Off market leads represent a substantial advantage when working in real estate. They consist of opportunities that haven’t hit MLS listings yet, which means lower competition and deeper discounts. Plus, real estate investors can negotiate directly with property owners instead of dealing with other agents or wholesalers –you can read more about off market lists here-.
However, there are two things you have to keep in mind while working with off market leads: you need to be creative and persistent. Creativity will be helpful to find houses, but also to contact clients, while persistence is key to success. Deals might take a while, but they’ll come around. To help you with this, Kevin and Becky Kromminga summarize approaches, strategies, and ideas to find off market leads and land excellent deals!
Where to find off market leads
Off market properties are the product of preforeclosures, evictions, divorces, heirship, and liens, so they might be hard to spot. The best way to access this information quickly is through curated lists that gather the data straight from the courthouses, such as Real Estate IQ’s service (which has a 50% discount on its premium suite!).
But if you have some time on your hands, you can pay attention to the following signs:
- Garage sales
- Burn houses
- Estate sales
- Preforeclosure lists
- Foreclosure auctions
- Sheriff sales
- Taxes, divorces, and eviction filings
- Tax or mortgage delinquencies
- Probate leads
- Code violations (like substandard structures or tall grass citations)
- Properties with water service recently shut off
- Expired listings on MLS
Another thing to keep an eye out for is signs on trucks or fences. Also, it’s a good idea to have contacts on landscaping or lawn companies, since they may tip you on houses due to their jobs. Furthermore, Becky Kromminga recommended networking with other investors and always letting everyone know what you do for a living. That way, you can get referrals or data on people who need to move, need cash to cover bills, or are behind on their mortgage payments. Just keep your business cards ready!
The Internet can be a great source of information, too. Look out for posts or ads, as well as Craig’s List or online auction sites.
7 ways to reach out to off market sellers
If you want to give it a try, there are many ways to get off market properties. Some of the strategies depend on whether you have the owner’s contact information and others on your budget.
- Use bandit signs (they are very dependent on the area and demographic, and be careful of Code Enforcement).
- Send handwritten communications (they are better received than printed notes. Mix up postcards, yellow letters, professional letters, greeting cards, etc.).
- Send direct emails (this strategy requires a consistent effort and is a long-term approach; usually, 6+ touches are needed).
- Have your own website (it’ll give you credibility, and you can increase the communication channels).
- Put billboards, radio ads, and TV commercials (these require a significant initial investment).
- Driving for dollars (go around your area and look for tall grass, physically distressed properties that are below the neighborhood standards, piled up mail and notices on doors and windows, talk to neighbors).
- Check out sites like Craig’s List and online auction sites, such as auction.com or hubzu.com.
To get the contact information, you can check out free options like the whitepages or 411. If you have a small budget, you can subscribe to a skip tracing service, such as Real Estate IQ Premium Off Market Leads –it gives you daily lists of distressed sellers with the skip tracing already included!-.
Another useful idea is to find your own bird dogs. They could be CPAs, title companies, bail bondsmen, agents, roofers, foundation professionals, wholesalers, mail carriers, delivery drivers, lawn care, trash pick up, divorce, bankruptcy, or probate attorneys. All these professionals can feed you with valuable tips and pass your contact information to homeowners for a commission.
And lastly, don’t forget to include your branding in every communication you provide! Your logo or corporate image should be visible each time, so people see the same brand over and over. Now, all that’s left is to be creative and start sealing the best deals!
Disclaimer: The blog articles are intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing in the content is designed to be legal or financial advice.