One of the most basic lead generation opportunities you can provide yourself with is driving for property to buy. Perhaps you have never noticed it before, but there are many properties just screaming for a new owner. All you need to do is reach out and ask. If you are just starting out and short on funds, you can take a notebook in the car with you and write down every property that you see with an older roof, overgrown grass and beat up driveway. These are typically signs of deferred maintenance, lack of capitol to repair and quite possibly a willingness to sell.
While these qualities do not necessarily represent homes that could be up for sale under the right circumstances, it doesn’t hurt to inquire about them. The first thing you can do is simply knock on the front door, introduce yourself with a business card and ask them if they know anyone in the area that may be interested in selling. This will trigger a response, which is exactly what you are looking for. At a minimum, they have your business card and point of reference for phase two of your attack.
Phase two deals with a subsequent mailing campaign. You can find the owner of record at town hall in addition to mailing to the subject property. If the owner has a different address, by all means mail to that address and reference that you drove by the subject property and may be interested in making an offer. There are many frustrated landlords who are taking a loss or dealing with difficult tenants and want out. A letter or two in a few isolated neighborhoods won’t have your phone ringing off the hook, but it will plant a seed. If you follow up every few weeks or so, you may just stumble upon a deal.
You can drive for dollars regardless of your experience level or success in the business. If you notice a property on your way to get food or to a movie, write down (or have someone else write down) the address and follow up in the morning. Properties that have overgrown grass and greatly need work are strong candidates for houses that are either in foreclosure, short sales or owners that have given up on the property. For the cost of a sending a few letters or even making a few phone calls, you can have access to an owner with a real desire to sell. Ideally, you will get them before they deal with their lender or there is an offer already on the property. You never know when your letter is the one that they read and decide to take action on. This could be the most inexpensive and best marketing you ever do.
The best investors are the ones that always have their eyes and ears open for deals. Even if you are just driving home from dinner on a Saturday night, you may stumble upon a property that could be a real winner. Always be prepared for an opportunity, even if that is in the comfort of your car.