Marketing Questions & Real Answers About Probates!

We recently had a follower of the My Investing Mentor blog ask me a few questions about an upcoming probate marketing campaign that he is just about ready to launch in his local market. It seems that a lot of the questions he had about probates & marketing are the same ones that I have heard asked many times over….so instead of just answering to him I thought I would post the questions and answers to this blog post in hopes that some of our other followers can also get some valuable insider tips from it:

 

Hey Tucker,

Just wanted to get your input on probate investing. I’m starting up my marketing campaign this week. I’m going to a couple of my local county registrars to compile leads and am sending out my letters. From my research it seems that probates provide the least amount of competition due to the work involved and therefore are the most profitable. In my area, I know most of the larger rehabbers and none of them are doing probates.

Generally, what percent of ARV do you offer on your probates? Do you wholesale and rehab? I’m a newer company with only 1 rehab under my belt so I’m looking to wholesale mostly while rehabbing one at at time…until I lock down some private lenders.

Any advice on starting up this campaign would be appreciated!

There are a number of questions within this email…..so lets get started answering them! The first thing you will want to do is find out if a local business newspaper is available in your market that lists all of the new probate cases for potential creditors to find. Going down to the county can be very time consuming and totally unnecessary if you can find a daily newspaper like this in your market…..this is an absolute must if you want to market probates! I use one in my area and we are able to pull new probate leads out of it everyday in less than an hour…and without leaving the office. If you do have to head down to the county to dig through probate files just make sure you are only marketing to the ones that have real property to liquidate. In my area you have to ask the county clerk for all of the probate files and then start digging through them to see if there is real property owned by the estate……This is a GIANT pain in the ass and totally not necessary if you can find a local newspaper that advertises each new probate file. Spend the time to find this publication in your area….it will be well worth the time!

Once you are able to find a local business newspaper that publishes every new probate files make sure you subscribe to it….it will only cost you $20-30/month. Once you have found your lead source you will then need a way to screen each new probate lead to find out if it contains real property without looking through the actual probate file down at the county. This is where your local title company comes into play….most all of them have great online property databases that you can be given access to for FREE that will allow you to search for property ownership by last name. We use this tool to match up the name of the deceased with any real property that they may have owned. We also use RealQuest to check and see if there are any mortgages against the property once we get a lead call….that way we know what the sellers equity position is in the property. Most of the time probate deals are Free & Clear, but we have bought a number that had small mortgages against them (these are great “subject to” leads by the way).

Now because of all the moving parts and challenges that you have to deal with in order to generate probate leads it definitely limits the amount of competition you will have….there is no doubt about that. Generally the only other people you will run across in any given market who are also marketing for probate deals are wholesalers. The reason for this is because most rehabbers don’t have a marketing department in their businesses since most of their time is consumed with actual rehab projects….and if they do market its probably a very simple operation (i.e. bandit signs and craigs list ads). Within my own business I have grown it to the point where I have two divisions that are full time. One of the divisions is the rehabbing crew which consists of my project manager along with 3 full time workers and a variety of sub -contractors that help transform our projects into the highest quality renovated houses (you can see some of our projects at www.TTMDevelopmentCompany.com ) in my market of Portland.

The second division is my marketing department which consists of myself, a marketing manager and some direct mail & online advertising hired helpers. Sine I have a full time crew that pretty much handles all of the renovations at this point it has allowed me the time to build out a marketing division that now constantly provides more than enough great deals for the rehab crew to work on. We market to a variety of different niches to source deals for the rehab crew to work on, but probate deals have consistently provided the highest profit deals for my rehab machine to renovate.

When we are maxed out on the number of rehab projects that we can handle I NEVER stop the marketing machine however. Instead we just look to wholesale any of the deals that we get under contract until we are able to handle another rehab project. This helps keep up our marketing momentum, and momentum is one of the most important things when it comes to real estate investing.

So to get back to my point, if you can build out divisions in your business and continue to market probates on a constant basis you will make more money faster than you ever thought possible in this business. As you get good at buying probates you will absolutely get the best deals in your market at the lowest % of ARV….much better than REO’s or any foreclosure niche that is currently en vogue.  Since probates are one of the most difficult niches to master (and figure out how to efficiently market to) they also have the biggest profit potential for those who put in the time to learn the niche. In addition to this article make sure to read my previous blog post on marketing for probates….there were a number of tips that were discussed that will really help you succeed once you have your marketing campaigns up and running.

Just remember that not every probate lead call will be happy to talk with you and not every house that is for sale is going to be a deal….but if you stick with it you will absolutely find some of the biggest money making deals out there from this niche…..good luck!

Is Your Real Estate Business Set Up to Market for Deals?

The title to this article is probably the most important question you as a real estate investor need to ask yourself if you plan on making it for the long haul in this business. The current state of the market is such that it allows Real Estate Investors to not actually have to market for deals and still find properties that generate good profits for their businesses. The main niches that most real estate investors (new and old) are finding deals these days are from REO’s, Short Sales, Foreclosure Auctions and sometimes wholesalers. Now my business has and will continue to make large profits from deals that come from each of these……but the reality is that the number of deals coming from each of these niches will eventually decrease dramatically as the foreclosure inventory goes down, and when that happens there will be a huge increase in the amount of competition you will be fighting against to land a deal. In fact even now within my business we have alomst stopped going to the weekly foreclosure auctions in our area because large companies are setting up shop and allowing any Tom, Dick or Harry to bid through them for deals…..which has been driving up prices across the board on deals worth going after. There are also more and more investors either getting back into the market or just starting out who are bidding on listed REO properties, which has made it a lot more difficult to get deals at low enough prices to make the kind of profits we as rehabbers would like to see for our efforts. Now this doesn’t mean you can’t make money with REO’s by any means (go to www.thereoblueprint.com to learn our buying secrets), it just means you have to get better at identifying deals quickly, tracking them and making sure you are there to offer when the timing is right.

