My friends, Shane and Nate, hit me up for some advice the other day on how to find motivated home seller leads. They’re both real estate investors, like me, but neither has been doing it as long as I have. Shane just started flipping houses and Nate has been doing it for a few years. Me? I’ve been investing for a couple of decades. So, I know all the options for finding distressed homes that I can rehab for good returns and have tried most, if not all, of them. I took the time to chat with both guys about what they’d been doing to get leads and how effective their strategies were. And, quite honestly, their options weren’t bad. You may have even tried a few yourself. Whether you have or not, I’ll go over the pros and cons of those options here in a bit of detail and talk about a new one that you, like my friends, may not have thought of.
Options for Finding Motivated Home Seller Leads
Sourcing leads on motivated sellers is something every investor learns how to do early on. It’s real estate investing 101, if you will. The reason for this, obviously, is that without a way to find great investment properties, you don’t have a way to make even a decent living in real estate investing. There are several places to look for distressed properties to buy and renovate to sell or rent out, like auctions or through government agencies. But, homeowners who need to sell fast will likely give you better deals that are easier to acquire. Here are some of your options.
Canvass the Neighborhood
Whether you decide to pound the pavement or drive for dollars—or both—canvassing up-and-coming neighborhoods can lead you to some great fixer-uppers. Broken and boarded windows, overgrown lawns, the presence of weeds in the driveway, and the absence of electricity are signs that a property owner is in financial distress or may have abandoned the house.
But the time it takes to walk or drive a neighborhood, take notes about a property, and figure out how to contact the homeowner could leave you spinning your wheels instead of closing the deal. Then, you’ll still be faced with how to get on their good side, which might not be easy when they learn how hard you worked to find their “ugly” house.
Purchase Lead Lists
You can purchase lead lists from real estate agents or from a variety of third-party vendors online. These lists include everything from foreclosure starts to expired listings, as well as information on divorce filings, deaths, and vacant or abandoned homes. In fact, you can buy lists for just about any scenario that indicates a homeowner is in trouble and motivated to sell. The problem, however, is that other real estate investors know this too. So, homeowners are usually getting contacted by every investor in town who’s bought the list. The lists aren’t always up-to-date either. The last thing you want to do is contact a homeowner who’s already sold their home or who isn’t interested in dealing with another investor.
Search Legal Notices
A quick search online for legal notices on homes in pre-foreclosure can help you find motivated sellers. You can find these notices published on most county government websites and with agencies like HUD. They include homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments and/or have been served a Notice of Default or Lis Pendens. These homeowners are on the brink of foreclosure and may want to get out of their loans before getting a foreclosure on their record.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to do some hefty lifting to find the legal notices in the first place. You’ll also have to make an effort to revisit your county’s website on a regular basis to see what’s been added—or removed, if the homeowner is again current on their loan. And, like lead lists, most real estate investors have access to the same information, so you won’t be the only one trying to get a homeowner to sell. In my opinion, it’s too much work for too few chances to find a property to buy and renovate.
There are so many ways to advertise these days and, by doing so, you create brand awareness and, ideally, a trusted household name. If you know where, when, and how to market to distressed homeowners, they may get just as eager to sell to you as you are to buy from them. The more you put your name out there, the more likely motivated home sellers will find, and call, you.
But, let’s face it: advertising is expensive. And, unless you’ve got a degree in marketing, knowing which real estate investing marketing ideas will pay off can be a crapshoot. You can hire a pro to develop a campaign for you, but that’s pricey too. Honestly, the amount of money you’ll have to spend to repeatedly get your name out there so that you can get the attention of homeowners could drain your cash and therefore, the ability to build your business.
There are a number of ways that are touted as the best for finding fixer-upper homes for sale, including the options listed here. If you’re an expert investor, you already know that these strategies alone don’t always work well enough to keep your business going. You’ve probably had to implement several. If you’re just starting a career in real estate investing, you might be overwhelmed by your options and want to cut to the chase so that you’re not chasing bad leads. I’ve got a solution for you and, in my opinion, it’s the best option available.
The Best Option Brings Motivated Home Sellers to You
As I said, I’ve been around the real estate investing block a few times. Early on, I knew that finding homeowners who want to sell was key to buying good deals. I later discovered that getting those homeowners to come to you is even better. Of course, that takes a lead generation strategy that incorporates effective marketing tools with solid branding so that homeowners know who to call when it’s time to sell—something I didn’t have.
Then, I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Now, I benefit from nationally-known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing on television, radio, and print advertising campaign. It’s the brand that distressed homeowners across the nation have come to know and trust, which helps to turn those homeowners into motivated sellers. It takes the mystery, and the hassle, out of finding leads and gives me the option to help homeowners in need.
If you’re not getting the real estate investing leads that you need, try something new. Contact HomeVestors to learn more about how motivated sellers can find you too.
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