How effective is your marketing? Whether buying, selling, or investing in real estate, marketing is essential to your success. People must know what you do.
As an investor, the key fundamental element in the first level of your real estate investing business is creating systematic and consistent lead generation. If you are not focused on lead generation, you do not have a business, you have a hobby or a dream.
Your commitment to marketing is critical. There are many different ways to create leads and here are about 100: (I originally posted this May 8, 2010, but it’s so important that I’ve moved it to the top of my blog posts once again.)
Accountants and CPA Firms:
- They have clients with financial problems where an investor can be of help.
Advertising: Never stop. Use simple ads with a USP, Unique Selling Proposition: Quick Closing, All Cash, As-Is, etc., Newspapers, Flyers.
Attorneys: Attorneys know when people need money, often to pay their attorney fees! Not just probate but divorce, family law and real estate attorneys.
Auctions: Do your homework in advance. Auctions move very fast and a single mistake can be costly. Visit your local auction a few times to just observe. Know values and repair costs before bidding.
- Foreclosure Auctions: Very risky – not for the newbie
- Sheriff Sales: Same as Foreclosure
- IRS Sales
Apparel with Logos: Hats, T-Shirts, Golf Shirts, Hand Bags – get them and wear them!
Appraisers: Often know what is, or is going to be, for sale
Bandit Signs: Check your local sign ordinances. Some places have no issue with them, others do.
- We Buy Houses
- Stop Foreclosure
Bird Dogs: These people can be very valuable to your business. It is important to know your local laws about compensating unlicensed people.
“Blue Tarp” Houses: often blue tarps on roofs indicate owner can’t afford to repair.
Boarded up windows: or other visible disrepair.
Business Cards: different types – one for seller, one for buyers, one for professionals (banker, attorney, CPA)
Builders Models: Frequently builders will sell a model home at a discount.
Building Inspectors: another group who knows what’s going on with local housing.
Car & Truck Loans: Some folks would rather keep the wheels than a roof over their head. Buy here, pay here dealers can be a good lead source.
Car Repos: If the car is going the house isn’t far behind.
Carpet Cleaners: Many of their customers are preparing a house for sale.
Charitable Groups: Frequently receive gifts of real estate, but they’d rather have the cash.
City & County Inspectors: Code violations and red tags. If you develop a reputation of buying distressed properties and improving them, you become an asset to the community.
- For Sale: Look for Key Words – transferred, motivated, divorce, owner financing
- Want to Buy
- For Rent by Owner: Look for burned-out landlords
Condemned Houses: Many counties will provide you a free list.
Consumer Loan Companies: When their loans go bad they are frequently willing to deal rather than foreclose.
Courts: Eviction Filings, Probate Court, Divorce Cases, Tax Liens, Code Violations.
Credit Repair Agencies & Counselors: Many times the only way someone can get their spending under control is to sell a house they can no longer afford.
Direct Mail: Pre-Foreclosure Letters, Probate Letters, Out of Town Owners, Post Cards, Bankruptcies, Divorce, Delinquent Taxes, Military Owners.
Door Hangers: You can also use pre-printed post-it notes to leave messages at your target properties. Be sure to advertise on both sides, you can even sell the back side and recover your advertising cost!
Door Knocking: Distribute flyers and go door-to-door asking residents if they know of anyone planning to move because you’d like to buy a house in their neighborhood.
Drive or walk Neighborhoods: Get to know them well and take notice of changes.
Estate Sales – often the real estate will also be available and perhaps with owner financing.
Eviction Court: great place to find landlords.
Expired Listings: Connect with an investor friendly Realtor.
Family Members: talk about what you do and ask for referrals.
Farming Local Areas: Become the local neighborhood expert.
Flyers: Cut your cost in half, print two to a page and distribute: Shopping Centers, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Malls. Put on car windshields or pay someone to do it for you.
Friends: “Do you know anyone who wants to sell?” Most people know 2 people who will be buying or selling a home this year.
FSBO Signs: call for sale by owners.
Funeral Homes: Can be a good lead source before information on a decedent becomes public.
Garage Sales: Are they moving?
Hair Salons: Lots of talking going on during hair cuts!
Home Builders: Need to sell their buyers’ houses so they can close on the new property.
