How To Find Motivated Seller Leads For Free
In this post you will learn several strategies you can use to start generating an unlimited stream of motivated sellers to your business. Most of these marketing strategies require little to no money, but instead will require a time investment. It’s important that you take the time before you start any type of marketing and setup both a way to track your results and a follow up system.
The best way to track marketing results is to assign phone numbers to every different piece of marketing. If you don’t track your marketing you’ll never find out which stream brings the best results. That means you run a high risk of wasting valuable time on non performing marketing strategies.
Not all areas of the country respond the same way. That’s why I recommend you test out all these strategies, track the results, and see which one is best for your market.
Secondly, make sure you setup some type of contact management system. This does not mean you need to spend money on a CRM program right away. Using free crms or even spreadsheets may work in the beginning stages. The only thing that matters is that you stay organized and FOLLOW UP.
With that being said, let’s dive straight into the different ways you can find motivated sellers for free!
For Sale By Owner Sites
Using Fsbo sites is always a great way for new or experienced investors to find motivated sellers. It’s one of the few places online where homeowners are actively searching for someone to buy their house. The way these sites work is pretty amazing. Homeowners can go online and post their property for sale, and us as investors are able to reach out to them using their provided information. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Now I will say that there are a few reasons why these leads may not be the best for everyone, but we’ll get into that a little later on in this post.
There are several Fsbo sites online, but I’m only going to cover the two big players. Zillow.com and ForSaleByOwner.com
Zillow is one of the most well known websites online when it comes to real estate. It’s probably the #1 resource most homeowners use to discover the value of their home. It also happens to be a great resource for finding motivated sellers.
There are two ways you can use Zillow to find motivated sellers. The first way is by searching through the houses for sell and choosing the “For Sale By Owner” option. These are houses listed by the owners of the homes themselves. Most of these homeowners provide their phone number, so all you need to do is start calling them.
It’s important that you create a follow up system for all the leads you start calling. Most smart investors invest in some type of CRM program, but if you’re on a tight budget then a Google Sheet will do.
The second place you can find potential motivated sellers is by searching through homes for sell and choosing the “Make Me Move” option. These leads will not be as motivated as the fsbo’s but it’s still a lead. Start calling all of these as well and add them to your follow up system.
Full Warning… It is true that Zillow is amazing for finding motivated sellers, but it has become extremely well known and chances are you will have a lot of competition.
Don’t let this discourage you though. A lot of people don’t like making calls. So, if you can at least get on the phone with these sellers you will be far ahead of most investors.
This is another FSBO website, but the main difference is that only for sale by owners are listed here. There is no difference in the strategy you use to reach out to these sellers. I will say again that it is important that you have a follow up plan in place to handle these leads.
Those are the two biggest websites for finding fsbo’s and they should produce plenty of leads for you to start calling. There are plenty of other FSBO websites but I would focus on those two websites, and then move on to the other strategies for finding motivated sellers. Since I know you will still most likely search for other FSBO websites I went ahead and listed four more below:
For those of you that don’t know what classifieds ads are, it’s a website for anyone to post ads online. The biggest and most well known classified website is Craigslist. Using classified ads to find motivated sellers is a post on it’s own, but I will go ahead and do a quick breakdown. When it comes to classified ads there are two ways to find sellers. There is a passive strategy and an active strategy.
(Note: You can grab our How To Generate Seller Leads With Craigslist Guide here)
The active strategy for finding leads is similar to fsbo leads. There are several homeowners posting their homes for sell on Craigslist and other classified websites. It is up to us as investors to take the time to find these ads and reach out to the sellers.
Craigslist has a section for ads labeled ‘real estate for sale – by owner’. This is going to be the best place for you to find seller leads.
Again, finding seller leads using classified ads is a whole post of it’s own, so I won’t get to detailed in this section. If you want to find the full break down of Finding Motivated Sellers Using Craigslist then go ahead and click the link.
The passive strategy for posting to classified websites to to start posting your own ads for homeowners to see. The more ads you post, the better chance you have of motivated sellers seeing your number and giving you a call. It is important to note that there is a strategy to posting to craigslist and you shouldn’t just spam your message everywhere. That will only lead to getting your posts flagged and your ads being removed.
Driving For Dollars
This is a great way to get started in real estate. Not only does it generate potential deals for you, but it also allows you to familiarize yourself with the city you invest in. The way this works is you jump in your car and drive around your city. You’re looking for distressed properties that look like the owners no longer live in. Once you find these properties you can use skip tracing services to find the owners contact information and reach out to them.
There are a lot of investors that find enough deals just by driving for dollars. Later in this post you will learn how you can actually have other people drive around town finding properties for you.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the strategy of getting your website to rank organically on search engines. Obviously, if there is a website involved there will be a small cost. Luckily for you we help keep that cost to a bare minum by selling websites without the monthly cost. All you have to pay for is the cost of hosting, which is about $7 per month. If you want to learn more about our real estate investing website go ahead and click here.
So how exactly can we find leads using SEO? Ranking on search engines like Google and Bing takes a long time and a lot of effort, but the end results are priceless. The reason why we want to rank on these search engines is because more and more homeowners are going online to find solutions to their problems.
