Finding Houses by Using Software Technology
Technology is changing everything, even how we find houses. Although bandit signs still offer an affordable easy to understand way of finding houses, there are now software programs out there that can help you pull reports from the courthouse records or the appraisal districts. Unfortunately, there is NOT a one solution fits all. That is to say, these programs are not available in every state or even major city thus far.
One such software is www.RealAcquisitions.com which is available in most of the major cities in Texas; Austin, Houston Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio. I think it costs about $97/mo. the important thing to know is that the software can completely slice and dice the county records. Get on the computer and research what might be available in your area. Talk to your local investment club members and see what is available.
I can almost guarantee that if there is a club in your area and there is a viable software in your area, the owner of the software will be a vendor at the real estate investor club (they will be advertising there and showing up at the meetings with a table at the back of the room).
The software your hoping to find can search the county records for all types of useful “house Finding Key words.” For example, that property might be able to find any property with the word “ESTATE” in the owner ship field, or any deed with a lien from the City (for Code Violations or Nuisance & Abatement).
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could do a search for every property in XYZ Zip codes that have mortgages over 20 years old and taxes past due for 5 years or longer. Merge those 2 lists. Then, come up with the top 10 prospects and find where the taxpayer of record lives…drive there and knock on their door…try to buy the house on the spot…have a contract all filled out except the name of the seller and the price…be ready to WRITE A CONTRACT.
CREATE A SPREADSHEET:
Then, put all the rest of the addresses in a spreadsheet;
Salutation (Mr., Mrs., Estate, etc.)
Tax Payer Address
Use the spreadsheet to send out a letter using the “Mail Merge” technique…a personalized letter using the specific information for each potential seller/property.
Dear #SALUTATION# #LAST NAME#
I noticed you own a property on #PROPERTY ADDRESS#. I am interested in buying a property in that neighborhood and I was wondering, would consider selling? I have a little money saved up in my retirement plan and I may be willing to pay you cash if we can agree on a price.
I look forward to your call…
Google Voice phone number (Forwarded to your cell phone)
Use a yellow legal paper with a blue handwritten font. You want to the letter to look like it was hand written by YOU PERSONALLY to THEM PERSONALLY.
Use your middle name or a “Code Name” so you will know when someone is calling you from your letters. When they ask for the code name simply say,
“They are not available but I can help you.”
Google Voice # forwarded to your cell phone because some people are agitated that you are sending them a letter to buy their abandon house (Go figure?).
HOW TO GET A GOOGLE VOICE PHONE and what it can do for you:
Use a return P.O. Box Number or a secondary post office box rather than your real home or office address. It’s best to hand write the return address as well but you can get tons of return address stamps for almost nothing if you research non-profit groups that sell them for donations to their church or cause.
Again, not a lot, some people are agitated for whatever reason. It makes no sense to me, but for some reason some people get agitated about a cash-offer to buy an abandon home they own. So, that’s why we want to stay clear of people with “No Sense.” Don’t leave a trail for a nut-case to follow up on you.
Send the mail using regular postal rates and a stamp that looks like the letter is coming from a toddler or hobbyist. DO NOT use bulk mail. Special rates most likely mean you won’t get your “Return to Sender” mail.
You will want to pay special attention to the letters that get returned to you. These letters are the most valuable letters of all. If these would be recipients can’t get YOUR letter…they are not getting letters from any other investors either.
FIND WHERE THIS PROPERTY TAX PAYER REALLY LIVES and drive to them with a contract in hand. Know your numbers! Know your Rent-o-Meter.
Know what price you can owner finance a home for in that area! Expect to get a contract signed!
Remember to ask for owner financing first before you make an all-cash offer.
The return letters are perhaps the most valuable aspect of this method. You will have NO COMPETITION if you find the tax payer of record from a “Return to Sender” letter.
These letters have long lasting effects. By that I mean, you can expect to get calls from a batch of letters months, even years, after you send them out. People will save them for when the time is right. Maybe they are waiting for the inevitable death of the owner or maybe they are coming to terms with selling a property that they are emotionally attached to.
Maybe they are going to get more motivated when they get a letter warning them of an impending tax auction. There are many reasons these letters get answered at a later date.
I hope this has been some help. I know this technique works. It has worked for me and many others, but, you have to be consistent. You have to put up the numbers and keep drilling down to more and more specific criteria whenever the chance arises.
Happy house hunting!