ask them if they might know anyone who’d be interested in moving into the area. Most of the time they would say no, but that was not my end game. Before leaving I would be invite them to the open house on “X” day coming up. Most of the time if I was able to talk to someone at the door, I would see them at the open house. It’s a great place to follow up with them and give them some business cards. These could potentially be listing leads later. Plus, when they see you working doors like this, they are going to remember that when they want to choose an agent later.
I give you these tips because I can remember just like it was yesterday when every single house felt like a battle to acquire. This is no longer the case, but these lessons have served me well. These tips can be applicable as an investor or agent; just twist them a bit to fit your needs. Either way, the key is to start leveraging every house you have to its maximum potential. All of these tools used together can help keep your lead pipelines full as an agent with buyers and sellers or help find you additional rehab opportunities.
How do you squeeze new leads out of existing deals?
Let me know with a comment!