The best real estate investors understand the importance of a keeping a full pipeline. Closing a deal today is great only if you can find ways to build on that momentum. In almost any market there are motivated sellers. The key is to constantly strive for ways to find them. One of the misconceptions in the real estate business is that you need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing. Pricey direct mail campaigns can be effective but there are other less expensive alternatives available. Given these price points you can afford to try a combination of some or even all of them. Here are seven inexpensive ways to find sellers.
- Expired MLS Listings. One of the best ways to build your business is with a real estate agent. A quality real estate agent has multiple outlets for finding sellers. Most investors use their realtor to help with foreclosure and REO listings. These deals can be profitable but they are also very popular. An alternative to this is expired MLS listings. There are listings that have been on the market typically for several months. After anywhere from 90 to 120 days the listing will expire and either need to be renewed or is taken off the market. These sellers may have mispriced their property or were simply looking to gauge interest. Either way they may be frustrated and looking for any offer to get the ball rolling. You never know what you will get when reaching out to expired MLS listings.
- Classified Newspaper Ads. There is a large segment of people who grew up relying on newspapers as their prime source of information. While newspaper popularity is down they still reach thousands of eyeballs every day. The classified section in your local newspaper has multiple options for finding sellers. The first is to reach out to all rental listings. Focus on ones with out of market area codes. An out of state landlords may be frustrated with the process and interested in selling. The classified section also has homeowners or investors who are looking to sell. You may talk to a few disgruntled owners but all it takes is one who is willing to make a deal.
- Email Contact Lists. Every email you receive from a business card or personal contact should be put in a separate file. It is important to stay updated and relevant with these contacts. Every few weeks or so you should send out an email just to keep in touch. This email could include a newsletter or something else of relevance but the point is to keep you on their mind. You never know when one of your contacts may know someone who is interested in selling. The chance of closing a referral lead is much greater than any other type of lead you will generate. Every week you should look to add someone else to your file. The more people you can reach the greater the odds of finding a deal.
- Mortgage Brokers. Mortgage brokers are a great source for motivated sellers. The average mortgage broker comes in contact with dozens of applications every week looking to either refinance or purchase. Some of these borrowers may not fit lender guidelines and selling is their best option. Since they know that their options are limited they are more likely to sell at a discounted number. On the flip side you can share any homeowner information on properties that you are selling. Every investor should have at least one solid mortgage broker as a contact.
- Bandit Signs. Bandit signs are the small signs you see on various front yards. This being an election year they are especially prevalent. Instead of promoting your favorite politician you can market your business. Your bandit sign and read anything from “we buy houses” to “quick, cash closings.” Whatever slogan you want to use can be placed on these signs. You can typically purchase hundreds of these signs for less than the cost of a good dinner. These can be placed on any properties you current own or in select locations with town approval.
- FSBOs. FSBO is the acronym for “for sale by owner”. As the name indicates these are owners who are selling their property without the assistance of a real estate agent. They may be looking to save money on real estate commission or simply feel they can do as good a job. Many FSBO properties try testing the market at an inflated market price only to come down after several months. With the inactivity they often entertain almost any offer that comes in. Working with fsbos often takes several months but the payoff could be receiving a great deal.
- Driving For Dollars. Finding deals is often as easy as driving for dollars. You can spend a few hours every day driving an area of the market. Make note of any distressed looking properties you see. You can often find the owner through a tax search at town hall. From there reach out to them explaining that you buy investment properties in the area. They may have thought about selling but aren’t sure the easiest way to go about it. Driving for dollars just a few hours a day will often yield a handful of live leads.
Marketing and lead generation is a numbers game. The more leads you have the better chance you have of closing deals. If you are looking to build your pipeline start by focusing on these seven inexpensive ways to find sellers.