Real Riches from

Real Estate Niches:


15 Direct Mail Campaigns for

Generating All the Leads You Need


By Richard Roop

Part 1 of 3


Not having enough workable deals is a common challenge I solve for creative investors. Investing your time and attention fixing or improving your lead generating systems will pay you back huge returns through increased cash profits and more reliable cash flow.


There are 6 elements to any marketing campaign. The market niche or list is the most important element and carries the most weight in determining your successful results.


Buying and selling houses creatively is such a great business. You can literally stumble upon a "5 figure paycheck" sending crappy marketing just once IF it hits the right person at the right time. On the other hand, you can make a fortune delivering well-written, well-designed marketing messages multiple times to the ideal markets or lists.


Here in Part 1 of this report I'm going to reveal exactly who you should be mailing to and how often. In Part 2 and 3 you'll learn more on what to mail to find great deals...how to sell your houses fast using the newest direct mail strategies...and how to systemize and outsource the entire process of printing, mailing and getting hard to find lists.


6 Key Elements of Any Marketing Campaign


Also known as "the 6 M's" of marketing, these key elements include:


1) Market: Who is your target market and where are they located?


2) Message: What will you say to this audience in your marketing? I've created long copy yellow letters and personalized postcards that are proven and work incredibly well. The basic tone of these messages is, "I'm interested in buying your house at _______. We buy houses in your neighborhood and we're looking to buy more. You can sell your house as is at a fair price on the date of your choice.  This approach works for all 15 of the marketing campaigns I'm about to give you.


3) Media: What media and mix of media will you use to communicate your message to this market? Direct mail is the silver bullet of cost effective media. Small, cheap postcards and personal looking letters handle this task.


4) Money: How much money on marketing will you spend to attract a great deal? Can you invest $1,000 mailing 2,500 postcards to do one deal that nets you $25,000? Say yes. If you got $10 back on every postcard you mailed, how many would you mail? As many as possible!


5) Multiple Hits: How many times will you hit your market with your messages? Always plan sending 5 or more hits using direct mail.


6) Months: Over how many months will you spread out a direct mail campaign? This varies depending on the type and quality of the list you select. I'll share effective frequency rates to use as a result of mailing millions of postcards and letters for myself, and my clients.



15 Proven Direct Mail Campaigns for Buying Houses




Targeting homeowners who have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the previous 3 to 9 months has proven to be a very profitable niche. They may or may not be keeping their repayment agreements and might need to sell their house. Target these aged filings plus recent dismissals and motions.


There homeowners are many times desperately trying to protect equity and have been in and out of foreclosure. You'll find very little competition as most investors never target this niche. Mail a yellow letter to capture their attention followed by a series of personalized postcards. Hit them 8 times:


1) Aged filings each month

2) Recent dismissals every 2 weeks and

3) Motion filings weekly.


Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information via the internet at pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. PACER is a service of the United States Judiciary.



Rapid Drip Campaigns


The hardest mailing lists to locate or acquire tend to be some of best niches. There are several small lists that work great but you'll have to research how to get them from your city or county.


A normal direct mail drip campaign is usually hitting a market every 90 days. A rapid drip campaign is every 30 days. Just keep mailing every month rotating a yellow letter and personalized postcard.


Mailing to any of the following 4 lists is cheap and very effective:


4) Probate:
Recently deceased homeowners may not be motivated sellers but the heirs or the person handling the estate may need your help to liquidate the house. Mail to the executor, trustee, all the heirs and the homeowner of record. Why mail to the homeowner? Whoever is handling the estate is probably handling their mail.


5) Divorce:
You might have discovered that one of the top reasons homeowners who call from your signs, ads and direct mail need to sell is because of a divorce. The effort invested into learning how to get this list locally will be well worth it.


6) Property Tax Delinquent:
Homeowners who have been delinquent on their property taxes for 1-3 years are good prospects. They are potentially distressed homeowners, may be motivated to sell and many times they have no mortgage.


7) Code Violations:
Target owners of condemned houses and properties with code violations. Check with your city government offices for a list. It may be very difficult to get but sometimes it's very easy.



Targeting for Equity


Unlike using ads, flyers and signs, direct mail allows you to target houses with equity to generate better leads. It's always easier to buy houses with equity. There's equity if you'd consider paying more then what's currently owed against the property. The seller can discount their equity for cash now, or collect it over time in a note, or wait for all of it until you sell or refinance many years later.


First American Core Logic at facorelogic.com offers a wealth of data services for real estate professionals including agents, mortgage brokers and investors. They're a good resource for data acquired through public records if you can't otherwise get it easily. Use them to find properties with equity.


Buy from more sellers with equity by targeting these 5 niches:


8) Wholesale Properties:
My definition of this niche is property owners who have "junker" houses or properties built prior to 1990 with a maximum loan to value of 69% and are in a price range below median. When you can get this specific selecting a list, mail a personalized postcard each month for 6 months. Then switch to a 90 day drip campaign.


