Finding Motivated Sellers
Recently I put a house under contract from an absentee owner that I have been marketing to for 2 ½ years. She has gotten a letter from me every couple of months like clockwork since January of 2008. When she called me several weeks ago, I recognized her name. It wasn't until I looked her up in my database, that I knew the exact date my mailings to her had started. I knew I had a motivated seller!
Are You Willing To Go the Distance?
Having a motivated seller call me after this much time as a result of a direct mail campaign, might seem unlikely so some folks. When I speak to other real estate investors, they will often talk about their marketing programs. For the most part they indicate that they send out a few letters to each person on their mailing list over a span of a few months. If they have not bought a house after a handful of direct mail campaigns, they quit mailing to that particular seller. What a mistake! Some of them even through in the towel completely on direct mail campaigns.
The Proof Is In the Results
It has been said that 80% of your results will come after 4 or more mailings. I believe that is absolutely the case. The person that is not a motivated seller today, may very well be a motivated seller in the future. Something of major importance will change in this persons' life.
In my case, the seller lives on the west coast which is a long way from where the house is located. She purchased the house in 1998 for her brother and paid cash. He lived there until he passed away. The house was then occupied by tenants that moved out taking some of their belongings (leaving the rest) that also managed to trash the house. At the time she contacted me, the house had been vacant for about a year and she is now a very motivated seller. Not only was the house trashed, but there is a fair amount of deferred maintenance.
After the tenant moved out, she spent a few months thinking about repairing the house and listing it with a Realtor to recoup her original investment. In the end, she just decided she wanted to be rid of the problem without spending any more money. She sold the property to me for 50% of what she originally paid for the house.
Keeping the Marketing Machine Going
The single most important thing you need know about direct mail marketing for motivated sellers, is that it must be an ongoing process. I typically mail to each group of absentee owners about every 8-10 weeks. My goal is to mail to them every eight weeks. I have to admit, sometimes I get a little behind and it might be a little closer to 10 weeks. The only time I take a seller off my mailing list is if I buy the house or they ask to be removed. I cannot tell you how many times I have bought a house after mailing to an absentee owner for 1-2 years. Just remember that the person that is not a motivated seller today, may be very motivated due to a change in circumstances in the future.
About the Author:
My name is Sharon Vornholt and I own a company called Innovative Property Solutions, LLC.
I have been investing in real estate since 1998. We are a great source for articles, e-books and general information about buying investment property. You can also find information on home maintenance and repair, how to buy a rental home, how to deal with tenants and many more topics on our website and as well as on our blog.