One of the ways to find leads is “word of mouth”. It’s really important that everybody you know is aware that you are into real estate. You’re the person they know that buys houses. You never know where your next deal will be coming from. We spend a lot of time and effort to generate leads, and sometimes it is right in front of our faces if we just went out there and talked to more people about it. When I was new in the business, I was real self-conscious about it and shy before I did a lot of deals. You are what you think you are and by talking about it, it is more likely to happen to you. Make sure that the people you hang out with know that you are a real estate investor and looking for deals. You don’t have to let them know what kind of deals you are looking for, but let them know you are always looking to buy houses and getting deals on property. As those people stumble across deals or hear of other people selling houses, they are most likely to refer people to you. It is also a good idea to mention to people that you pay for referrals. My business card says on the back of it, $200 or $250 will come to you if you bring me a house for sale. If we buy it, you get $200.
Secondly, you should have business cards with you. Leave them around. I have two different types of business cards. I’ve got my business card that says on there that “we buy houses, cash reward paid, find me a house, we pay $200”, etc. Those are the ones I leave around at a restaurant or at a gas station on top of the gas pump, or wedge them on the sign. If I go to the bank I will leave a couple of them on the counter. I just give them to people randomly and let them know I buy houses. I have another card that is a little more professional that has my name, business name, and my logo on there. I give that one to lenders, bankers, and tenants. The bright colored ones are best for leaving them at gas stations and restaurant. There is another type that looks like a folded $100 bill that people will pick up even if you leave it on the ground. You just never know where your next deal comes from. Most deals come from our direct marketing, but every now and then, you get a call out of the blue from someone who has your card driveway bollard lights.
Another cheap way is to put a sign on your car. Of course, it depends if your Spouse will let you do it. For a long time, I had a magnetic sign on my car that said, “I Buy Houses” on it with my phone number on it. I didn’t get a lot of calls on it, but once in awhile, I would. They are pretty cheap, too. I paid about $20 or $30 for two of them. I’ll never forget the first day I put those on my car. I did get a call on the first day I put that on my car, from a seller and will never forget it. Of course, I didn’t get a call every day, but remember, one deal can make a huge amount of money.
Bandit signs are another cheap way to get leads. There are people that run their entire businesses with bandit signs. A bandit sign is simply a sign that can say, “We Buy Houses” with a phone number on it. That is really all it has to say, although you should test to see if different areas do better with this or that on it. Some people put, “We Buy Houses, Any Price, Area, or Condition”. They go out and put up 50 or so at a time. You can get a lot of calls right now when the market is stagnant. I guarantee you, if you go out and put out 20 or so of these, you will get some phone calls. Please note that some towns have laws against putting up bandit signs. It will be worth a call to city hall. Sometimes they don’t allow it in the city, but allow it on the outskirts. Usually, it is safe to put them where you have seen them already there for awhile, placed by other people. Keep it simple. Put them where people tend to slow down, like at stop signs or where people are parking. Use common sense. Avoid highways where people are going 55 m.p.h. and can’t stop to write down a phone number. One place I see them near my home is near exit ramps where you get off of the highway. That’s a good place too. You might even want to put your website address on there, as well. Also, a lot of people use a recording instead of taking the calls, and drive the buyers to a recording, and will put “Free Recorded Message” on the sign. A lot of people might be more likely to call because they are afraid of getting a sales pitch. If you put “Free Recorded Message” on it, get a 800 number, or get a message set up on it that says who you are, and let them know what your business is all about with your contact information on it. Or ask them to leave a message.
Another cheap or free way to get leads is to use the classified websites that are available. That is a great place to get the word out that you are a house buyer. There are real estate and service sections. Try different areas and post your ads there that say, “We Buy Houses, Any Price, Area, or Condition” or even go into more details if you like. When someone is a motivated seller, you don’t need to be a fancy writer. Just get your ads out there.