Back when I started finding or sourcing property deals in the mid 2000’s there was really only a few ways to find properties, investors went to auctions or agents or they found their own – the latter was really appealing to me, at the time the main way of “getting the phone to ring” was good old leaflets, or news paper ads, leafletting our prime investment areas worked really well for us, (better than newspapers) at one point we we’re putting about 50,000 leaflets through doors a month.
This worked and the phone kept ringing, it was fascinating to see how different leaflets performed depending on the copy (words) on them.
It was also interesting to see how long people would hang on to our leaflets before calling us – sometimes they had kept our leaflet stuck to their fridge for weeks or months before finally calling us – never underestimate how long the customer journey is, it’s not as simple as putting an ad out there and getting a phone call.
During this period I also started dabbling with Ad-words for getting hot property leads – it worked fairly well, we got leads and a deal or 2 from adwords but if I’m honest I didn’t realise what a big deal ad-words was or how cheap it was back then – I should of scaled up nationally!
Well there’s been a bit of water under the bridge since those days, today there are loads more methods and tactics for getting leads with the emergence of social media, this gives the investor or sourcer many more options for finding property deals (and also many more headaches).
Getting property leads from Estate agents
Sourcing property deals from agents is one of the ways to find deals, it’s cheap in that all you need is a phone, you can get going right away.
However it is one of the most time consuming ways there is – over time you can speed it up by becoming known to the agents, they get to know hat you want and then approach you with deals – however most of them don’t listen so you end up with a lot of agents calling you with deals that aren’t deals.
Most of them are sales focussed and as a result tend to think along the “numbers game” route i.e. I know he said he wasn’t interested in this type of property but this one is different “I’m sure he’d be interested”
Also you’ll need to put in quite a bit of time with the agent looking at properties to “do them a favour” if you’re local this is a good way of getting on the “inside” the fast track to the good deals.
But of all the strategies I have tried it is by far the most time consuming.
I much prefer to use marketing to get the properties coming to me – however as I mentioned before it can be expensive to go down this route at least to start until you figure out what works for you.
Sourcing property deals from Adwords
This is a sure-fire way of getting leads, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising works by serving ads to people searching for a search term, such as “sell my home fast” therefore you can get in front of the very people you want to talk to (motivated sellers).
However as I mentioned before this can be expensive to start, you need a website with landing pages set up for different keywords, you need to know how to set up and optimise Adwords, you need to be able to interpret analytics data (the people viewing your website).
You also pay every time someone clicks your ad – the cost per click for the phrases and keywords you will be bidding on can be £5 – £15 per click every time someone clicks, so you can burn through a lot of money getting this going if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you are going to start with this method of sourcing property deals I recommend starting with Bing ads rather than Google Adwords as it’s slightly cheaper per click but does have less search volume.
Getting property leads from Facebook Ads
Another massive platform for paid advertising is Facebook ads – as of writing this (May 2018) Facebook ads are still massively undervalued (like Adwords 2006/7 when I started).
However sourcing property deals from Facebook ads can be a difficult one to get right and you still need a decent budget to test and get going. The key with Facebook ads is getting the targeting right – if you can target well enough the people you want that will click on your ads you can get conversions for a great price.
But getting that right still takes a lot of work, landing pages, analytics etc etc – you need to know what you are doing or be willing to learn and have a budget to allow you to test, learn and gain experience (that really goes for everything else as well)
Sourcing property deals from Social Media
We’ve already spoken about advertising on facebook to get leads but you can also get leads through the social side of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
It stands to reason that these platforms should work, your target market are using them. The key is in attracting them to you. This is where 99% of businesses go wrong, very wrong, they view social as another advertising medium that they can serve their adverts to for free – the reason Wetherspoons shut down their social accounts is because they couldn’t make it work for them – it didn’t work for them because they didn’t provide any value and just basically used it as an amplifier for their ads.
People don’t care about you, they care about them so give them something to help them – you need to become the local expert for property, social is great for this personal branding – don’t sell, serve! Help people and they will be attracted to you.
You can put out content about how to sell a house, how to sell a house quickly, how to reduce debt, you can video yourself in your daily grind of looking for properties (even if it’s part time) people also buy people so part of the personal branding is to portray yourself as an actual human, someone approachable that they could call if they have a property problem – just make sure you are actually helpful and approachable – you will get found out if you pretend to be something you aren’t sooner or later.
Getting Leads From Leaflets
This was our main strategy for sourcing property deals when we started in the mid 2000’s, I love leafletting as a way of finding suitable properties because you can get direct to the properties you want to purchase.
If you are looking for single let properties you can target suitable properties for that, the same for HMO’s or refurbs etc, you just need to know where those type of properties are in your local area and target those properties.
An important consideration when leafletting is to keep at it – doing the same areas consistently over and over again, I like to hit an area about every 6 weeks, to me 4 weeks is a little short and 8 weeks a little long, this works for me. One thing that always amazes me is how long people keep my leaflets for before contacting me, which is another reason to keep at it – even if at first you don’t get the results you are after.
To understand this you have to get into the mindset of the people selling their house, they could be considering selling, maybe they are about to get a divorce or just thinking of moving, your leaflet drops (or any other marketing for that matter) and they find it interesting but they are not motivated enough yet to pick up the phone, they are aware that there will probably be some sort of discount involved so keep the leaflet incase they need your service at a later date.
As time goes by and things don’t go to plan for one reason or another your offer becomes more interesting to them, until one day they pick up the phone – this could be several weeks after your leaflet hit the doormat!
Hopefully this explains a little of the mindset of the seller and why time and consistency are key.
As for leaflets I’m sure I have an image of one of ours from back in the day somewhere…
To be continued…
In the meantime if you’ve ever wondered “what does a property sourcer do” or why you may want to use a property sourcer have a look at this article on the topic
Getting Leads From Gumtree
Getting Leads From Direct Mail