Internet: Rent Clicks, EBay, Craigslist, Wholesale Sites, Lead Services, USLeaseOption.com
Insurance Brokers: Policy changes from owner occupant to landlord or vacant house coverage.
Investor Packages: Investor who’s ready to retire and cash out their portfolio. May be able to negotiate seller financing as well as a discount.
Judgments: Check the public record or hire someone to do it for you.
Large Employers: Let them know you buy properties so if they need to transfer an employee, they don’t get stuck carrying the house. This can be good for renting executive properties for short-term transferees, too.
Lenders: Banks / REO’s: – Mortgage Brokers, Private Lenders, Hard Money Lenders.
Liened Properties: Mechanics Liens, HOA Liens, Tax Liens.
Lis Pendens: Notice of a law suits, usually a foreclosure.
Lists: You can buy lists for anything you want to market to: pre-foreclosures, neighborhoods, properties with no mortgage, etc.
Magnetic Car Signs and Wraps: Check with your auto policy carrier as to whether or not this will affect your coverage. A rider may be required.
Market Bulletin Boards: Grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants.
Military Transfers: Military bases provide an excellent transient market for those needing to sell and buy off base housing.
Mobile Homes: Get to know park managers. Banks don’t like mobile homes but they can become little cash cows. A special license is required if you’re going to get into the mobile home business.
Moving Companies: often booked well in advance of a move.
Neighborhood Newsletters: advertise in and write articles for.
Networking: Other Investors, Call We Buy Houses ads & signs, Churches, Public Speaking, Investment Associations, Work, Clubs.
Newspaper Carriers: Who see the vacant houses everyday?
Nursing & Retirement Homes: Frequently residents need to sell a house.
Pens: Buy cheap ones and leave them everywhere you go.
Pet Odors: If your home has housed a number of pets, we may be the buyer for you.
Pizza Boxes: many sell advertising or sponsorship spots.
Postman: fabulous resource!
Public Speaking: Rotary, Lyons and Kiwanis Clubs, Realtor meetings and other associations.
Quit Claim Deeds: Are a sign that something has changed with the property.
Radio Ads or Show
Real Estate Agents
Referrals: the best. Comes with instant credibility. Never stop asking.
Relocations: Usually need to sell quickly.
Rent Credit: Trade rent credit for a down payment.
Rental Agents & Property Managers: Let them know you want to buy and also find a local manager. You buy, they manage…win/win!!
Retirees: A growing population with free and clear homes. Excellent prospects for seller financing.
Section 8 Landlords: Each county maintains a list.
Social Media: Get your message out: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
Structural Damage: Once you know what you’re doing, you can buy at a rock bottom pricing.
Tax Deed Sale Properties: These do not come with title insurance so do your home work.
Tax Lien Certificate Properties
Termite & Pest Control Companies: Write a check and the termites die. Write another check and replace the damaged wood. May find great deals.
Title Companies: Not all transactions close like they are supposed to. Let the title companies know you can help in a pinch, for the right price.
Trading Up: Trade your newly renovated property at retail for a property down the block that you can buy wholesale. Try a sign that says “Will Take Your House In Trade”.
TV and Radio: Cable companies may have community service spots for free.
Vacant Properties – look for tall grass and neglected properties.
Web Sites: many list for sale and for sale by owner.
Wholesaler Lists: A good wholesaler can find you multiple properties.
Withdrawn MLS Listings: Easy to get from a friendly real estate agent.
As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to generate leads.
To start, pick ten ways for consistent lead generation and focus on those. In the beginning of our investing career, we walked neighborhoods with flyers and put magnetic signs on our cars. Why? Inexpensive and effective! Not glorious marketing techniques but we got leads and our very first seller called from our magnetic car signs while parked at a local grocery store.
The number one common element of real estate investing business failure is not treating it like a business. And, the most important step to establish in ANY new business is LEAD GENERATION. Without customers, there is no business.
Whether you’re looking for foreclosures, REO’s, owner-finance, HUD, wholesale, free & clear, rentals, fixer uppers, spread investing, etc., finding all revolves around having leads. Get busy and NEVER EVER stop marketing for leads!
Anything you’ve tried that’s not on my list?