Landlord leads. Targeting landlords might be a niche you’ve never even thought of. But if you’re looking for new leads, it’s worth your time to read on and see how this novel idea might be a perfect fit for you.
Face it, getting leads is tough, whether you’re trying organic lead gen methods or advertising. If you haven’t yet gotten the message from homeowners that too many of them have decided to sit out this red-hot-flaming-frustrating-as-hell seller’s market because the thought of trying to buy a replacement home makes them want to vomit,
But, you still need to make money, right? And there are buyers out there.
The problem is, many of them are first-timers. Unless you come from a teaching background, you may not have the patience to lead someone step-by-step through the process or to put up with the naïve and often-unrealistic expectations of this group of buyers.
Besides, we need LISTINGS for them to buy.
And, forget FSBOS and expireds – those poor people are being thrashed by agents.
Enter, the absentee owner – members of a dubious class of around one-third of U.S. homeowners, commonly referred to as [cue creepy villain music]
If you possess loads of patience and don’t expect massive results overnight for your marketing efforts, landlord leads may be a niche to consider.
Think about it – homeowners have heard the real estate horror stories about competing against cash buyers, the common multiple offer situations and the bidding wars. If they sell their current home, they’ll be jumping into that mess and, as mentioned earlier, they want no part of it.
Absentee owners, on the other hand, don’t share that concern so are far more amenable to selling the home while prices are at all-time highs. Since most look at their ownership of the home as an investment, there’s no emotional attachment either. It’s all dollars and cents.
The prep work
If you already market to a farm area, you’re one step ahead of those who don’t. The latter group will need to choose one and then do some research to separate the landlords from owner-occupants.
Then, you’ll need to be meticulously organized. This means entering all the pertinent information into your CRM and updating it consistently each time you reach out to these leads.
LeadSites (Easy Agent Pro) makes organizing your leads quick and easy. Learn more here.
It’s the work required to set up and maintain the absentee owner marketing campaign that makes this such a brilliant niche. Most agents want instant gratification and don’t have the desire, time or energy to do the work. So, you’ll have little competition.
How to find these landlord leads
It’s imperative that you have your criteria nailed down before going after absentee owner lists. For instance, studies show that most landlords only last between three and five years, so one criterion could be that you want addresses for absentee owners who have owned the property for at least three years.
Other ways to narrow down your list include:
- A specific ZIP Code. It’s a lot easier to find lists of homeowners in certain ZIP Codes than neighborhoods.
- Out-of-county or state landlords only or specify a distance the landlord must live from the property (such as 100 miles).
- Square footage of the homes.
- Price point of the properties.
These are just a few examples of search criteria.
Now it’s time to get that list. There are several ways of doing this:
- If your MLS offers Realist from Core Logic, or your preferred title company offers farming packages, your job of finding absentee owners will be a whole lot easier than that of agents who don’t have assessor’s information at their fingertips. RealEstateMogul.com offers a walkthrough of Realist, here.
- Check your county assessor’s office to see if its property records are online.
- If all else fails, buy a list from online companies such as Melissa Data, ListSource, ListAbility.
If you have an assistant to do the research, it will be even easier. In fact, you might consider hiring a virtual assistant for this part of the project. You can find some who work quite inexpensively online at Upwork.com, fiverr or TaskBullet.
Landlord Leads – Marketing to the absentee owner
Before coming up with a marketing plan, determine your preferred landlord’s pain points. Those that are ready to give up their properties have typically overestimated the complexity of being an absentee owner.
They thought managing a rental would be easier than it is and the amount of work that it takes just isn’t worth it to them. They read the news and know that they’re sitting on a wad of cash and are ready to dump the property and make the big bucks.
Let’s digress here for a moment
Landlord leads are huge targets for investors so, depending on your market, these landlords may be buried in mail from people offering to buy their homes. If you’re in one of these markets, don’t let this deter you, and here’s why:
- Investors want to pay as little as possible for a property, so they’ll typically go after the cheapest homes.
- Investors also pursue homeowners they feel they can lowball and get away with it. In fact, one investor coach tells students to look for homeowners who will “sell their property for a VERY low price (when I say low, I mean REALLY low. Think somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% – 30% of market value).”
First, in the current market, what landlord is going to sell his or her investment property for 10 to 30 percent of its market value?
Next, as an agent, your pitch will be far more compelling. It will show the homeowner how to make money off the property, not lose it.
So, back to the marketing plan
Determine what you’ll send to the landlords. Agents we’ve spoken with say that they start with a CMA for the property. Nothing fancy, but it will let him or her know how much equity is in the home and perhaps compel them to consider selling now, while the selling is oh-so-good.
It also establishes your credibility as an agent.
Since half the battle is won by getting the prospects to open your mail, skip the branded envelopes for these letters. Use a standard, white number 10 envelope, hand-address it (with your name and return address as well) so that it looks less salesy. Here’s another task, by the way, for an assistant.
Just-listed, Just-Sold postcards, or market updates are good for follow-up.
We read a brilliant strategy from a California agent who you may want to copy. He sets aside time once a quarter to stop by the properties and snap an exterior photo (hello, assistant?)
He then shrinks the photo to 2-inches square and attaches it to the envelope with a note that says something along the lines of “Have you seen your property lately?”
We told you it’s brilliant. Imagine his open-rate. He claims it’s 99 to 100 percent. Hey, we’d take three-quarters of that.
Inside the envelope he includes a market report or CMA, with, again, the home’s photo (this time at standard size) on it.
More important than what you send is how often you send. The previously-mentioned agent sends his photo-bomb pieces once a quarter. But, he sends other stuff during each quarter as well.
At a minimum, plan on mailing something to your list every two to three months (one agent says the magic frequency number is 2.5 months).
Investors mail far more frequently. One suggests eight mailings every 2.5 months and promises that “On each mailing your response rates will go up and I know many investors who get 75% of their deals after the seventh mailing.”
Don’t neglect to offer several ways for these leads to contact you. Aside from your phone number, consider a squeeze page, where they can ask for a CMA or get to know you a bit better.
Now, you need to get these compelling marketing pieces to their targets. The U.S. Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail service can help you out here or consider using an online service such as www.click2mail.com.
Does it work?
Yeah, it does, if you work it. Landlord leads can be an untapped market if done right.
“I sent out 6,000 post cards at one time to out of state owners two months ago. I got over 150 phone calls,” claims a real estate investor in the BiggerPockets.com forums.
Overall, concentrate on helping, not asking for a listing. You’re offering valuable information that impacts the absentee-owner’s investment, giving you a massive leg-up over the local investor trying to buy a cheap property.
Owner & Operator,
The Elite Group
Largest Home Inspection Company in North America
Best Selling Author “Secrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”