When someone wants to sell their house, chances are they are going to Google and searching for ‘How to sell my house.’ Can you see why it would be important to start ranking for these search terms.
There are several factors that are involved in ranking your website, but I am only going to list the top 2 here on this post according to Search Engine Journal.
The number one ranking factor is creating great content. Search engines are in the business of helping consumers. They want to be the best and they do this by only showing the best results for searches. You don’t want to make content just for the purpose of trying to cheat the system. This may work for a very short amount of time, but you will start being penalized for black hat tactics very fast.
Start creating content that brings value to the searcher. Don’t just create junk that makes them leave your site after a few seconds. The longer someone stays on your site, the more search engines are able to determine that your site deserves to rank higher.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. The more backlinks you have, the higher you will rank on search engines. But not all backlinks are created equal. You want to make sure that only highly reputable websites are linking to your site. And you want to make sure that they are relevant to your website.
I know this is a very basic overview of SEO, but it is important that you start trying to rank your website now rather than later.
Bandit Signs (Free-ish)
Bandit signs are those white or yellow signs you see while driving down the streets. They’re normally hanging on telephone poles.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Bandit signs aren’t free!”. And you’re right, they are not free. But I did want to share a super amazing life hack to get your marketing going. Now, I will not say that I created this strategy. It’s actually something I discovered from people on forums and Facebook groups.
Bandit signs themselves do cost a pretty penny if you buy them from websites that sell them, but there is a way to do it yourself for very small cost. For about $20 you can visit your nearest dollar store, purchase about 15 poster boards and a few very thick black markers.
What you will do is cut the poster boards in half so that you have about 30 signs, and hand write your marketing message with your phone number on the posters. Bam! Now you have around 30 bandit signs for you to hang around your city.
Full Warning! – There are a lot of counties and cities that do not allow Bandit Signs, so always make sure you check before you hang them.
If you are OK with the possibility of receiving a fine then go ahead and hang your signs. A good trick to use is to hang them late night Friday, and take them down late night on Sunday. Doing this reduces the chance of you getting caught and receiving those nasty fines.
Printing out flyers for your business and hanging around town is always a great no/low cost marketing strategy. There are several places for you to hang these flyers, and it’s up to you as an investor to find out where you can hang them.
A good place to start is local coffee shops, libraries, grocery stores, and unemployment offices.
Networking is key in any business. This is especially true in real estate. A great way to find motivated sellers is to network with people that are in professions where they would likely know someone who needs to sell. For example:
A lot of times couples facing divorce are looking for a quick and hassle free solution to selling their house. This is where you as an investor can step in. Take the time to start reaching out to local divorce attorneys and let them know you buy houses. It doesn’t hurt to take them to lunch, send them goodie baskets, and other small meaningful things.
Make sure you’re top of mind so that when they have a couple looking to sell their house fast, you’ll be the first person they call.
Property managers are a great connection to have. They are usually the first to know when landlords are tired of owning their rentals and want to sell their home. Make sure to build strong relationships with your local property managers so that you can be the one they send leads to. It also doesn’t hurt to network with property managers since one day you may end up using them to manage your own rentals.
Real Estate Agents
Local real estate agents are another group of people you should definitely start connecting with. Agents are spend hours and hours a doing whatever they can to try and find motivated sellers. The problem is not every homeowner they speak with is able to sell their house the traditional way.
This is where you as an investor comes in. You can create a partnership with these agents and give them referral fees or promise to use them as your selling agent when you turn around and sell the house. In return they send all the leads they can’t work with over to you.
It’s important to stay connected with other investors in your area. You shouldn’t see them as competition. They’re more like potential partners. Just like with agents, some investors will find leads they are just not able to work with. If they know you can close the deal they will more than likely send it over to you in exchange for a split on profit.
These deals could be great extra income. The best part is you never had to spend a dime on marketing or put any work into finding these leads.
Hopefully by now you see the value in networking. Make sure you start reaching out to all your local attorneys, agents, property managers, and investors to let them know you buy houses.
An expired listing is a property that was listed with an agent but did not sell during the contracted listing time period. These leads can be very motivated because they are looking to sell their house but it’s taking too much time and costing them money. The only issue is that these leads most likely can only be found on the MLS, and only agents and brokers have access to that list. This is why it makes it even more important to network with your local agents.
Find a really good agent you know you can work with and ask if they can start sending you a list of all the expired listings in your area. In return you can send them leads that don’t fit your investing model and/or agree to use them as your listing agent when you sell your properties.
Bird dogs are a really great way to have a steady stream of leads coming in. A bird dog is a person or group of people you have driving around the city that find distressed properties. You then turn around and find the owner of these properties and ask to buy their house. The best part is you don’t actually pay them hourly wages. You create an agreement that for every deal you close on that they bring in, they’ll receive a set fee or a percentage of the profits. You don’t spend money until you make money!
A great strategy is to reach out to people that already drive around your area. A perfect example would be Uber or Lyft drivers. Reach out to all of them and ask if they would like to make extra money doing what they already do.
Hopefully by now you have figured out which marketing strategy fits best for your business. The key to any business is marketing and generating leads. It really does not matter which strategy you choose to use, just as long as you’re doing something to create results. Don’t forget to to check out the rest of our blog for even more Real Estate Investing Marketing info!