I was sitting at my desk making my usual round of cold calls one evening. I had been a real estate investor for two years, but truthfully, I had been spinning my wheels. For all of my hard work, I had only sealed a few deals.
Most people were pretty polite over the phone that day. Every once in a while I got someone who was belligerent; this time was different.
“Why do you people keep calling me?” asked the woman on the other line. It wasn’t accusatory; she sounded genuinely confused. “I’m not selling my house. I don’t want to sell my house. I’ve been called by eight people. Am I on some sort of list?”
Of course she was. She was on a list that had been sold to countless agents—most real estate leads for investors are.
Getting Real Estate Leads for Investors
There’s a problem within the real estate industry. I realized it then, and it’s important that you realize it now: Any leads you get easily are leads that other real estate investors already have in their hands. That puts you in fierce competition with other investors in your market.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common methods investors use to generate leads before the competition, and how you can do it better.
Lead Generation Companies
Here’s how most people get their real estate leads when just starting out: They buy them from a lead generation company. Then they cold call the leads to try and drum up business. Theoretically, these leads are “yours” because most lead generation companies promise exclusivity within a given zip code.
The problem with this approach, however, is that you’re actually not the only one buying those leads. You’re just the only one buying those leads from that company. There are many lead generation companies and the data they furnish tends to be very similar.
In fact, you’re probably competing with dozens of other investors who are all calling the exact same leads. And there’s no guarantee that they are actually selling their homes. Why waste time connecting with people who don’t even want to sell?
Other common methods for acquiring real estate leads include sending out printed mailers or leaving door hangers throughout your neighborhood. Both can be effective ways to get your name in front of potential sellers, but they’re also very expensive and time-consuming. And, again, you’re mostly marketing to people who have no interest in selling.
It’s not uncommon for investors to spend thousands of dollars on a direct mail campaign, only to see a very low response rate. It’s an impersonal method of interaction and unlikely to yield results.
Online advertising is becoming increasingly popular. You can advertise through Google or Facebook and even target ads toward a specific area. It can be an effective way to target a zip code, but it can also be expensive. And you’re really just advertising your interest and hoping that something comes of it.
Many investors have had success with online advertising, but it’s important to know what you’re doing before you start spending money. It’s easy to burn through cash while you experiment with online advertising
Door-to-door lead gen is a tried-and-true strategy, but it’s being abandoned for a reason. People are significantly less welcoming to people knocking on their doors these days, primarily because the heyday of door-to-door sales is largely over. That goes beyond the fact that it can feel invasive or insensitive to come to someone’s house and ask if they’re selling it.
A better (although still time-consuming) method is to look through neighborhoods for houses that already have FSBO signs. If they’re being sold already, you will likely find a more receptive occupant.
Asking for Referrals
Asking friends and family members for referrals can also be an effective way to find potential sellers when you’re just starting out. But it’s a small market and you will find that it is quickly tapped. And you don’t want to be the cousin who is always talking business at family gatherings, do you?
But for many investors, the only way to get started is by waiting until someone they know is ready to sell. Your sister’s cute starter home could become your first investment property, but this is simply a low-yield method of finding leads unless you have an exceptionally large network already.
Speaking of networking, one of the best ways to truly generate real estate leads for investors is to network with other professionals in your field. Don’t be afraid to get involved with your local investor club or attend real estate investing seminars.
You can get a lot of leads talking to other investors, but keep in mind that they are passing them to you. Sometimes, it’s for a logical reason; the investor may be operating out of state, for example. Other times, it’s just not that great of a deal.
Lastly, another way many real estate investors generate leads is by putting up signs around the neighborhoods and zip codes they want to target. Small signs can be put on telephone poles or other public places and include phrases such as “We Buy Houses” or “Cash for Homes.”
The downside to this approach, apart from it being time-consuming and largely ineffective, is that you’re going to get lost in the noise—there are a lot of these signs out there today. The upside, however, is that the connections you create will be with people who are motivated to sell.
And that brings me to my next point…
Let the Best Leads Come to You with HomeVestors
Once I had my realization about cold calling, I still spent a few more months trying to chase down leads on my own. Then I found HomeVestors®.
HomeVestors® brings real estate leads for investors directly to you through their nationally recognized “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaigns. You don’t have to chase down leads yourself, and everyone who comes to you actually wants to sell. With my independently owned and operated Homevestors® franchise, I also have access to proprietary software that helps me evaluate properties so I can better allocate my time to nurturing and closing more deals.
The difference between working on my own and becoming a HomeVestors® franchisee has been night and day. Before, I spent 90% of my time chasing leads. Now, I spend 90% of my time closing deals.
High-quality real estate leads for investors aren’t easy to come by. Get the help you need by requesting more information on becoming a HomeVestors® franchisee today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.