As an investor, you need to constantly replenish your pipeline. You should always know where your next deal is coming from. If you don’t focus on new deals while you are actively working on a property, you will be left wondering where the next one will come from. Fortunately, there are many ways to generate leads. You do not need to spend money on expensive marketing campaigns or directly mailing projects, which can produce great results, but they may also be a risky proposition. In reality, there are plenty of alternative ways to find your next deal. In most cases, all that is required is a little bit of effort and due diligence on your part. If you can do just one of these things every week, you will get your phone to ring in no time:
1. Bandit Signs: Bandit signs are the 18 x 24 signs that you may see in popular downtown areas or at major intersections. What makes these such a great strategy is that you can purchase a large quantity of signs for a relatively inexpensive amount. The other feature that makes them attractive is that you control the message on display. With bandit signs, less information is often more effective. People in their cars do not have time to process much information, even if they are at a stop sign. A simple message of “we buy houses” or “quick, cash closings” along with a phone number is all it takes. The key to a good bandit sign campaign is targeting a specific neighborhood or a high traffic area that you think can get your phone to ring. Certain towns restrict where and how you can place your signs, so it is best to contact the local government before you do anything. That being said, bandit signs are well worth the minimal investment.
2. Real Estate Websites: Websites like Craigslist, Zillow and Trulia are excellent ways to find deals. Many of these potential deals will not be easy to find, but they are there for the taking. Take a look at whose rental or for sale posts you have seen for an extended period of time. Even though a landlord may not be looking to sell, they would consider it if the right offer came along. If they are having trouble renting, they may be exhausted with the rental process altogether. These posts should be reached out to via email or by phone if one is available, and don’t stop after just one attempt. Try sending different messages until you get a response. All you have to lose is a few minutes out of your day. Some may respond unkindly, but that is part of the game. If you can get one deal from your efforts, it will certainly be worth it. You can also focus on posts from sellers without real estate agents. These people may be looking for a quick transaction to just get out of the property. Between Zillow, Craigslist, Trulia and others, you should end up with at least a few leads you can work with.
3. Newspaper Ads: You can use the same strategy that you use for websites to run newspaper ads. It wasn’t that long ago that the newspaper was the go-to source of anyone looking to buy, sell or rent real estate. In recent years, the popularity of newspapers has come down dramatically, but remains a desired source for some. This makes it a great niche, as many other investors in your area probably ignore it. Reach out to anyone that has a property listing for rent or is selling on their own. In the same way you would with web site leads, reach out to these listings until you get an answer. It is rare that you will get an answer from your initial phone call. This approach takes thick skin and the unique ability to stick with a given approach.
4. Local Networking Meetings: A large segment of real estate deals are done by local people working together. This is why local networking meetings are so important. At these meetings, you have the opportunity to sit with Realtors, contractors, mortgage brokers, tradesmen and hard money lenders who are all looking to grow their business. Regardless of the size of the meetings, they are a quick, inexpensive way to reach local contacts. Generally speaking, people like to work with people that they have a relationship with, and especially with those that they feel can get a job done. Sitting in on weekly or monthly meetings will give you the upper hand over other investors in your area. You may not get a flood of new leads from doing so, but all it takes is one new contact to change your business.
It really doesn’t matter what your lead generation plan is, as long as you have one. Regardless of how busy you are, it is important that you do something every day to grow your business. If you can develop a business that brings in new leads every week while still working on current deals and pushing a handful to closing, you have a strong business that can thrive in any market. In most cases, finding alternative methods that no one else in your area has thought of or is doing makes all the difference. Whatever it is, find ways to get new deals and make them your own.