As a Real Estate Investor you know that there are two key areas of activity that feed the most into your success: 1) being able to negotiate the deal; and 2) lead generation. Let’s face it, you could be the best negotiator but without lead generation you’re out of business. Heck, if you were only a mediocre negotiator but had tons of leads, you’d likely still be a success. So, with that in mind, we are spending a little time here going over many methods of lead generation to help you fill up the top of your lead funnel. We’ll start out with the least expensive methods of lead generation and close with the most expensive. All of these methods can provide leads for your business so don’t avoid the inexpensive ones because you think they don’t work as well as the expensive methods. And don’t avoid the more expensive methods if you can afford even a little bit of them.
#1 Free online ads – There are lots of web based platforms where you can advertise your “We Buy Houses” business. Many of them are FREE! What you need to do is create your ad with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If your ad looks just like every other bloke’s ad you’re less likely to catch the seller’s eye. Think about it. If you say something like “I buy houses, any condition”; or “I buy houses, FAST”, you’re more likely to get a seller’s attention than if you just “BUY HOUSES”. Get creative and think up your own USP. Then, test your ads. Create a few of them because you will need to cycle them regularly anyway to make sure your ads stay fresh and hopefully find their way to the top of the list (that’s what CraigsList does with fresh ads – the older an ad gets, the further towards the bottom it falls). Click here to see a list of a few sites that accept FREE ads.
#2 Driving for Dollars – Ever go out for a peaceful drive around town just to get out and breathe in some fresh air? Well, next time you’re out for a relaxing drive, put your time to work by looking for houses with FSBO signs on the front lawn or for houses that look in distress or vacant. When you see one, take a picture and record the address of the house. You can use an app to do the recording for you with ease. PinBox or SimpleCrew are examples of apps that can make this task easier. Once you have the info, put the lead into your workflow. Maybe you have a VA calling the FSBOs or maybe you have an Acquisitionist who makes calls to potential sellers. DELEGATE, the work if you can. For the distressed or vacant houses, you will have to do a skip trace to find out who the owner is and to get their address or phone number. Maybe you can have someone do the research for you but you could always just pay the ten bucks for a professional to do the skip tracing. www.findtheseller.com is one website you might use to get the info you need.
#3 FSBOs (For Sale By Owner) – Here’s a lead source that is probably the most obvious to most real estate investors. THAT can be a slight problem because as soon as a seller places an ad on a FSBO website, they get lots and lots of phone calls. They sometimes get so many calls that they might not even answer the phone. You can subscribe to a lot of FSBO email lists, some for free and some for a monthly subscription. You could sign up for a Zillow account and set up an automatic daily email that notifies you as soon as a new FSBO is posted. www.myplusleads.com is one such website where you can subscribe to a daily email with FSBO leads. There are many others so check out a few and decide which one is best for you.
#4 Bandit Signs – You’ve seen them all over, the “We Buy Houses for CASH!” signs. Those bright yellow, 18″x24″ signs on wire frames or even nailed to utility poles and trees. I know, they look real silly and who could imagine anybody would sell their house to someone who puts out silly signs like this? Well, THEY WORK! Plus, they’re pretty cheap. You can buy the signs plus the H-frame wires for between $3.00 and $3.50 each. Buy a hundred and put them out in places where they are visible to people walking or driving by. Just be careful where you put them because there are all sorts of sign laws in most municipal jurisdictions throughout the United States. You can have the signs printed professionally for you or you can buy the sign stock and make them yourself. Check out this page for resources to buy signs and sign materials, and even a few sample signs for your consideration. Also be aware that there are four types of people that remove your signs:
- The municipality “official” sign police – this would be the highway department, zoning department, or other official in the jurisdiction who enforces the local sign laws. Beware of local sign laws and do your best top obey them. That way, your signs will stay up longer.
- Maintenance crews – at places like at the end of highway off-ramps, maintenance crews cut grass and do other such maintenance. These people really have little choice but to remove your signs so they can cut the grass. Place your signs where the grass was recently cut so they last longer.
- Competitors – sometimes your competitors are feeling insecure about their own ability to find properties for their business so they feel compelled to thwart your marketing campaigns. Yeah, they remove your signs and put theirs in place. Sometimes they even pay a runner to go around and pull competitors’ signs! We think this is not necessary because there typically are plenty of leads to go around for everyone.
- The unofficial “sign police” – these are the “good deed doers” who feel it is their own responsibility to stop you from “polluting” the environment. They may be walking their dog or just out for an afternoon stroll and they feel compelled to do their civic duty to clean up the environment. What a sorry lot this is! Get a life! We’re just trying to make an honest living. However, don’t overdo it with your sign campaign. Don’t plaster any one town or street corner with so many signs that even a sign maker gets eye sore!
#5 Yellow Letter or Other Mailing Campaign – Every homeowner in America has received those strange handwritten envelopes in the mail that look like they were sent by someone who knows you. They’ve also received lots of postcards from investors or Realtors asking if they will sell their house. These mailing campaigns can be somewhat expensive but, depending on how you structure your mailing list, and how you design your mailer, you can bring in a higher quality lead using this method. There are a few online services that provide a combination of list development and mailing services. You can get a good service that provides the list generation, low-cost mailing campaigns, and even a skip trace system to get valid phone numbers for homeowners. Check out www.ronsdealfinder.com and see for yourself what is offered there. If you want to generate your own yellow letters, feel free to use the resources here to do that.