So where am I going with all of this you might ask…..well my point is if you want to stay in this great business for a long time to come you need to start (if you havent allready) learning how to market for your own deals….and this doesnt mean looking on RMLS yourself! I have personally spent the last three years learning everything that I could about being a successful marketer and then using that knowledge and applying it to my real estate business. The truth is before I built out an actual marketing department within my house buying company so that we could source our own deals, we were really doing pretty well just flipping REO’s, Short Sales and auctions properties…..but once we began to generate our own motivated seller leads on a regular basis our success began to grow exponentially. It can be very easy to get complacent in this business if you are making money, but now is the time you need to start looking ahead and getting your marketing systems dialed in so that as the foreclosure lead sources become less profitable and more competative you have other ways of generating deals and income for your business! It takes a good amount of commitment and effort to create your own marketing systems, but in the end you will be extremely happy that you made the decision to take control of your business and ultimately the number of deals you have access to on a monthly basis. So for the rest of this artilce I am going to go through some basics on what you need to do in order to get your business ready to market for its own deals, as well as what kind of marketing you need to do in order to consistantly bring in those big pay days (I’m talking 50K or more checks) that will change your life!

The very first thing that you need to do in order to start marketing for your own deals is to legally set up your business and then make sure that it’s visible enough for sellers in your market to easily find. What I mean by this is to register a business name (if you have not allready) and make sure you pick one that’s marketable, create a logo and have some business cards made. This is the first step in starting any business but its the neccessary foundation that you must build if you want to create a successful real estate investing business. The next step is to get a phone number for your buisness that can be put on all of your marketing material…..and yes I would absolutely use a number other than your current cell phone number! In my business we have two numbers, one is a local number for our marketing line and the other is a vanity number that basically has the same recording as the first number. Here is a super secret tip for everyone reading….they just released a new set of toll free number that start with 1-855-TTM -CASH (that is my company’s vanity number) so you can most likely get a vanity number for your business by taking advantage of that. It’s very important to have a marketing line for your business that people can call anytime they feel like it without it being a pain in your butt (that is why I dont recoment using your current cell phone number). In addition by having a vanity number as a second choice it will validate your business in a sellers eye’s, thus giving you a leg up on any competition that does not have a vanity number.

The next step is going to be getting a (and eventually multiple) website(s) set up that will allow you to capture online seller leads. I would really suggest just hiring this one out rather than trying to save a few bucks by customizing some go daddy template yourself. You should make sure the domain name you pick matches your company name as best as possible for branding & marketing purposes. In addition you need to make sure you have a form on the website to capture information from any seller’s who runs acorss your site and has a property to sell. After you get a website set up you need to start building out your social media presence and business listings through Facebook, Linkin, Google, Yahoo, ect…..The idea behind this is to make your business as visible as possible for someone in your market looking to sell their property fast. There are a limitless number of things you can do when it comes to online marketing for your real estate business, but the important thing here is to just get started and as time goes on your will get more and more comfortable with online marketing.

The last step we are going to go over in this article is implimenting direct mail marketing campaigns within your business….This is an absolute must for anyone who wants their real estate business to consistantly source highly profitable leads.  The first thing you need to consider with direct mail is what types of leads are you looking to source. Each type of lead is going to require different marketing material to get the best possible response rates, so its extremely important to decide what types of leads you are going after before creating your marketing material. Some of the major categories for direct mail marketing are Pre- NOD mortgage lates (30, 60, 90 day lates), Absentee Owners, Probates, Free & Clear properties, Divorce and the list goes on and on. The key to direct mail marketing  is to pick which niche(s) you want to market to and then master marketing to those types of leads. Once you become good at direct mail marketing you will be able to generate motivated seller leads for your business whenever you want…..and that is a very powerful and profitable feeling!

There are a ton of things that you can do to market for motivated seller leads for your business, but the ones that we have gone over in this article have been the best and most consistant for my business. You may find that some of the other ways of generating moitvated seller leads are better for your buisness and that’s fine, but the point of this article is that you need to find what works best for you and perfect it. As the market begins to change and competition get more fierce for listed and auction properties you need other ways of finding deals for your business. Don’t be content with the money your business is currently making from REO’s, Short Sales and auctions deals….start to look to expand your business and it’s number of deal sources. Those who have the skills neccessary to consistantly find motivated sellers are the gatekeepers to large profits in this buisness, so start to learn how to market for deals now so that you can be a gatekeeper in your market for many years to come!

Keep an eye out later this year for our six month Marketing For Millions mentorship program……over the course of six months we will teach you everything you need to know about how to market for deals through six different niches and provide you with all of the tried and tested marketing material we have used to make a fortune! Once you are done with the program you will be ready to dominate your local market and become the gatekeeper for highly profitable deals on a consistant basis!

 

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