Keep It Simple and Maintain Your Focus to Succeed with Leads.
Whether you are new to real estate investing or a seasoned investor, you are always on the lookout for the next deal. Well, in a low inventory market, how do you find your next deal? With margins thinning and costs rising, you must be able to find properties with numbers that work. I think by nature we always try and overcomplicate these processes, but there are some simple and effective ways to market for your next property. Here are my top five:
1. Use the MLS
Do your homework and find a hardworking, investor-savvy real estate agent to help you locate deals. You may be thinking, “Jason, I hope this isn’t your best strategy to unveil. I’ve heard this before!” Well, this may not be the quickest route to huge volumes of leads, but it is fast, cost-effective, and often completely free. There are still deals out there, and they can be found (with the right help and criteria) on the MLS. In my company, four of our last seven deals were MLS leads.
Pro Tip: Work with an agent who is not an investor. You need someone who knows what to look for but won’t buy the good deals themselves.
2. Target local agents with your marketing materials
Direct mail (offline) and videos (digital marketing) should play a part in this process. Let local agents know you are interested in any listing they encounter that is not fit for the market. You may also offer what I call my “Contingency Buster,” which is an amazing lead generator for properties that do not need much work. Here’s how it works:
I tell agents, “I’ll buy the house, so your client can buy the house!” The move enables their clients to avoid making offers with contingency clauses and, once we’ve made the repairs, we sell at retail value to the owner-occupant.
Pro Tip: Be straightforward with your agents about what you want. More than 40 agents in my area know that if a property is a potential rehab, I want the information and I want it first!
3. Use Facebook videos to generate leads
Grab your phone and start “going live” on social media! You don’t have to be pretty, perfect, or fancy to make this work – trust me. Take out your smartphone and make a Facebook Live video telling the audience who you are and what properties you want to buy. Tell them you are easy to work with and close quickly. “Live” videos get a little boost organically, and you can always boost a successful Facebook Live video again later. The first time I shot a Facebook Live video, I had 1,900 views in the first three days and I bought 3 properties.
Pro Tip: I use two simple criteria when I boost my Facebook videos: a radius of 25 miles from my center of operations and the age range 25-65. Gender, income, and other factors are not important because you are looking to buy from the viewer, not sell them something.
4. Leverage direct mail thoughtfully and effectively
Take the time and assign the capital to test, evaluate, and refine your process. This lead-generation method will take more time and testing to get it right, but direct mail can bring in a consistent amount of leads each month to get you the deals you need. I send out no fewer than 2,100 letters and run every campaign for at least 90 days. I usually generate one or two deals a month per 1,000 letters sent out. Here’s what you do:
a. Identify a good potential source of leads, such as vacant property owners.
b. Set up effective call-tracking software to screen the leads you generate.
c. Write a good mail piece. This is all for nothing if you do not have something effective to mail!
Pro Tip: For my source of leads, I target absentee owners 55 years of age and older with 75 percent equity.
5. Bandit signs
This is a “shotgun approach” to finding leads, but it has worked forever. A lot of investors steer clear of bandit sign promotions because they can be time consuming and many city ordinances frown upon them. Done right, however, this strategy will generate some really good leads.
Use 18-by-24-inch signs with simple sayings that are easy to read and understand. For example, “Jana buys houses, closes fast.” You should be able to get about 500 signs made for about $1,500. Then, be strategic! Map out (on an actual map) where you want to place the signs and hire a small crew to put them out on Friday evening. Be prepared to take them down by Sunday, since most cities will remove them and potentially fine you if they are still out on Monday morning. Try to answer as many of the calls from these signs live and in person.
Pro Tip: Place your signs in high-traffic areas, such as near a Wal-Mart.
These five lead-generation strategies will not just help you get deals into your business directly. They also promote you as an active, local real estate investor and will help you scale your business. Marketing should not be a daunting task. If you are new to real estate investing, pick one method and run with it until you have perfected it before starting a new one. If you are a seasoned investor, hopefully this will give you ideas on how to expand the lead generation you are already doing. Happy hunting!
Jason DeLong is a listing specialist at J & Company Real Estate Experts at Better Homes & Gardens Kansas City Real Estate, where he creates and implements team marketing programs. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.