If you’re going to make a lot of money for a long time through real estate investing, there’s just no way around it. You need to master marketing. The best techniques will work to consistently and magnetically attract motivated sellers to you.
Understand This: If you don’t have a consistent stream of motivated sellers calling you every week, then you don’t have much of a real estate investing business at all, do you?
Many of these techniques are free and you should at least begin with these immediately. All of these techniques work to bring sellers to you. As you master your marketing campaigns and generate a lot of money from deals, you can outsource these tasks to let your leads come to you on autopilot.
- Expired/Expiring M.L.S. Listings
When listings expire on the MLS, you’re going to see a whole lot of the good, the bad, the ugly and oh yeah, the really ugly. However, scattered through those listings will be some quality deals and some sellers who are motivated enough to work with you. A good realtor will provide these to you if you offer a fee per property you close on.
$0 Up front, $500 per closed deal.
- Online Classified Sites
There’s really two different ways you can use online classified ads to generate your leads. You can post your “We buy houses” ad amongst the homes for sale. However, you will have to be diligent in reposting it as it will get taken down consistently and often. Alternately, you can just copy and paste multiple sellers’ emails and send them the same “We buy houses” or “We do short sales” email. Use the “bcc” (blind carbon copy) line for inputting the email addresses so that sellers don’t see just how many people you’re really sending your ad to.
- Business Cards
You should use every available opportunity to pass out your “We buy houses” business card. It works a lot like a fridge magnet in that, until your fridge is broke, you don’t call. When they need to sell their house, they’ll call you which may not be for months later. People know people and business cards are a great way to network. Hand them out at the grocery store, Starbucks and all the other places you visit. Simply ask that person about their job and when they return the question, hand out a business card with it.
The single best person to give your business card to is the mailman who will see many vacant houses on his or her travels which usually translates to a motivated seller. Do all the mail carriers in your city have your business card? Why not?
If you shop around, business cards will cost you less than $20 and they are well worth the investment.
- Classified Ads in the Freebie Newspapers
A lot of motivated sellers need to pinch pennies at every corner. One of the great ways to reach them is with an ad next to where they will be clipping coupons from the freebie marketing newspapers.
$50-500/edition but it will vary depending on your local area.
- Classified Ads in the Mainstream Newspaper
It’s been my personal experience that sellers don’t tend to view the “real estate wanted” section and so if you can convince the newspaper, you should get your “we buy houses” ad in amongst the FSBO listings. It works because they always open it to try and see their own ad and in searching through to find it, they’ll often find you in that search. If you can’t get them to put your ad in that section, the “money to lend” is another great section motivated sellers will use. Often, their first consideration is to try and refinance even if it is not possible.
$100-2500/month depending on your local area.
- Mortgage Brokers
There are tons of motivated sellers who are overleveraged calling mortgage brokers all day every day. Especially, if you do short sales, these are a great group of people to network with. There will be some rapport building required but it will be well worth your initial efforts. They may not turn over the sellers to you directly but if they advise your clients about your services and provide your contact information for you, that’s just as good.
– Either you can pay them $500/deal you close
– Alternately, I recommend you simply offer that either you or your end investor will use them to obtain a mortgage when buying the short sale so that they will make their commission from that seller. In which case, the approximate cost is $0.
You want sellers to call you without you actively pursuing them at every corner. Without a means of doing that, you won’t get paid. You should take advantage of every opportunity to post up an ad with pull off tabs. Make sure to take off 2 or 3 so it seems as if people are already calling you. It has a profound psychological effect when they don’t think they are the first person. Include your contact number on the main ad too in case all the tabs get taken. Ask around and see who will let you put these up. Make sure to target these places.
– Unemployment office
– Grocery store bulletin boards
– County courthouse bulletin board
– Convenience stores
– Factory bulletin boards (this works in my area but may not be an option in your area)
$10-20 depending on just how many you photocopy or print.
- Bandit Signs
There’s a consensus with many investors that you need to spend a lot of money having a sign complete with a pole and official looking information. I don’t necessarily agree with that. We’re bombarded with so much traditional advertising that you always notice those “yard sale” signs because they’re different. That’s why our bandit signs intend to accomplish the same thing. Tape a bright color paper sign to a pole or tree at a busy intersection with “We buy houses” and your number, that’s it. What most yard sale signs don’t get is that your sign must be visible from the road so make sure it’s legible from at least 100 feet away.
- Direct Mail
Take the time to head down to the county courthouse and get a “lis pendens” list. If you can get a probate listing, that is an asset as well. Ask around at your county courthouse because they are both real estate investing goldmines.
Some investors believe that you should send postcards and other investors believe that you should include a void check visible through your envelope. I believe that your ad just has to be different. We get so much junk mail that either postcards, visible void checks or handwritten (and then photocopied) letters will work. The bottom line is that it must get opened and it needs to be different from every day junk mail to have that accomplished.
– $0.50-$1.50/mailout depending on type and quantity sent
– Search the people on that list using the online phone book and call them for free.
- Calling FSBOs
I’m amazed still at how many investors are either afraid or don’t see the value in calling FSBO ads. I was able to do over 40 short sales in just over 3 months from simply spending a few hours every day calling FSBO ads. Before I knew anything about creative marketing and having your business run on autopilot, I knew how to get leads for free using this method. It really works.
Can you pick out the motivated sellers on the phone?
In all these cases, you’re going to need to determine just which sellers are actually motivated. You should say something like:
“Mr./Mrs. Seller, I’m calling about your property on 123 ABC Road. Can you tell me a little about the property?”
[Seller talks and you just be quiet and listen]
“Mr./Mrs. Seller, it seems like a nice place. How come you’re selling it?”
Unclear answer = Ask again another way. “Mr./Mrs. Seller, and what are you planning on doing if it doesn’t sell?”
Unmotivated answer = “Ok well that’s not what I do. I buy properties from owners who really need to sell and I help them out of those tough situations. If you find yourself in that situation in a few months, don’t forget to call me back. Thanks for your time. Bye.”
Motivated answer = Schedule appointment and close when you meet them. Get paid and do this all over again.
If you don’t have motivated sellers calling you consistently, your journey as an investor will be tough irrespective of how well you know your techniques. Real estate investing will make you rich if motivated sellers are calling you off the hook. The choice to build the strategic marketing campaigns that will make that happen is up to you.