9) Adjustable Rate Mortgages with Equity:
This niche is defined as property owners who had adjustable rate mortgages on the property for 3 to 5 years and a maximum loan to value of 69%. Many times they are looking for relief from increased payments. Hit them monthly mailing a yellow letter, 3 postcards and then repeating.


10) Multi-Family with Equity:
If you're interested in buying, holding or flipping income property, target owners of properties with 2 or more units who have a maximum loan to value of 69%. They may be tired of dealing with tenant management and deferred maintenance. They also may like the idea owner financing your purchase, deferring taxes on capital gains and collecting note income instead of net rental income. Hit them every 90 days mailing a yellow letter, 3 postcards and then repeating.


11) Free & Clear:
This is my favorite niche defined as homeowners with 40% to 100% equity. According to the most recent U.S. census data, 33% of all single family homes are debt free with even more having high amounts of equity.


By buying with attractive seller financing and getting creative with a seller's equity you can always give them their price. The only question is when. You can structure terms that can make any property cash flow. You can also pull out cash the day you buy using hard money loans or private investors. Hold as a straight rental, occupy with a tenant-buyer or sell with wraparound owner financing.


Targeting free and clear houses, creating 0% owner financing and then rapidly paying off the debt to the seller from the income on the property is what I call "the ultimate strategy" for buying and selling houses. It works on any property...in any price range...in any area...during any market climate. Study "The Ultimate Strategy" real estate training system posted here for complete step-by-step instructions on implementing this powerful investing model.


Mailing list brokers and tapping into your local county tax assessor records can help you identify homeowners who have 1) a low loan balance, 2) no loan balance, or 3) have owned the property for 10 years or more. Mail cheap postcards every 90 days.


12) Out of Area:
Also known as an Absentee Owners or Non-Owner Occupants, this is the list of homeowners whose mailing address on public record differs from the property address. It includes burned-out landlords who own single-family homes and multi-unit properties. These prospects many times own (and will be interested in selling) multiple properties.


Get this list from county records, mail postcards every 90 days, update the file after each mailing and then re-pull the list after 15 months.


Specialty Lists


13) Expired Listings:
This is a great list of homeowners whose property was recently listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) but expired without being sold. You know they recently were interested in selling but they may or may not have sold their house. A lot of times they have been beat up by the market, are panicking and are now very motivated.


You can expect a high response rate but many of these sellers will have little or no equity. Therefore you'll be sifting and sorting for deals that can work. A recommended campaign is hitting them once every 2 weeks alternating 5 yellow letters and 5 postcards.


You get the list from the MLS through your own access or through a real estate agent. The main problem you might face is matching the property address with the seller's name and mailing address. Real Estate Data X-Change, Inc. at TheRedX.com is an "expired listing research company" who can help you import, cross reference and manage leads from expired MLS listings. Check out their services.


14) Pre-Foreclosure:
These are homeowners who are behind on their mortgage and facing foreclosure. They have a Notice of Default or List Pending filed publically. Sometimes they're motivated to sell...but many times looking to stay.


Consider first targeting other niches because mailing to the pre-foreclosure market is typically oversaturated and highly competitive. Almost every real estate investor, market broker, bankruptcy attorney and real estate agent thinks this is a good list to mail to. You're actually better off calling them on the phone or sending someone to knock on the door. That would give you a competitive upper hand. However, if this list must be complied manually from court records, or otherwise hard to get for your area, then it's an awesome mailing list.


Hit them monthly mailing a yellow letter, 3 postcards and then repeating. There's real gold in skip tracing an owner when a mail piece comes back marked "vacant" by the post office.


15) In-House Follow Up:
This is your number one best list. Yet few investors ever setup a system to mail to it. This is your follow- up list of warm leads. You made an offer; they did not accept it; and you still want to buy their house. These sellers usually think they have time or other options. When they run out of time or options, you want them to calling you back.


Simply working this list efficiently can double your closure rate and triple your income. Mail anything to them every month until the house is sold. You can start with a yellow "follow- up" letter, 3 postcards and then repeat.

Go to part 2 of 3





About the Author: 

Richard Roop is recognized as one of the nation's top direct response marketing consultants dedicated to helping real estate investors generate more leads, negotiate better deals and create more consistent, predictable cash each month. He has done over 300 deals, manages millions of dollars in real estate and still actively buys and sells houses every month. But his real passion is to sharing his knowledge, systems and strategies with other investors. Very few speakers and trainers get down so in-depth into the real 'nitty gritty', step by step and 'how to' of capturing equity and generating cash without using your own cash or credit.


Known as "THE Marketing Consultant for Real Estate Entrepreneurs," much of Richards time now is dedicated to helping other investors improve their marketing results and increasing the profits generated from each deal. He has developed some of the most effective marketing systems and strategies that can help you leverage all your efforts toward growing your investing business. He specializes in creating direct marketing strategies and automated systems that have proven to work with all types of properties& especially single family homes& including both pretty or ugly houses.

Richard Roop
© 2008 RichardRoop.com, Inc.