Around 1997, when I was still fairly new to real estate, I tried to convince a couple of buddies in the industry to start a real estate investing “website”. I put it in quotes because, back then, it still seemed new and weird. Everyone thought it was a great idea, but our fortunes foundered at the follow-up question, namely: what would it do?
Thankfully, we never got so far as “how would we build it?” which to us, back then, would have been unanswerable.
A lot has changed since then. There are real estate investing websites that can find leads, connect you with buyers, and lead you to potential investments. And you can very easily create your own marketing and lead-gen website, with ways to advance your business. You might not be an expert in all things online, but you can use a real estate investing website to get the best leads.
Using Real Estate Investing Websites To Get Leads
When we’re talking about websites, we’re not talking about a real estate dead end like Craigslist. That’s just a website that has some real estate along with broken TVs, pets, and marriage proposals. We mean sites that promise real estate investors actual leads.
There are a few different types of these sites.
Certified and Sight-Unseen Websites
When you go to Zillow, you pretty much know that the property is going to be accounted for. Zillow checks and double-checks each of their properties, so in theory, you can buy one sight unseen. That’s convenient for some, potentially nerve-wracking for others.
But what makes it super convenient is that because Zillow is a certified agent in every state, you can just buy a house directly off of it, and sell one too. It makes the paperwork much easier.
There are other real estate investing websites that provide these services, such as Roofstock. The problem is that you aren’t the only one getting these leads. You aren’t even getting leads as much as you are getting listings. Your leads can get more exclusive the more you pay, but almost never are you getting a unique lead.
House Ownership Finders
Finding the owner of a distressed property isn’t always easy. Sure, you can walk up to the door and knock, but it might be abandoned. You can ask neighbors, but that takes a real touch. And of course, you can go through records, but that can be really time-consuming.
There are some sites these days, such as Deal Machine, that make it easier. All you have to do is upload a photo of a property, and it’ll match it to its records. You can even pay to send a direct mailing to the owner’s last address, on that property or not.
Now, even if this system is 100% accurate, there is still the matter of people responding to your mailing. You still have to approach them cold. And that conversation (“So, I took a picture of your house and uploaded it to a database, can we talk?”) isn’t always conducive to building trust.
Remember that movie, Minority Report, where Tom Cruise could see if people were going to commit crimes? Well, real estate data analytics sites are sort of like that, only they use data to target preforeclosures. By utilizing skip tracer features, sites like PropStream can locate which houses are close to foreclosing, and that means you can get off-market houses as leads.
Not only that, but if you find a house, you can pull up all its records, and make the cold approach. You still have the problems listed above, but that should be something you could foresee.
So those are three different ways of using real estate investing websites to find leads: both traditional “this house is for sale” to finding distressed properties and then locating their owners. But those aren’t the only ways to use a website to get leads.
Use Your Own Real Estate Investing Website as a Marketing Tool
Look, this can be a pretty old-fashioned site. For every multimedia star with their own YouTube real estate investing channel, there are a bunch of older heads who think hanging up a flier is a little advanced. Not everyone thinks that a personal website is really important.
But the truth is, having a website matters. You make initial contact with a seller, and the first thing they might do is look you up. If they can’t find you, you might not seem legit. And if your site is a mess, they might think you’re not professional. Your website is an extension of your personal marketing strategy.
A website could also be a lead generation tool, in addition to serving as a validation of your credibility. By using search engine optimization (SEO), especially if it is geo-targeted, you might be able to come up on searches when people are looking to sell their house, fast.
That’s hard though. There are a lot of us. But there are ways to make your site stand out and to generate leads.
Leveraging the Power of Real Estate Investing Websites
Do me a favor. Google “sell my house fast for cash”. Right on the first page you’ll see “webuyuglyhouses.com.” You’ll recognize that slogan. Everyone does. It has immediate credibility. And when I invested in an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchise, I got some of that credibility.
As an investor, I’m plugged into their national marketing campaign. People search for them, find them, and then I can get the lead. I’m from HomeVestors. It’s not cold calling. It’s a genuine lead.
Not only that, but on my own site to attract buyers for my properties, I can use the HomeVestors logo. That’s instant legitimacy for any potential leads. It’s a name people trust. I might not have succeeded in my website dreams 25 years ago, but now I’m using real estate investing websites to the fullest.
If you’re considering leveraging the on-and-offline marketing power of HomeVestors, request information about becoming a franchisee today.
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HomeVestors of America® is the nation’s only real estate investing franchise, providing business opportunities to real estate and investment professionals across the nation.