35 Ways to Market for Sellers

35 Ways to Market for Sellers

What’s the best way to find people who are ready to sell their homes? Years ago, we would drive neighborhoods that we liked, seek out for For Sale By Owner signs, and call. We also walked neighborhoods putting flyers on mailboxes (which we stopped when we learned that’s illegal) and talked to neighbors – “Do you know anyone who might be planning to sell?”

These methods are very effective and certainly inexpensive – a good way to get started or to find your personal residence. But, they’re time consuming and not the best use of your time if you want to buy properties for an investment business.

Today, our favorite method is direct mail marketing. We target neighborhoods or zip codes we like and drill down to specific properties that we are interested in owning. For example, you might mail to single family homes, owner occupied, the specific price point you want to own, ten years old or newer, etc. That way, when someone calls about selling a home, you know it’s a house you’re interested in.

There are an almost unlimited number of ways to market for real estate deals. Different methods work better in some areas than in others. But, no matter what your market, the best method to use is a “layered” approach, more than one method at a time, so your message is seen at different times and in different ways. Most sellers need to hear your message at least four times before they will remember you and contact you back. They need to know you’re a legitimate and trustworthy entity.

Following are just a few marketing options:

  1. Newspaper:
    • Classified Ads – For Sale
    • Classified Ads – Want to Buy
    • Classified Ads – For Rent (sometimes landlords want to sell)
  2. Business Cards (hand them out to everyone)
  3. Flyers (to put out wherever you can)
  4. Market Bulletin Boards (post your flyers and/or business cards)
  5. Signs – (like “I Buy Houses”)
  6. Public Speaking (Rotary, Toastmaster, Lions Club, etc.)
  7. Networking (everywhere you go with everyone you meet!)
  8. Foreclosures – research at courthouse
  9. Real Estate Agents
  10. Post Cards (direct mail marketing)
  11. Radio Ads or Radio Show (hits a broad area)
  12. TV / Cable (can be VERY expensive and not very targeted)
  13. Pizza Boxes (place your ads on the lids)
  14. Banks and other Lenders
  15. Estate Sales
  16. Moving & Yard Sales (“have you sold your home?”)
  17. Vacant Properties (research and send letters)
  18. For Sale by Owner Signs
  19. Out of State Owners or Non-Owner Occupied homes
  20. Eviction Filings
  21. Burned-Out Landlords
  22. Probate Court
  23. Divorce Cases
  24. Tax Liens
  25. Internet Newsgroups
  26. Attorneys
  27. Auctions
  28. Home Builders
  29. “Blue Tarp” Houses (may mean they can’t afford the repairs)
  30. T-Shirts and Caps (to wear and to give out)
  31. Obituaries
  32. Car Signs (Magnetic Door Signs)
  33. Office Signage
  34. Auto Wrap
  35. Painted Signs on contractor Vans

Be creative!

Try different ones to determine which you like and which works best for you. What do you use?

This post has 15 Comments | Would you like to leave a comment?


  1. Hi Crystal:
    To begin with, you do not want to send letters about listing the property to non-owner occupied properties. You want to mail the letters to the owners, wherever they may live. Don’t mail to the property or the letter will be received by the tenant who cannot help you out!

    Simply write to the owners and say that you are interested in listing properties in the area and if, at any time, they would be interested in selling, please contact you.

    Hope this helps and let us know about your success!

  2. Does anyone have an effective letter to send out to non owner occupied properties in attempts to get listings? I’m new to Real Estate and would love any insight.
    Thank you!

  3. Hi Angelina:
    You can certainly do that if you have a property you’re interested in.

    You can also purchase lists of probate properties to mail to the heirs. Lists can be purchased from such sources as ListSource.com and PostCardMania who will also have postcards and letters available to mail for you.

    Thanks for asking!

  4. Hi Karen, What do you do with the obits? Look them up to see if they owned property via tax rolls and send a letter to the property address?

  5. Thanks Karen for the response! Funny enough, I live in the Snoqualmie valley and have been marketing quite a bit in Renton. So far I am staying away from Seattle, Bellevue, and Sammamish due to the high home values, low foreclosures, and high home turnover (traditional sales) in those areas, but those areas actually may be good ones. I am still getting this all figured out.

  6. Absolutely right, Brian. Pick a couple of areas and market them over and over. Maybe Fairwood in Renton or a mixed value neighborhood in Kent.

    (teehee. I went to Renton High School!)

    Don’t forget neighborhood newsletters as they’ll often let you post your marketing or write an article there for free.

    Keep me posted.

    Here’s wishing you tremendous success!

  7. Some great advice and suggestions here! I am just getting started in REI using Sub 2 method to buy and hold/sell and hold contracts. Finding motivated sellers in my area (Seattle) has been VERY difficult to date. Am sticking to a few main marketing methods right now in the hopes of finding the right formula (Currently using flyers, yellow letters, & FSBO calls). Once I get some deals going and can put more funds towards marketing, will definitely need to try more of these out! I am interested in the direct marketing as I need to cover certain areas multiple times.

  8. So true, Andrew. We used to walk neighborhoods every afternoon where we wanted to own and we’d put out flyers. Great exercise and accomplished a lot more than just improving our health!

    Thanks for your comment.

  9. Love door to door. It is how you get to know the buyers, sellers and gets you into the markets so you are up to speed in your community. Good exercise too!

  10. Hi Marc:

    They really depends what you’re marketing for. We use PostcardMania.com for many of our postcards. We’ve used some of their templates and tweeked to our wording and contact info.

    Flyers can be anything from “we buy houses” or “we’d love to own a home in your neighborhood” to “do you know anyone wanting to sell their home?”

    We also mail flyers to neighbors when we’ve renovated a house and are marketing it to sell or rent out saying – “we purchased your neighbors home and we can purchase yours!” or “come by this Sunday to the open house and see what we’ve done! We pay a referral gift if you bring us our next buyer.”

    We have many, many cards and flyers depending upon our goal.

    Thanks for asking and here’s To Your Success!

  11. Karen,

    Great information!

    Do you have post card and flyer examples you can share?


  12. Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you found this helpful.

  13. Wonderful, concise information. This is the most comprehensive, yet to the point article I’ve read on this subject. Thank you very much for sharing.

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